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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: NEW BHOY DETAILS CELTIC PLANS, ‘UNFORGIVABLE’: MILLER ON IBROX EXIT, SACKED ROSS: ‘HEAD HELD HIGH’

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LEE O’CONNOR, Celtic’s deadline-day capture from Manchester United, is determined to repay the Hoops for their faith in his ability.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender is out to follow Jeremie Frimpong’s example and gatecrash Neil Lennon’s first team.

O’Connor showed his qualities during an impressive 90-minute performance for the young Irish side that gained a goalless draw in Italy last night.

And he is hoping to display his talents in the top side the way Frimpong, who signed on the same day from Manchester City, achieved when he was given the nod to play at right-back in the 5-0 Betfred League victory over Championship side Partick Thistle at Parkhead last month.

O’Connor, 19, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I’m just settling in at the moment, just looking forward to playing my football and showing them what I can do.

“I’m just looking to get a run of games (at under-age level) and show them why they’ve got me there. Hopefully, the coaching staff will see and next pre-season, I can show the first-team manager that I’m capable enough to make the step.

“They put great faith in me. I’m very grateful for that, so I’m just looking to repay their faith now, get a good run of games and have a good performance level.

“You want to get into the first team. That’s why I went to Celtic – it’s what I’m looking to do and, hopefully, I can do it.”

KENNY MILLER described the actions of some people when he left Rangers as “unforgivable”.

The 39-year-old striker, now with Championship outfit Partick Thistle, faced the boot after being fined and suspended by club chiefs following a Hampden bust-up with caretaker boss Graeme Murty as they crashed 4-0 to Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April 2018.

Miller and Lee Wallace won their appeal against the Ibrox disciplinary sanctions, but the former Scotland international hitman told the Football Daft podcast: “He (Murty) was a fish out of water, but he was thrown into it.

“A lot of things have happened in my last six months at that football club. And, like you say, it is a story for another day, but they were unforgivable actions from people.

“It’s not about forgiving or looking for any kind of retribution or wishing ill on anybody. That is just not me.

“But disappointing is the word more than any. I would never treat anyone the way myself and Lee Wallace were treated. Never. I would never treat my worst enemy like that because you aren’t gaining anything.

“People at the football club wanted to make scapegoats of people to mask over their own deficiencies. It’s as simple as that. And me and Lee were hung out to dry for effectively nothing.

“It was shameful. Unforgivable. It’s disgusting. Actually disgusting with what happened. Even the following season, Lee was stuck there. I had to leave the club that I love and not even the way I wanted.

“And I don’t mean a big ‘oh thanks, Kenny, for all your service’. I don’t mean that.

“There is relationships you build up with people and I’m not talking managers or coaches, I am talking about staff members.

“There is still people who are there from 2000 who I knew that are still there now.  You are talking over an 18-year span. You never even got to say bye to them.

“Again, I know that potentially you are not even welcomed back in a place you have been so much and worked so hard to achieve.”

JACK ROSS, sacked by Sunderland earlier this week, has spoken of his exit from the Wearside outfit.

The former St Mirren and Alloa boss was dismissed by the English League One club following a 2-0 defeat to Lincoln City.

Ross released a statement via the LMA saying: “It has been an honour to have the responsibility and privilege of managing Sunderland AFC for the past eighteen months, and it is with regret that I leave my position there.

“I leave with my head held high in respect to the depth of commitment and hard work my staff and I applied to the job. I offer my sincerest gratitude to all my staff, those who I brought with me to the club, and those who were already in place. Every single one of them has provided me with huge support and are not only good at their jobs, but more importantly are fantastic people.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to all the players I worked with and who bought into my ideas and workings, and I will miss the relationships I built with them.

“To the supporters of the club I offer my thanks for their welcome eighteen months ago and their support since. I hope that the future brings a deserved reward for their passionate and loyal backing.

“Finally, I reflect upon two Wembley finals, one league defeat at the Stadium of Light, victories over Premier League opposition and an overall progressive record and take satisfaction from them. Furthermore, I believe that we rebuilt a spirit within the Academy of Light under the most challenging circumstances at times.

“Thank you to Sunderland AFC and good luck.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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