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TOMMY'S PHIL-GOOD FACTOR.

Tommy Burns last night pinpointed midfielder Phil O'Donnell as the Celt who can unlock the door to Euro glory in Slovakia tomorrow.

O'Donnell, Burns' first signing at Parkhead, has had a troubled time with injuries since his pounds 1.75m move from Motherwell two years ago.

But he's fully fit again and ready to go for the UEFA Cup clash against Kosice.

Burns said: "Phil has the ability and engine to go up and down the park all day.

"That makes him a vital player in a tie like this."

New signing Paolo Di Canio will travel with the squad but the former AC Milan forward, who missed the 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon due to an ankle injury, is unlikely to start.

Burns said: "He's still doubtful. If we get him on the bench it will be a boost and if we could get half-an-hour from him it would be great.

"But Pierre Van Hooijdonk is definitely available to play and that's excellent news.

"I have an idea of the team I'll use out there but I want to tell the players first."

Chief scout Davie Hay watched Kosice in action at the weekend.

Burns said: "I've read his report and he says they are a very useful side.

"They don't have a lot of stars but they work hard for each other.

"This will be a difficult game but with the talent we have I know we can come through it."

Portuguese international Jorge Cadete could be another key figure for Celts in Kosice.

This will be his European debut for the club after arriving from Sporting towards the end of last season.

He scored against his old club on Saturday and he has the happy knack of being in the right place at the right time - an important quality when you're looking for away goals.

But Burns' main worry must be his defence.

When Simon Donnelly made it 2-0 on Saturday Celtic looked well on their way to victory.

But Sporting, already reduced to 10 men by a red card for Oceano de Cruz, hit back through Filipe and a John Hughes own goal. That kind of slackness could be suicidal in Europe.

Centre-half Malky Mackay will travel in place of record signing Alan Stubbs, who misses out due to a thigh strain.

But it looks as if Brian O'Neil will replace the former Bolton star in the starting line-up.

Stubbs, for his part, will work on getting fit for Saturday's Premier Division curtain- raiser against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Meanwhile, Celtic have still heard nothing from FIFA, who are now said to be looking into the agents involved in the Cadete transfer.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Grahame, Ewing
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 5, 1996
Words:445
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