Ferguson snatched O'Shea from Celtic

MANCHESTER United defender John O’Shea has revealed he would be playing for Celtic if it had not been for a last-gasp bid by Sir Alex Ferguson.

The 21-year-old defender has become a regular for United and the Republic of Ireland and is tipped to land Young Player of the Year award in England.

However, O’Shea could have been lining up for Martin O’Neill’s men after agreeing to join the Parkhead club as a youth player. "When I was 15, I had all, but dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on the dotted line to go to Celtic. But then United came in for me and I changed my mind.

"Everyone kept asking ‘How are you going to get into that team?’ But I decided the education I could get football-wise at United would do me the world of good and I couldn’t turn down the chance."

O’Shea played in both of Ireland’s recent Euro 2004 qualifiers that have pushed them back into contention for a place in the finals.

Meanwhile, the SFA has confirmed that both Rangers defender Craig Moore and Falkirk midfielder Davie Nicholls are suspended for their teams’ Scottish Cup fifth-round replays against Dunfermline and Dundee respectively.

Hampden Park will host both the semi-final ties. Motherwell face either Dunfermline or Rangers on Saturday, 19 April (12.30pm), which will be live on Sky, while the other semi-final between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and either Dundee or Falkirk will take place the following day (3pm).