Everton defend Cahill actions
Everton have refused to criticise Tim Cahill after he dedicated his goal against Portsmouth to his jailed brother.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 03/03/08 5:02pm
Everton have refused to criticise midfielder Tim Cahill after he dedicated his crucial goal against Portsmouth to his jailed brother.
The Australian put Everton back ahead at Goodsion Park on Sunday after Jermain Defoe had cancelled out Yakubu Aiyegbeni's early opener.
Everton went on to win 3-1 and Cahill later explained his celebration, which saw him make a crossed-wrists gesture, was apparently to mimic a pair of handcuffs.
He said: "It's for my older brother. Everyone knows my situation. I'm just proud that he's happy and I'm happy. I'm thinking of him always.
"My family means a lot to me. It's been a bit emotional but it's good and it's just about time I scored this season."
Cahill's brother Sean was sentenced to eight years in prison in January for assaulting a man who was left partially blind after an attack outside a south London nightclub.
An Everton spokesman has admitted that some might see Cahill's celebrations as inappropriate, but stressed that the player would have considered his actions carefully.
"Goal celebrations are a personal matter and up to the player to decide - no-one dictates what the player can do as long as he stays within the laws of the game, as long as it doesn't result in a caution.
"Tim is a very articulate young man and will have weighed up the pros and cons and decided to do it because it was a personal and emotional matter.
"I am sure Tim was fully aware that some people would not be in favour of what he did before he did it."
Cahill has also praised striker Yakubu after the Nigerian took his tally for the season to 18 with two goals against Portsmouth.
He said: "It works well. We work hard for Yak and he works hard for us. He's on fire. If you can find the Yak he will score but he also provides them.
"He's very strong and he's brought a balance to the team. We can give him the ball anywhere around the 18-yard box and he can hold it. I think we've lacked that for the last couple of seasons."
Champions League hope
Everton's victory lifted them back into fourth after Liverpool had temporarily moved above them, and Yakubu is confident of clinching qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
"We want to finish in fourth spot. We knew Liverpool won and we wanted to keep the pressure on them," said Yakubu.
"We deserved the win and we played for each other and we got the three points we were looking for."