Football

McLeish relishing O'Neill rivalry

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Alex McLeish wants to reignite the rivalry he enjoyed with Martin O'Neill in Scotland by helping Birmingham become an established force alongside Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League.

McLeish and O'Neill were often on opposite sides when in charge of Rangers and Celtic north of the border and will now lock horns again after McLeish steered Blues back into the top flight at the first attempt.

McLeish said: "We know Villa are a little bit ahead of us in terms of quality and resources at the moment. There is no doubt that Martin has done a fantastic job there."

The former Scotland boss is also keen to make amends for the 5-1 drubbing City suffered at the hands of Villa in his previous Second City derby at the end of the 2007-2008 campaign.

"We certainly would like to try and get closer to our big rivals and try and make the situation Martin and I had when on opposite sides in Glasgow," he added.

"I just hope we do a bit better than the last time at Villa Park.

"We will never be Manchester United but I'd love to think we can make our way in the Premier League in the next two or three years while I am in charge."

McLeish is adamant he wants to target more than mere survival in the Premier League.

He said: "I judge myself and the pressure I put Alex McLeish under and, although some people might be happy with getting to the Premier League, I want to stay there.

"That's my ambition. Nothing will ever stop me wanting to be a winner and, if I've got people on the same wavelength, then I think we have got a chance."

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Topics:
Football
Championship
Premier League
Alex
Manchester United
Aston Villa
Birmingham

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