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Gillespie apologises for plane bust-up

Keith Gillespie has apologised for his bust-up with Northern Ireland teammate George McCartney on a plane this week.

The Sheffield United player admitted his bust-up with West Ham defender McCartney, as the Northern Ireland team headed home from a 2-1 defeat in their Euro 2008 qualifier, was unacceptable and unsavoury.

Former Manchester United winger Gillespie also revealed he had contacted his international team-mate to draw a line under the incident.

"It was an unsavoury incident," he said. "It shouldn't have happened. Certainly it won't be happening, as far as I am concerned, again. As I said before, I apologise to the management, staff and the fans because it is something that shouldn't have happened. Unfortunately it did.

"Hopefully we can put this to bed and get on with playing football."

Trouble flared between the two players before their Icelandair flight returned from Reykjavik to Heathrow yesterday, prompting the Irish Football Association to investigate the incident.

Gillespie, who scored an own goal in the 2-1 defeat which dented Northern Ireland's hopes of qualification for next year's European Championships, said the flare-up was the result of a mix-up.

He told Ulster Television: "It was really just a misunderstanding over a lost passport. George and I had words and there was a coming together but, you know, the whole incident was finished within two to three seconds.

"Players came in and pulled us apart. The incident has obviously been sensationalised somewhat but certainly I don't have a problem with George.

"It was just a total misunderstanding that shouldn't have happened.

"I've texted George and have told him no hard feelings.

"It was one of those things. These sort of things happen in football, on training pitches all the time but obviously this being on an aeroplane, things were a little bit different. As far I am concerned I just want to draw a line under it and get on with my football."

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