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Mogga rubbishes McManus reports

PUBLISHED: 11:35 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:42 06 July 2010

CELTIC boss Tony Mowbray last night poured cold water on speculation that his club captain Stephen McManus was about to join Ipswich, claiming that the Scotland international would prefer to stay and fight for his place in the Bouys starting XI.

CELTIC boss Tony Mowbray last night poured cold water on speculation that his club captain Stephen McManus was about to join Ipswich, claiming that the Scotland international would prefer to stay and fight for his place in the Bouys starting XI.

Reports north of the border had suggested that McManus - who was left out of the squad that faced Arsenal in the Champions League last night - was about to join Town on a season long loan deal.

However, Mowbray said: “I have no problem with people being interested in our players, but what I would suggest, from my understanding, is Stephen McManus would have no interest in going to Ipswich Town.

“He is captain of our club and wants to get himself back into our team.”

Ipswich manager Roy Keane sat one seat away from the injured McManus during Celtic's 2-1 win over Dundee United at the end of last season and was on Celtic's books at the same time as McManus during his brief playing spell with the Hoops.

The 26-year-old centre-half - who is also vice-captain of Scotland under George Burley - was one of the first names on the Celtic team sheet last season under former manager Gordon Strachan.

He underwent knee surgery in May though and, following his return to fitness earlier this month, has seemingly found himself behind Gary Caldwell, Glenn Loovens and arguably Darren O'Dea in new boss Mowbray's plans.

Ironically, McManus has been included in Burley's Scotland squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Macedonia on September 5 as his club mate Caldwell is suspended.

Ipswich have leaked 12 goals in six games so far this season and Keane has failed to settle on his first choice centre-back pairing.

McManus' no-nonsense playing style, which has seen him labelled as 'the last of an ancient breed' by former Scotland captain Stephen Hendry, would appear to fit Roy Keane's criteria.

The Irish boss spoke in pre-season about wanting numerous leaders on the pitch and following the opening day defeat to Coventry called upon his defence to 'put their foot through the ball' when required.

Meanwhile, Town's new captain Alex Bruce has spoken of his belief that the side will improve significantly once the transfer window shuts and Roy Keane is able to settle on his starting XI.

“We're not even out of August so everyone has got to take a little step back,” said Bruce. “There's been a lot of changes, a new manager, a lot of players have left and I am sure the manager wants to bring in a couple more.

“Once the window is closed and we have got a settled squad we can get organised.

“Once the new players have had that bedding in process I am sure it will stand us in good stead.”

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