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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Celtic ball boy saves day for Maradona

Celtic ball boy Adam Brown was the surprise hero on Monday night, earning a big hug from Diego Maradona when Argentina's new coach took his first practice session.

A low-key workout by the squad as they prepared for Wednesday's friendly against Scotland at nearby Hampden Park ended with the stocky 48-year-old Maradona pacing Celtic's Parkhead turf looking for something in the grass.

His staff took part in the search for the lost item and a dozen ball boys formed a police-style cordon and walked down the pitch before Brown found it, a crucifix on a chain.

A joyous Maradona, who had been fairly quiet during the warm-up and a nine-a-side practice game which he refereed, bounded up to the ball boys and embraced Brown.

He then gave him his woolly hat in gratitude amid cheers from a few spectators in the stands.

Maradona made his customary sign of the cross as he left the pitch, bringing to an end Argentina's visit to Parkhead. The squad will practice behind closed doors at Hampden on Tuesday evening.

Celtic put a welcome message on their giant screen including a photo of a teenage Maradona when he inspired his country to a 3-1 victory over Scotland at Hampden in 1979.

Maradona, who will give a news conference at the team's hotel on Tuesday, did not speak to reporters after practice.

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