Dec 18 2002, 02:40 PM
Three Celtic first-team players have spent the night in custody after being arrested during a club night out, police said today.
The players were arrested outside a Newcastle bar last night by police probing the alleged theft of a press photographer's camera.
The club had been staging their Christmas party at the American-themed showbar, where bikini-clad waitresses serve customers.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: ``The players were with the group from the club who were in Bufallo Joe's on the Gateshead side of the river as were a number of photographers.
``There was an incident of some sort. The players left the premises then one of the photographers reported the theft of his camera to police.
``After investigations on the Quayside of the river a number of Celtic players were arrested for questioning and three remain in custody and will be questioned later.''
A Celtic spokeswoman said the club was still investigating what had happened and had no comment to make.
The players being held by police are Bobby Petta, Johan Mjallby, and Joos Valgaeren, according to sources.
Neil Lennon was apparently arrested for breach of the peace but was later released.
Dec 18 2002, 03:44 PM
He he Celtic players stealing!
Dec 22 2002, 02:42 PM
footballers unable to stay out of bloody trouble as per usual
Dec 22 2002, 03:17 PM
Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson is confident the truth about the players' controversial Christmas night out on Tyneside will emerge.
Johan Mjallby, Bobby Petta and Joos Valgaeren were all arrested and held overnight after an alleged altercation with a newspaper photographer in Newcastle during the week.
Midfielder Neil Lennon was also questioned by the police after the same incident but was later released.
But, after the 2-0 win over Dundee, former Bolton and Aston Villa man Thompson believes the truth of the evening will eventually surface.
Thompson told the club's official website: 'It was a difficult game (against Dundee) after the week that everyone has had.
'I don't think that will go down as one of the best performances this season but it was important that we got the three points. Now we can start to look at our next two homes games in between Christmas and New Year.
'It has been a difficult week but hopefully the truth will come out eventually and, for us now, the most important thing is to look ahead and take full points from the games that we have before the winter break in Florida.'
Meanwhile, Celtic manager Martin O'Neill is hopeful a hernia operation will not rob him of the services of goalkeeper Robert Douglas.
The Scotland international is due to go under the knife in early January, having agreed to play through the pain barrier until the winter break because Magnus Hedman, the Sweden goalkeeper, is not fit either.
The Premier League resumes on Wednesday, January 29, when Celtic have a home game with Dundee United - although there is a Scottish Cup match the Saturday before that.
It will be touch and go for Douglas, therefore, as he is expected to require three or four weeks to recover.
O'Neill said: 'He is scheduled to have the operation on either January 7 or 8. I think he can soldier on until then because Magnus is making good progress, but has done, in terms of playing under-21 games, nothing - although he has been in training with the first-team squad for a number of days.
'At a pinch I suppose he [Hedman] could have played against Dundee had it come to it, but Rab is soldiering on and if he continues to soldier on in that fashion, I will be delighted.
'I think it's the same person who did the operation on Johan Mjallby who will be performing it. I think you are only looking at three or four weeks recovery time.'
Hedman's pedigree as a goalkeeper with World Cup experience means Douglas' absence would not be too much of a blow to the Hoops.
But the Scotland number one will be reluctant to surrender his position of supremacy which he has managed to maintain since the Swede's #1.5million arrival from Coventry in August.
It had been expected Hedman would become O'Neill's regular pick, but so far a lack of fitness and his rival's competence have limited the Swede to just two games. Indeed, third choice Jonathan Gould has featured more often.
Douglas pulled off a memorable penalty save for his country last month when he denied Portugal's Luis Figo and he added another to his CV when Fabian Caballero was unable to open the scoring in the first half yesterday following a Bobo Balde foul on Steve Lovell.
That save ignited the passion of the home side and Celtic went on to take the lead through John Hartson's memorable bicycle kick.
O'Neill added: 'Rab Douglas made a great save, the crowd got into the game and John Hartson scored a magnificent goal for us. That little 10-minute period from the save to us going in front was important.'
Henrik Larsson's 54th-minute strike made the points safe, but the penalty save had certainly been a vital ingredient in the victory.
Spanish striker Nacho Novo is Dundee's usual penalty taker, but Caballero had been so insistent on taking it that it had appeared at one stage a fight was about to break out on the spot.
Manager Jim Duffy revealed he would now make sure every game kicked off with a designated penalty kicker, while defender Jonay Hernandez Santos admitted the whole episode had been unsettling.
He said: 'We had many players wanting to take the penalty, so we were confused. Then we missed it. I don't know what happened because the last penalty was scored by Nacho Novo and this time Fabian took it.
'Nacho wasn't angry afterwards. He was at the time because he wanted to take the penalty, but afterwards everybody was friends again.'
Midfielder Zura Khizanishvili could be out for a couple of weeks after suffering an ankle injury helping fend off a Celtic attack.
Goalkeeper Julian Speroni was also hurt following a collision with a post, but Duffy reckoned he would suffer nothing more than a stiff back and be available for duty again on Boxing Day.
Dec 22 2002, 04:58 PM
footballers unable to stay out of bloody trouble as per usual
But i thought they played for Celtic? ;)
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