“He tried to lure me to Celtic a couple of times, but I didn’t fancy it up there,” Heskey

Celtic twice tried to sign Emile Heskey under Martin O’Neill…

Celtic coach Martin O’Neill celebrates a goal by Chris Sutton. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Emile Heskey has spoken to Four Four Two magazine about Celtic’s attempts to sign him twice. The former Liverpool and Leicester City striker starred under Hoops boss Martin O’Neill during his time at the Foxes and as a result of his success there, the Irishman tried to lure him to Celtic Park on more than one occasion.

When O’Neill arrived at the Parkhead club, he was facing the difficult task of rejuvenating a Celtic side that had been psychologically damaged from being second best for years against a financially doped Ibrox club. Except for the one title when the Hoops stopped the other mob from winning Ten-in-a-row, they had very slim pickings in terms of silverware and trophies won in a decade or so.

The man who won an English League Cup with Leicester declared that the side David Murray had built on a house of sand was the “benchmark” and that the Bhoys had to come up to that level to compete and even have any chance of going beyond. With that in mind, O’Neill would set about building a team that had plenty of power and pace and would score goals for fun, as well as being no-nonsense at the backline.

Chris Sutton of Celtic celebrates after scoring against Rangers. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Several of his recruits were big, strong and powerful guys like Chris Sutton, Joos Valgaeren, Bobo Balde and John Hartson. The boss liked his team to be full of strength and that’s just what the Celtic supporters were treated to under his tenure. It’s no surprise then to hear that Martin tried to sign Heskey when he was in the dugout in Scotland and now Heskey has opened up on those approaches. The former England international claims he didn’t fancy Scottish football and that the lure of Villa Park was too much at the time.

Speaking to the media outlet FourFourTwo, he said: “He tried to lure me to Celtic a couple of times, but I didn’t fancy it up there. Villa are a massive club and, being from the Midlands, I understood the scale of it. We were trying to push into the top four, but it was always going to be difficult with the phenomenal amount of investment clubs put in year in, year out. We couldn’t match it, but finishing sixth twice and qualifying for Europe was great.”

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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