Strachan blames yips for opening draw

August 6, 2007

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan compared his side's lacklustre finishing against Kilmarnock in their opening-day draw at Parkhead to a golfer struggling on the putting green.

The champions began the defence of their Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League title by drawing a blank against the Ayrshire side, with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Maciej Zurawski the main - but not only - culprits in front of goal.

Strachan tried to remain calm as he analysed his side's performance and said: 'At the moment we are doing a lot of things right but the unit is not at its best although that will come.

'Take the golfing analogy. You drive the ball well, your next shot goes to the green and your putting is not so great.

'What do you do as a golfer? You practise and that's all you can do.

'We will keep working.'

However, Strachan could not resist a joke at the expense of his strikers by claiming that goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, would have got a game in attack if fit.

He said: 'If Artur could finish he would be playing just now, don't worry about that.'

Killie boss Jim Jefferies, meanwhile, insists he has drawn a line under Steven Naismith's recent transfer saga.

The 20-year-old withdrew a transfer request on Friday after weeks of speculation linking him with both sides of the Old Firm.

Last week Jefferies had complained that Celtic had not followed up their initial interest in the £2million-rated striker.

But after watching Naismith help the Rugby Park side to a point at the home of the champions, the Killie boss said: 'Anything that has gone before is in the past and if anybody wants to talk to the club about the player then it starts afresh.

'Since he withdrew his transfer nobody has been in touch and I hope it stays like that.

'I'm glad it's all been put to bed now. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't Steven says he will not bother too much about it.

'We have never changed the value and if a bid comes in - and I hope it doesn't - then we would never hold him back.

'Steven wants to play every week and that's no bad thing. He will be a wanted man in the next transfer window, the one after that and the one after that.

'He has played well for two season and he has a great future ahead of him.'