Strachan unmoved by Pertov transfer request

April 22, 2006

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan is adamant Stilian Petrov's transfer bombshell will not blow his side's chances of victory against Rangers in Sunday's Old Firm clash.

The Bulgaria skipper rocked the double-winners yesterday by requesting a move, but Strachan insists that news has not affected the players' motivation to beat their arch-rivals.

He said: 'At this football club, there are headlines every week for all different reasons.

'As you can see there are some to do with football and some not to do with football. Nothing affects this lot.

'Training was fantastic and the atmosphere was absolutely terrific yesterday morning. Nothing bothers anyone at this club. We have seen it all before. We are all brand new.'

Petrov himself has told Strachan and the supporters that he is up for the battle between Glasgow's big two.

'Of course I am focused,' he insisted. 'I am a Celtic player and I will try my best when playing.

'I will do the job the manager asks me. There is a game tomorrow and the boys want to win this because it is a big game for them and me. It's a big game for the fans.'

Strachan will fight to keep Petrov at Parkhead.

'It was a bit of a shock,' he added. 'I spoke to him on Wednesday morning and I respect his reasons for handing in a request but I gave him my reply and he respects what I have got to do as a manager as well, which is turn down his request.

'I asked for a transfer myself in 1982 when Alex Ferguson was at Aberdeen and I was told to go forth and multiply.

'I was there for two more years and was lucky enough to pick up a few more trophies in that time.

'We will never put a time limit on how long Stilian stays. Circumstances will dictate that.'

But Strachan denies having a half-time bust-up with Petrov in the Hibernian game last Sunday.

He continued: 'There was no clash whatsoever on Sunday and he has already stated that.

'It's nothing whatsoever to do with half-time because they would all be walking out the door and demanding transfers.

'Nobody could see this coming, I couldn't see it coming.

'I respect his decision. He has told me why and we have had a written transfer request which he knows will be turned down.

'He has given me his reasons. I respect them and he respects mine for not allowing that to happen.'