Open Goal: Sutton on Strachan and his Celtic Exit

After Martin O’Neill left Celtic to ‘life in the slow’ lane, Gordon Strachan arrived with a cost-cutting brief from upstairs. The days of the big spending adventure were going to an end and Sutton was about to be one of the casualties.

Things started badly for Strachan with that shameful 5-0 defeat away to Artmedia Bratislava and worse still for Sutton was the broken cheekbone injury he suffered in that game that effectively set in play his departure from the club.

“I never wanted to leave Celtic. Not even when Strachan came in,” Sutton told Open Goal. “I was happy carrying on. New ideas, new methods, that’s fine. I didn’t necessarily have an issue with Gordon up until the first day.

Celtic, without Sutton, won the return game against Artmedia Bratislava and were very unlucky not to get a fifth that would have taken the tie to extra-time,  here are some photos from that frustrating night at Celtic Park.

 Celtic’s Alan Thompson scores from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, second leg match between Celtic and Artmedia Bratislava at Parkhead on August 2, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

 Celtic’s John Hartson shoots to score the second goal during the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, second leg match between Celtic and Artmedia Bratislava at Parkhead on August 2nd, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Celtic’s Craig Beattie scores the fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, second leg match between Celtic and Artmedia Bratislava at Parkhead on August 2, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

 Celtic’s John Hratson is challenged by Pavol Stano of Artmedia Bratislava to the ball during the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, second leg match between Celtic and Artmedia Bratislava at Parkhead on August 2, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

 Celtic’s Neil Lennon evades a tackle from Jan Durica of Artmedia Bratislava during the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, second leg match between Celtic and Artmedia Bratislava at Parkhead on August 2, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“I injured my cheek, it was a bad injury. My vision was impaired. We had a disagreement about that. He didn’t really bother his backside with me and didn’t speak to me much. I was angry with him.”

“I was sitting upstairs one day and he was talking to me, he started to try and joke. I just ignored him and carried on eating my soup.

Gordon Strachan in Bratislava

“Then we had a conversation in his office. He asked what that was all about and that ignoring him wasn’t on. I told him he ignored me for six weeks. He said he called me. We agreed to disagree because he didn’t call me. We got on and it was fine after that.

“Then he pulled me in before Christmas and said he wanted to change the terms of my contract. I said: ‘If you want me leave, I’ll leave, but if you want me to stay those are the terms’.

“He said I’d been injured a lot. There wasn’t a lot I could do about that. In the end, we fell out. I didn’t want to leave and I felt I was wronged in that instance. I didn’t want to leave Celtic.”

GLASGOW , SCOTLAND – JANUARY 9: Chris Sutton of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the Tennants Scottish Cup third round match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on January 9, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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