DAVIE HAY experienced football’s rollercoaster during a turbulent, extraordinary period when he led Celtic to the title in 1986 – and was sacked before the 1987/88 season kicked off.

It was a sensational turnaround in the fortunes of the Hoops manager only four years after he had taken charge of the club on July 4 1983 at the age of 35.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hay, who mastermined a Scottish Cup triumph in his second term, tells the inside story behind his brutal sacking. The Hoops legend tells all in an edited extract from his best-selling 2009 autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin,’ co-authored by his long-time friend and writer Alex Gordon.

Please enjoy Day Five of Davie Hay’s revelations.

CELTIC prided themselves in never having sacked a manager in their history and they didn’t want to do so with their centenary year in 1988 coming up fast.

They wanted me to quietly walk away and let everyone think I had quit.

I stared back at chairman Jack McGinn and said: ‘No chance. If you want me out you will have to fire me.’

There was a long silence and I added, ‘Who’s got my job? Who are you going to replace me with?’

Jack was now looking distinctly ill at ease. He didn’t want to answer that one.

I wasn’t about to drop to my knees and plead for my job. They had made a decision and, only a year after winning the championship, I was no longer the Celtic manager. Could you blame me for feeling bitter? I said at the time that it was like a death in the family. That, of course, was a gross exaggeration.

HAPPIER TIMES…Davie Hay and his assistant Frank Connor are welcomed to Celtic by former chairman Desmond White in July 1983.

I was hurt, though; badly hurt and humiliated by a board I had continually warned to look at the bigger picture and see what Rangers were doing across the city. Our age-old rivals were investing heavily in their playing resources and were bringing in quality from England.

No-one could ever accuse me of lacking ambition and there was no-one at Celtic Park more single-minded than me when it came to keeping Celtic at the pinnacle. However, when I needed the board to back me they back-stabbed me, instead.

It’s changed days now, of course, and millions have been spent in recent times in bringing in the likes of Chris Sutton, Neil Lennon, John Hartson, Scott Brown, Shunsuke Nakamura and Jan Vennegoor of Hesslink. The club have also been successful in signing players that were on Rangers’ radar such as Paul Hartley and Scott McDonald.

The present board are willing to back their managers. I wasn’t afforded that luxury by some directors who scoffed at the Ibrox side and believed money couldn’t buy success. In football, proper investments will bring their reward. Liverpool won back-to-back European Cups in 1977 and 1978 with players such as Kenny Dalglish, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen and Ray Clemence in their line-ups.

Hardly anyone came through their youth or reserve teams. I am a great advocate of nurturing your own talent and building for the future, but there are other times when you need a quick fix and you can only do that through sound purchases in the transfer market.

MISSING LINK…Davie Provan fires over a cross in a game at Dunfermline, but Davie Hay was denied the winger’s services in season 1986/87.

I should have known what was coming when I went to Upton Park on a Wednesday night to see West Ham playing Chelsea. Once again, I had informed the board that I believed we needed urgent strengthening. In fact, I had made my plea after we had won the title the previous season.

I was far from satisfied with the depth of our squad. I repeated this throughout that summer, but, alas, no-one was listening.

Initially, I travelled to London to have a look at outside-right Pat Nevin and centre-half Joe McLaughlin, who were doing well for my old Stamford Bridge club and two players I believed would be excellent acquisitions for Celtic.

We were lacking a player who could perform wide on the right after losing Davie Provan to illness. Paul McGugan was tried in the middle of the rearguard, but he lacked experience and the authority much needed in that central defensive position.

Nevin and McLaughlin would have filled those voids at Celtic and, with them in place, I believe we could have retained our championship. I also wanted St.Mirren right-back Steve Clarke around that time, but once more the directors didn’t stump up the cash and he went to Chelsea, instead.

We finished second to Rangers, but there wasn’t a lot in it. Money spent on new players would have made all the difference.

TARGET MAN…Davie Hay wanted Steve Clarke, but the defender moved from St Mirren to Chelsea.

I was saddened when I returned from London and picked up my newspaper a day later and Jack McGinn was quoted as saying, ‘If Davie Hay wants to bring those players to Celtic then he will have to pay for them himself.’

I thought it was a remarkably silly thing to say. I couldn’t imagine Celtic fans being enamoured by those words while Graeme Souness continued to splash the cash at Ibrox and his club were promising to continue doing so throughout the summer. We were very much the poor relations at the time and it wasn’t a position in which I was comfortable. Far from it.

I didn’t talk to Jack for about a fortnight afterwards and, upon reflection, I know that was wrong. Relations were strained, to say the least, and that cannot be right.

A manager and a chairman should always have dialogue. We should have been singing from the same hymn sheet, after all.

*TOMORROW: Don’t miss Day Seven of Celtic Confidential as Davie Hay reveals all.

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