Former Aston Villa player Shaun Maloney is grateful to his old boss Martin O'Neill for not playing him in Europe so he can now represent Celtic in the Champions League. He explained: "I was left out of Villa's Intertoto Cup games at the start of the season, so I'm not cup-tied.

"I went to Denmark and the Faroe Islands with them but, to be fair to the manager, he pulled me aside before it and told me what was happening. He told me before those games that I wouldn't be involved.

"So, if anything, I should be quite appreciative for what the Villa manager did.

"To be fair, he was good on that point. He knew the transfer to Celtic was going to happen so I appreciate that he left me out."