Football: LUBO KEEN TO QUIT ON THE DOUBLE; Moravcik all fired up for Final fling.
LUBO Moravcik's best-selling video 'A Gift From God' may need updated and reissued if - as he plans - the little Slovak plays a starring role in Saturday's Scottish Cup Final.
The Celtic playmaker will bring down the curtain on the most successful period of his career when he hangs up his Hoops at the end of the season and is determined to sign off in style.
He will depart Parkhead to end his career in Japan after four magical and memorable years in Glasgow.
Moravcik, 36, had intended to leave 12 months ago but Martin O'Neill's powers of persuasion convinced him to hang on for one more year - a season which has brought a second league winner's medal and may bring another Scottish Cup gong.
The legions who cram into Parkhead would dearly love Lubo to perform another U-turn and extend his time at Celtic. He is idolised by them and they demonstrated their strength of feeling for him during last month's SPL Old Firm clash.
It was Moravcik's final appearance at his beloved stomping ground and when he was substituted with 20 minutes remaining he received a standing ovation.
At half time a huge Celtic No.25 shirt covering at least 30 rows was unfurled to thank him for the memories.
But Moravcik has no intention of overstaying his welcome and admitted he wants to leave before his performances begin to drop from the high standards he demands of himself.
He said: "I would prefer the fans to remember me at my best. I'm glad to have stayed on for another year but I'm not going to change my mind once again.
"Martin has not tried to make me stay for another year because he knows that I have made my decision. It has been an emotional week as this will be my last game.
"I hope to play but the most important thing is that Celtic win.
"I was not surprised by the fans' reaction during the last game at Parkhead because the four years I have had here have not been perfect but they have been very successful.
"It difficult to say if I had my best years here. Last season was one of my best because I won everything with Celtic but I played good football before I came here in France, and in the World Cup.
"But my time at Celtic was a really perfect way to finish.
"I had nothing lose when I came here because I had almost finished my career because I was not happy in Germany.
"This was like my last chance, it was my final option to play a couple more years football and enjoy it, which I have done."
When Moravcik was signed by Jozef Venglos from German outfit MSV Duisburg Celtic fans were asking: Lubo who?
But they realised Venglos had unearthed a gem on Moravcik's Old Firm debut in which he inspired the Hoops to a 5-1 win.
He continued to relish these clashes and although Celtic have not managed a win since Alex McLeish became Rangers boss, Moravcik is confident of completing the double.
He said: "We have played Rangers five times this season and we have not been beaten over 90 minutes. The only time they won was in extra-time in the CIS cup semi-final.
"We'll respect Rangers but we won't be scared by them. We have shown in the last two years that we can be confident.
"Old Firm games have a great atmosphere but unfortunately there are not enough games like that."
DEPARTING HERO: Lubo will be sadly missed by Celtic fans when he goes
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 1, 2002|
|Previous Article:||Football: LISBONS LIONS HAVE ANOTHER BIG NIGHT.|
|Next Article:||Football: CELTS' BLUEPRINT FOR ECK; SCOTTISH CUP FINAL COUNTDOWN: CELTIC v RANGERS, HAMPDEN, SATURDAY, 3.00PM.|