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.
“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.
“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.”