‘He meant that in a metaphorical sense,’ Martin O’Neill on Dermot Desmond’s Celtic Proposition

MARTIN O’NEILL has revealed how Celtic convinced him to leave Leicester and set about turning Celtic back into a force in Europe and dominating in Scotland.

Prior to O’Neill joining, the John Barnes experiment had ended in failure before Kenny Dalglish rather half-heartedly took the interim role before a successor could be found. The man that Dermot Desmond identified was the two-time European Cup winner Martin O’Neill, who learned from the legendary Brian Clough and was working wonders at Leicester.

In the podcast, A Pint with Eamonn and the Gaffers, Eamonn Holmes sat down with the ex-Celtic and Ireland manager to discuss his career on the pitch and in the dug-out.

O’Neill oversaw Leicester’s promotion as well as a number of mid table finishes but the highlight of his tenure in Leicester was winning the Football League Cup twice. Despite approaches from Leeds, O’Neill stayed with the East Midlands team before Celtic came calling.

“When I went to Celtic Dermot Desmond, the owner of Celtic said, ‘I want you to take ownership of the football club.’

“He meant that in a metaphorical sense but I knew exactly what he meant.

“That was fantastic news for me. It meant that I could run the club as I saw fit.

“It was up to me to try and make a success of it, Celtic had struggled for some time before that so it was a fantastic challenge.”

Rangers had won five of the six available trophies since Celtic dramatically stopped 10-in-a-row in 1998 and the emphasis was upon turning the tables on the free-spending Ibrox club.

O’Neill oversaw an incredible transformation in his time at Celtic, taking them to a treble in his first season, as well as a total of three league winners medals, three Scottish Cups, one league cup and, of course, that incredible European run that culminated in the UEFA Cup Final in Seville.


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Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He plans to be at every game until we get to the Ten ourselves. He's in his Honours Year studying Law and plans to specialise in Sports Law when he graduates. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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