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Football: Strachan slur Virg-es on ridiculous; NEW FIR PARK BOSS EYES HOOPS FLOP MCGHEE BLASTS ADAM 'INSULT'.

Byline: By Mark WALKER

NEW Motherwell boss Mark McGhee wants to take Celtic flop Adam Virgo on loan to kill off suggestions he ripped off Gordon Strachan.

The former Aberdeen and Celtic ace took charge at Fir Park this week and immediately targeted Scotland B defender Virgo.

McGhee sold Virgo to Celtic for pounds 1.6million when he was in charge at Brighton and Hove Albion, but the utility player has endured a torrid time at Parkhead and was, literally, sent to Coventry - on a loan deal.

And McGhee - a friend of Strachan since they were teammates at Pittodrie - is outraged he sold his old mate a dummy.

He said: "There was the general sense from some people that because of my relationship with Gordon that I somehow pulled the wool over his eyes on Adam.

"That is the most ridiculous statement. Firstly Gordon is not someone who can have wool pulled over his eyes, he's also had a knoweldge of Adam Virgo because he has seen him play so often.

"And the idea that I would even try and give Gordon a player that wasn't as good as he thought is ridiculous.

"I would love to vindicate Gordon's decision of buying Adam by bringing him to Motherwell and delivering him back to Celtic as the full article.

"I find it insulting and I think Gordon would too."

Now the man who has managed Reading, Leicester City, Wolves, Millwall, as well as Brighton, is ready to make his move to get Virgo on loan.

McGhee added: "I am a big, big Adam Virgo fan and I know that somewhere in there is a player.

"Financially, he is in a different league from what we are able to do, so Celtic would have to help us there - and I don't know if they are in a position to do that or if they do that at all.

"So there is a bit of information required before I know. I think he has two years left on his contract.

"To go back over the history of it, he was injured when he went to Celtic and Gordon knew he was injured but wanted him in before the European signing deadline.

"He didn't have a pre-season, and didn't quite make the step up.

"But if you know the boy - and I know the Championship isn't the top level and I know Celtic are different from Motherwell - but the season that I got promoted with Brighton into the Championship and the season we stayed in the division, Virgo kept us in the league.

"We sold him to Celtic and we got relegated, if we had kept him we would have stayed up, that is how important he was to us. He was the difference at both ends of the park."

McGhee revealed how Strachan almost ended up with a sore BACKSIDE the last time he came up against his old pal!

He recalled: "I was manager of Milwall when we played them in the FA Cup when he was at Southampton, and we annihilated them.

"They scored in the last minute to force a replay very unfairly.

"When they scored to equalise the wee man ran up and down the touchline and I almost kicked him up the arse!

"But then we went to The Den and they beat us 2-1. When we scored our goal I kept my composure but when they scored their goal he ran along the touchline!"


WELL UP FOR THE BHOY: Celtic flop Adam Virgo is wanted by the new boss at Fir Park, Mark McGhee; McGHEE: Fan of Virgo
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 24, 2007
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