Khizanisvili inspired by Ketsbaia
Zurab Khizanishvili admits his Newcastle move was influenced by compatriot Temuri Ketsbaia's spell at the club.
Last Updated: 03/10/09 12:56pm
Loan signing Zurab Khizanishvili admits his Newcastle move was influenced by compatriot Temuri Ketsbaia's spell at the club.
The Georgian defender joined the Magpies on a three-month loan deal from Blackburn last month after falling out of favour at Ewood Park.
Ketsbaia, who recently left his post as Olympiakos boss, spent three years at St James' Park and became a hero to the Georgian public as he partnered Alan Shearer up front for the Toon.
One of those who idolised Ketsbaia was Khizanishvili, who recalls his compatriot's exuberant goal celebrations including his infamous sponsor board-kicking incident.
Ketsbaia once bizarrely kicked sponsor boards repeatedly at St James' Park when celebrating a goal scored against Bolton, but Khizanishvili insists he will not repeat his hero's antics.
"I remember it well. I will keep my clothes on and not kick anything and just celebrate with my team-mates if I do (score)," Khizanishvili told The Northern Echo.
"Temuri is my good friend, one of my best football friends in Georgia.
"He became one of my best friends when we played together at Dundee. He was in Scotland for maybe six months.
"When I was 17, I started in the national team so we played five or six years together for Georgia.
"I am really happy to be following him here because I know he is a big name in Newcastle. He is a nice guy, a nice player, a very tough guy.
"When I first arrived, every single person in the town mentioned him because they know I am from Georgia. They all ask me 'how is Temuri?'
"When he was at Newcastle, I used to watch the games on TV like so many more people did in Georgia. It was a dream for him to play in the Premier League, especially for a club like Newcastle."
Dropping down a division did not faze the 27-year-old but he admits that Newcastle may have been the only Championship club he would have been willing to move to.
"It does not feel like a Championship club. Newcastle are a great club and it really matters which club you play for," he added.
"Maybe I would not have played for any other Championship club.
"Yes, you miss seeing faces like Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard every week because they are in the Premier League.
"But when you are at the training ground here, or the stadium, it makes you think 'Yes, I am still in the Premier League'. That is what it feels like here."