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Gray backs Murphy to be big Hoops hit

Former Sunderland skipper Michael Gray has promised hard-to-please Celtic supporters Daryl Murphy will deliver the goals.

Murphy's £1.2m signing from Sunderland has been given a lukewarm welcome from Hoops supporters spoiled by memories of Henrik Larsson, John Hartson and Chris Sutton banging in goals and winning titles for fun.

In more recent times, Craig Bellamy and Robbie Keane have been idolised for their goalscoring during loan spells at Parkhead with the return of either or even both buzzing on the transfer grapevine to excite the support and trigger a stampede for season tickets.

Gray spent four months on loan at Celtic in season 2003/04 alongside Larsson, Sutton and Hartson and experiencing the drama and excitement of Champions League football and Old Firm derbies.

The full-back retired from the game at the end of last season but as a lifelong Sunderland fan he has no doubt that Murphy will be a success at Celtic.

He said: "Daryl is a great player, he's strong and will be a big success at Celtic -- he knows where the back of the net is.

"Sunderland have gone out and bought some big, big players. Does Daryl fit into that category? I don't know but he is a tremendous talent. He's still young and wherever he's been he's scored goals, I think that he's a very good addition for Celtic.

"He's strong and will really fit into the SPL and he'll have European football to enjoy as well. As an Irish boy, playing for Celtic will be special for him.

"I don't think that he'll need time -- I really don't. He's a top-quality player and I know for a fact that he'll score goals."

Meanwhile Celtic have been linked with a move for David James in a bid to fill the gap left by the sale of Artur Boruc.

The England keeper is available on a free transfer and also has an option to stay on at Portsmouth in a player/coach capacity.


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