I was a Premier League cult hero for smashing up ground celebrating but now I want to make history as boss at Euro 24 | The Sun

NEWCASTLE cult hero Temuri Ketsbaia is determined to lead Cyprus to glory at Euro 2024 next year.

Ketsbaia, 55, joined the Magpies in 1997 and scored 14 goals in 107 appearances during his three-year spell at St James' Park.

But arguably his most memorable moment in black and white came during a Premier League match against Bolton in March 1998.

After coming off the bench in the 79th minute of the clash with the score at 1-1, the Georgian midfielder came out of nowhere to score a last-minute winner.

He then whipped his shirt off, launched it into the crowd and proceeded to kick lumps out of the advertising boards surrounding the pitch.

Many Newcastle fans were left baffled by the outrageous celebration, but Ketsbaia explained that it was his way of letting out the frustration that he had built-up after being named on the bench earlier in the day.

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At the time, he said: "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 did much better things in Newcastle, and people only remember this one!"

Now, 25 years on from that moment of madness, Ketsbaia hopes to use his passion to inspire Cyprus to glory at Euro 2024.

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The former Newcastle star became Cyprus manager in June last year.

And he is determined to lead the nation to next summer's European Championships in Germany.

However, Cyprus currently sit fifth in their qualifying group, which includes Spain and Norway, having played one game.

Ketsbaia's side suffered a 3-0 defeat to Scotland last week.

John McGinn opened the scoring in the first half before Manchester United's Scott McTominay sealed all three points with two goals late in the game.

Ahead of the defeat, Ketsbaia said: "We know we are not favourites in our group in any game we play. But that gives us more motivation to prove people are wrong.

"This is something we have to have in our mind. I don’t think Scotland will underestimate us. They’re not in that position to think like that. We want to show we can play good football too and get a result.

"My players are ready. We had a good four days together, trained well, we showed we are in good condition.

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"Some players haven’t seen 50,000 in a stadium before but I believe that’s good for the players to see a full stadium. You don’t want to play in empty stadiums. I hope this will also be a motivation.

"It’s going to be difficult and with many challenges. But in football now you can never say one team is 100 per cent sure to get the result. We want to show we can get very difficult away results."

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