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Football: We'll make it El for you too; O'NEILL EURO VOW.

Byline: ROBERT MARTIN

MARTIN O'Neill last night dismissed taunts from Euro rivals Lyon and claimed his side are ready to get their Champions League campaign back on track.

The Irishman laughed off claims from Brazilian Giovane Elber that Henrik Larsson has not scored goals at the game's highest level.

And ahead of tonight's vital Group A clash he revealed his side are ready to use the baiting as motivation to pick up their first three points.

Elber, who arrived in Glasgow yesterday morning, rubbished Larsson's reputation, claiming he had done well in Scotland but not in Europe.

But after hearing similar remarks from Blackburn last season, O'Neill admitted they only serve to fire his own players up.

He said: "It makes no difference to me. If it is part of the pre-match build-up and that sort of thing then I would say that last year Blackburn's comments after the first game definitely stung, but after that it didn't really matter.

"I've seen opposition managers and players being interviewed at the airport coming into Glasgow and going home after getting beaten.

"So who's to say that if they win the game against us they didn't have a point. But it doesn't bother me at all. Henrik's performance in the UEFA Cup Final was fantastic.

"And if the UEFA Cup Final is not a decent stage on which to play football then I don't know what is."

O'Neill is sweating over the fitness of a mystery player ahead of tonight's Parkhead clash following Saturday's win over Hibs.

Johan Mjallby and Joos Valgaeren have returned to full training, although both have little chance of featuring against Lyon.

And O'Neill, who confirmed he will not be appealing Bobo Balde's dismissal against Hibs, is optimistic his injury concerns will come through.

He said: "There are a couple of concerns at the moment and one in particular is not as great as he could be. We'll have to see."

CAPTION(S):

NO APPEAL: Bobo Balde; BHOY'S TALK: O'Neill
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2003
Words:332
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