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You are all about to be Di Canio-ed - says Gary.

Tortured Gary Tallon last night warned fellow Premier Division defenders that they will suffer nightmares at the dancing feet of Paolo Di Canio.

The Celtic winger had Killie's Irish left-back on toast for half an hour - and when Tallon got his breath back, he gasped: "This guy is incredible - he totally changed the game.

"He's right up there with the Brian Laudrups of this world. It's his turn of pace and his quick feet that are going to cause problems for everyone."

And if that's not bad enough news for defences, Di Canio says he's nowhere near his best yet after an ankle injury.

Di Canio said: "I am maybe 50 or 60 per cent fit at the moment but I am getting better.

"I am not dribbling as fast as I can but I enjoyed playing for the fans and scoring an important goal.

"Not being able to play for 20 days because of the injury has been very frustrating, but hopefully that is in the past now."

The Italian ace admits that he loves the adulation afforded him by the Celtic support - and he believes that they are even more passionate than the AC Milan fans he left behind.

He said: "In Milan the supporters would fill the stadium for the big games against Juventus or Inter, but at other times they would not be so noisy or passionate.

"But here with Celtic, everywhere we go there are thousands of fans.

"They buy all their tickets and there are no empty seats - it's just wonderful.

"The only other fans I can compare them with are those who support Barcelona. They have the same feelings for their club."

Celts chief Tommy Burns was delighted with the impact Di Canio made on his Premier Division debut.

Burns said: "He is the player we have lacked a bit over the last 18 months.

"He can play against packed defences and make things happen.

"Not only that, he stimulates the players around him as well - it's marvellous to have that kind of creativity in the team."

While Burns was saluting his Italian ace, he refused point-blank to condemn the blunder made by keeper Gordon Marshall.

He said: "One thing Gordon doesn't need is people lambasting him.

"My job is to protect my players - he plays in a difficult position and he's made some great saves but only mistakes are highlighted.


"Marshall is a player like everybody else and he deserves the same chance as everybody else."

Kilmarnock manager Alex Totten was more concerned with his side's failure to beat Marshall more than once.

He said: "We were better than Celtic for an hour and were quite comfortable at 1-0.

"We should have gone two up when John Henry missed that easy chance. If he puts that away we're looking good. It proved to be the turning point of the match.

"The bottom line is that we could only score one goal when we had them on the rack.

"Against Celtic and Rangers you get punished if you don't take chances - we found that out the hard way again."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:McCarthy, David
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 26, 1996
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