(updates after practice)
By Rex Gowar
GLASGOW Nov 17 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
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
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 (1600 GMT), did not speak to reporters after
A man with minimal coaching experience, he spoke on Sunday
of starting his new career by imbuing his proteges with a sense
of what it means to wear the Argentina shirt.
Looking back at his playing days, particularly when he led
his country to World Cup victory in 1986, Maradona said: "Today
(the players) can have a guide who will tell them what the shirt
"I hope (the story) finishes the same way (in South Africa
in 2010). For now we're taking it step by step," he told
Argentine reporters upon arrival in Glasgow.
Unhappy with the attitude in their last match under former
coach Alfio Basile, a 1-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier in
Chile, Maradona said: "I haven't got the working time ... I just
have to throw the team on the pitch and the change in attitude
is what is going to make this team change".
His appointment as successor to Basile, who resigned after
the defeat, was met with more apprehension than joy but his
diehard fans believe he can inspire Argentina to a third World
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)