Strachan 'happy' with squad

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan insists he will happily work with his current squad if no further finances are available when the transfer window re-opens in January.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan insists he will happily work with his current squad if no further finances are available when the transfer window re-opens in January.

The Glasgow club have had to cut wages with debts rising close to £20m (€29m) following a drop in turnover and an early exit from European competition last season.

Strachan freed up cash with the departure of 13 players during the summer and brought in seven new faces, including Poland striker Maciej Zurawski and Japan international Shunsuke Nakamura.

However, the Celtic Park club are planning to invest money in a new training ground at Lennoxtown, in north Glasgow, to match Rangers' facilities at Murray Park.

The new building work is expected to be completed by June 2007 and will be a "multi-million pound" facility according to chief executive Peter Lawwell.

But Strachan, who has guided the club to second place in the Bank of Scotland Premier League - three points behind leaders Hearts - after a shaky start, maintains he is "happy" with his current squad.

The manager said: "I have never asked for anything and, if the boys say I will get nothing in January, then I am quite happy to work with the youngsters and the players already here.

"I understand money is tight and the club needs finances to win. It doesn't scare me that I don't have millions to spend."

Meanwhile, Celtic chairman Brian Quinn has dismissed suggestions Strachan has received more finance than his predecessor, Martin O'Neill, for squad strengthening.

Some disgruntled fans believe the board should have given the O'Neill more to spend on players to build on the UEFA Cup final appearance in 2003.

But the Hoops' chairman shot down those claims.

Quinn said: "That is one of the myths.

"Martin was here five years and, during those years, he had the same money at his disposal as Gordon has had.

"People concentrate on transfer fees, but it is up to the manager how he wants to spend it.

"Martin wanted to maintain the tried and trusted players and Gordon has gone down a different road and has had to make big changes by bringing new people in and moving people out.

"But it is wrong for people to think Gordon has had more money to spend."

Lawwell credited Strachan for cutting the wage bill at the club.

He said: "We have had to get the wages down and Gordon has done that.

"We lost 13 players and brought in seven, but we would say those seven are actively contributing to the first team, whereas, before, that was not the case."

Strachan was given a warm welcome by shareholders at the club's AGM at Celtic Park today after recovering from a poor start to the season.

Celtic were knocked out of the Champions League second qualifying round by Artmedia Bratislava after a five-goal drubbing in the first leg.

And, in the opening game of the league season, Strachan watched as the Hoops threw away a 3-1 half-time lead on the first day of the season at Motherwell before claiming a late point in a 4-4 draw.

But the former Scotland midfielder has guided Celtic to a five-game winning streak in the SPL since losing 3-1 to Rangers at Ibrox on August 20.

The Hoops now have a six-point lead over their arch-rivals in the league table.

Strachan said: "I have had incredible support from the supporters who I have spoken to and come face-to-face with - the real fans have been fantastic."

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