Crainey hints at Bhoys exit

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CELTIC defender Stephen Crainey has admitted he may have to leave Parkhead to get his career back on track.

The Scotland Under-21 international saw his first-team chances limited in the last year after making the breakthrough into Martin O'Neill's plans at the end of the 2001/2002 season.

Crainey made just seven starts all of last season and he feels that if the situation does not improve he may have to move on elsewhere.

"I would have liked to have played more games but it hasn't worked out that way and I just have to get on with it," said Crainey.

"After getting the run at the end of last season I felt as if I had done well and had a great chance of starting the season but obviously it didn't work out that way.

"Obviously the manager's got his own side and I think he will stick to that so I just need to get on with it.

"That's three or four years I have been with the first team now and I have stayed at the same level but obviously I want to progress.

"I know myself I can do it and that is the main thing but obviously the manager does not think that.

"To be honest a back three doesn't suit me, I feel as if I am more of a left back in a back four. But he does not play that system so we will just have to wait and see what happens at the end of the season.

"I have been at Celtic since I was a boy but I have to look after my own future at the end of the day.

"It would break my heart to leave. Everybody knows I am Celtic through and through but it is not about that at this stage of my career."

Crainey felt he would be given a chance during Celtic's hectic late run-in last season and after failing to get a look-in he fears it may be even harder to establish himself next year.

"I thought I would get in at the end of the season when there were injuries and it was hard to take at the time," added Crainey.

"And next season I might not be involved because of the changes in the Under-21 rule.

"Obviously I didn't like sitting on the bench as it is but that means I could be further out of the picture and I don't want that.

"But the manager picks the team and I just have to get on with it and not let the head go down.

"It does affect you, there is no doubt about it. But I feel confident in my own ability and that if I do get the chance, then I can do the job.

"This season I have started only seven games and then when you go in for one game, everybody expects you to perform at the top level and it's not like that at all."