Ketsbaia wants to make more history

Georgia boss Temuri Ketsbaia is desperate to be remembered for something other than one of the most bizarre goal celebrations football has ever seen.

The 45-year-old hit the headlines in 1998 when he came off the bench to fire Newcastle United to a last-gasp Premier League victory over Bolton Wanderers, and then tore off his shirt and starting kicking the advertising hoardings at St James' Park, later revealing he had done so in frustration at being left out of the starting line-up.

Fifteen years on, he has established himself as a respected coach and will lead Georgia into friendly battle with Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday evening (Monday morning AEST).

However, as he conducted his pre-match press conference at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening, he pre-empted the inevitable question.

Ketsbaia said with a smile: "Don't ask me about it. I did much better things in Newcastle, and people only remember this one!

"Sometimes when you score a goal and there is some disappointment and you express yourself in the wrong way. It was a bad moment for me.

"Even when you score a goal, even at that moment, sometimes bad things can happen - not bad things, I just lost my control.

"I wasn't to forget that, but nobody let's me forget it! Every time I come to England or some other countries, everybody remembers this.

"As I said, I did for the club much better things than only this one."

Ketsbaia recalls his time in England and Scotland, where he spent a season with Dundee, with great fondness, and he still has many friends in both countries.

One of his closest is former Magpies and Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given, whose record haul of 125 senior caps for his country will remain intact for a few more days yet with Robbie Keane, who is now just one behind, rested for the game.

Ketsbaia said: "I had a fantastic time. My time in British football was my best time as a football player.

"The atmosphere, the pitches, everything is at a high level - that's the reason that everybody wants to go and play in England.

"It was for me the best time. Also, I have good friends, starting with Shay (Given). We played together at Newcastle for three years and we still contact with each other.

"I have many good things to remember, not only kicking the boards."

The Republic's encounter with Georgia is a repeat of Trapattoni's first competitive game in charge, when the sides met in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier in September 2008.

However, that match was controversially played on neutral territory in Mainz, Germany, because of the volatile political situation in Tbilisi at the time.

But while that decision still rankles with many Georgians - Ireland won the game 2-1 - Ketsbaia insists it is history.

He said: "I don't want to say that it is still going on. What happened happened and now we can't change anything.

"Unfortunately at that time in Georgia, it was not the best time, but we couldn't play that game in Tbilisi. Unfortunately, we didn't play in Tbilisi, we played in Germany.

"But we are here now and we want to try to play and enjoy ourselves. What has happened has happened, I don't want to bring it up today. It was five years ago.

"We would have preferred to play in Tbilisi, but it didn't happen."

The game represents a contest between two men at opposite ends of their managerial careers, but the younger has immense respect for his opponent.

Ketsbaia said: "It's a fantastic opportunity for me. I know Trapattoni from a long time ago.

"The first time when I went abroad from Georgia, the first European game I played, I played against Juventus and Trapattoni was the manager of Juventus.

"He has a great history. He has won everything possible to win in world football. It's always nice to be involved in these kind of games with these kind of people who have done so much to develop world football."

Source PRESS ASSOCIATION