Diouf apologises for spitting

Liverpool's El-Hadji Diouf has issued a public apology for the spitting incident, which earned him a 5,000-pound (8,000-dollar) fine.

The Senegal international had pleaded guilty to assault, under provocation, by spitting on a Celtic fan Dominic Shiavone during a UEFA Cup match on March 13. He appeared before a Glasgow court.

"I want to say again how sorry I am for what happened at Celtic Park," said a statement released by Liverpool. "But I hope people will understand how shocked I was when I was struck on the back of the head.

"As was made clear in court, such an action in Senegal carries a very different and degrading meaning.

"My immediate reaction reflected what I took as a very deliberate provocation. It was wrong and is a mistake I'll not make again.

"I sincerely hope this incident will not affect the great relationship between the two clubs and their supporters and want to publicly wish Celtic and their fans all the best at home and in the Champions League this season.

"I've already been fined heavily by the club and respect the decision of the Glasgow court.

"I hope I can now draw a line under this whole business and get on with my job of playing football for Liverpool."

The incident happened when Diouf got tangled up with some of the Celtic supporters at the edge of the pitch while going to retrieve the ball late in the second half. After being slapped on the back of the head by one of the fans, the player retaliated by spitting as he pulled away.