McCarthy insists he didn’t put match-winner Celina on because of fans
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Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy was typically spikey, sweary and searingly honest after fans’ favourite Bersant Celina stepped off the bench to score a dramatic late winner in today’s 2-1 comeback win at Burton Albion.
During a torturous first half performance from the Blues, the atmosphere among the away fans turned toxic at the Pirelli Stadium and Ben Turner headed home Burton’s first league goal in more than nine hours (57).
Martyn Waghorn’s equaliser in the 66th minute turned the tide though and, after Town fans had spent the entire second half calling for Celina to come on, the Manchester City loanee was eventually introduced in the 84th minute.
The confident Kosovan duly curled home an 89th minute free-kick before chucking his shirt in the crowd and posing, chest puffed out, in front of the joyous travelling support.
Asked if that had been written in the stars, McCarthy dryly replied: “I don’t know, but I’m glad it turned out that way.”
And when quizzed about the fans’ calls for him to be introduced earlier, he said: “I don’t give a s***e about that, by the way. He didn’t go on because of that, let me just clear that up.
“In fact, there’s more chance of him not going on when they start telling me what to do. And yes, I am a belligerent f**k. Let’s just clear that up.”
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He continued: “He has every chance of going on when the game gets stretched. I don’t think it was the game for him when we’re having to head balls out and fight and scrap, but with 10 minutes to play it is, strangely enough.
“It’s a wonderful finish. He’s celebrated with the fans, thrown his shirt in with them, they all love him and he’s maybe given the bird to me – but I don’t mind that because that’s what he’s paid for.
“He’s the hero, fabulous, but I tell you what there were some more heroes there today who kept a clean sheet up until half-time. They enabled him to do that. Good luck to him.”
Town rode their luck in the first half, with third-bottom Burton dominating possession and carving out several chances.
“At half-time I was tempted to change it,” said McCarthy. “Not to put Bersant on by the way, I might add. Kevin Bru I considered. I spoke to TC (assistant Terry Connor) and he made the point that was the toughest 45 minutes we’ve had this season. I thought Tristan (Nydam) had a tough time today, but he’s been brilliant and only just 18.
“It was hard. We played great last week and got f**k all (losing 1-0 at home to Norwich). We’ve not played well today and won. I’ll give all credit to my players for scraping it out.”
When it was put to him that a win was vital today given his side’s recent poor form and the tough fixtures on the horizon, McCarthy replied: “For sure. Absolutely. For sure we needed to.”
With Town fans having chanted ‘Mick McCarthy, your football is s**t’ and ‘Mick McCarthy, get out of our club’, it was put to the Blues boss that last season’s negative chants were creeping back.
“They crept back in did they?” he said, raising his eyebrows. “You’re kidding me. I think they more than crept back in.
“Listen, unless somebody decides otherwise, you’ve got me, boring old big nose f***ing fart with s***e football until May. Unless somebody decides different.”
McCarthy, who suggested this week that he could walk away from the club when his contract expires next summer, added: “It hurts me because it can affect the players, but it doesn’t bother me. I have to be honest. I prefer it the other way.
“We changed the hit parade for six games, but it’s back. I can tolerate it.”
Quizzed further on Celina, he said: “He’s here for the season.”
When told about the youngster’s cryptic ‘two months until the new year’ tweet, he quipped: “It’s factually correct, isn’t it? He’s a f***ing brighter lad then I thought!
“He’s our player. He might play at Cardiff (on Tuesday night) and he’ll be happy then. Good luck to him.”