Although the Celtic website has officially billed tonight's Europa League clash as 'Rapid Vienna 25 years on" 'Mick' McManus said yesterday that he found the whole focus on the rancorous European Cup-Winners Cup meeting between the teams in 1984 to be embarrassing. "None of us were even involved in it and it's embarrassing the way it has all kicked off," said McManus. "We didn't know anything about it and we don't want to get wrapped up in it but everywhere you look someone is wanting to talk about it. We can only concentrate on the most important thing which is winning the game. It's more than 20 years on. For us, it's just about the game itself. If people were involved in it at the time, then we will let them talk about it."
Peter Grant played in the ties, as did the current Rapid boss Peter Pacult, but manager Tony Mowbray won't use his still annoyed assistant to motivate the players before tonight's game. "What would we say to motivate this group of players, seriously, what could we say to them about it that would motivate them?" said the boss. "I haven't heard any of my players talk about it and I genuinely feel that with the players it's not even an issue. It was 25 years ago and some of the players weren't even born, so I don't think it will affect them and I have no vision of Granty jumping around like a loony. I think we have just got to go and play the football match. Perhaps it's not a bad thing that we can hype up this game and let's hope that it turns into a great game in front of a full house and the event on the field is one for everybody to enjoy."
"I spend a lot of time thoughtfully trying to prepare something that will inspire my team and give them a cause to go out and fight for and if somebody does that for me that's fine." continued the Celtic manager. "I understand Rapid players may want to use that as their cause but when the ball starts rolling and the match begins, football is not about 'getting into them' it's about being clever, about quality, the weight of the pass and, yes, it's about competing when the ball bounces between you and you have to get there first and use every ounce of your body. But the best teams are those who know where to stand and when to run and when to come towards the ball. If they get a positive result, they will tell the world that it inspired them, but if they get a negative result, then they will know nothing about it. That's the way football is."