Hartley sure SPL title winner Strachan will stay

May 23, 2008

Paul Hartley is confident Gordon Strachan will still be at the helm at Celtic next season after the Hoops boss clinched his third Scottish Premier League title in succession.

Last night's 1-0 win at Dundee United, courtesy of a second-half header from striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, meant Strachan became the first Celtic boss since the legendary Jock Stein to win a hat-trick of championships.

There has been speculation in recent months about the former Coventry and Southampton boss' intentions at the end of this season, but midfielder Hartley believes Strachan will still be there to lead the Parkhead men in the Champions League again.

'He is a fantastic manager,'' the Scotland international said.

'He made us believe that we can win the league and that's what happened in the end.

'We hope he will be here next season and we are sure he will be.

'He's the first manager since Jock Stein to win three titles on the trot and that's a great achievement - not many managers will do that.

'When Motherwell beat us 1-0 at home last month, everybody wrote us off but we have a great team spirit in the dressing room.

'We were determined to try and win every game after that and put pressure on Rangers.

'In doing that, we showed a lot of character and a lot of bottle and were worthy winners.

'It's a great achievement for us.''

Dundee United boss Craig Levein was happy with his side's performance despite finishing the season with a defeat.

He said: 'I thought we played quite well and there wasn't much in it.

'I was proud of the way we played but to be honest I've been proud of the way we have played all season.

'We have made significant progress this season.

'I would have taken fifth place at the start of the season but now I'm disappointed because our performances merited higher.

'We have shown good commitment all season. Peter Houston (assistant manager) turned to me after 15 minutes to go and said, `look at them working, it's like the first game of the season,' and that is a great compliment to pay to the players.''