Martin O’Neill takes us to school again


I caught parts of Ireland’s win over Bosnia last night, then read the odd truculent comment about their style. Bosnia are a decent team. They reached the last World Cup and would have reached France, if Ireland didn’t put on a classic Martin O’Neill performance.

Football is a game of systems and Martin’s defensive system is perhaps one of the most effective in Europe. Good enough to get the better of Germany over two games and eliminate Bosnia. The goal Shaun Maloney scored against Ireland at Celtic Park was exceptional, while Scotland’s goal in Dublin was a deflection, any defence is susceptible to exceptional and deflected efforts.

If Ireland had attempted to play the ranging 30 yard passes which Bosnia used to put the home team under pressure, they would have lost the game last night. It’s hard to escape comparisons with our own European performances this season. Robust in Amsterdam, but expansive and vulnerable elsewhere.

The first job of any team is to make itself hard to beat. Martin’s been in the game a long time, and managed this from the off at Celtic, at home, anyway. His systems in the road in Europe failed. Apart from Amsterdam, of course.

The Winds of Change, Managing Celtic 1991 – 2005, published by CQN, is out TODAY, available on the relaunched CQN Bookstore! Alex Gordon, who wrote the prequel, Caesar & the Assassin, covering Billy McNeill and Davie Hay’s time as Celtic manager, leads us from Liam Brady’s time to the end of Martin’s era in 2005.

Celtic transformed beyond recognition during this period. Liam Brady, then ‘Luigi’ Macari managed Celtic through perhaps our most turbulent periods, before everything changed. Fergus McCann arrived, be brought in Tommy Burns and together we built a stadium.

The ultimate prize (as winning the league was then regarded) had to wait until 1998, during Wim Jansen’s short but historic time in charge. Fergus left us with Dr Jo, a man he wished he’d met earlier in his tenure, before the magnificent (cough) John Barnes era, and King Kenny’s League Cup.

Then Martin O’Neill came and took us all to school. We learned things about football that we didn’t know before.

Alex Gordon was a working journalist through this period and gained excellent access and insight into the club and our managers. Forewords by Billy McNeill and Davie Hay.

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  1. Afternoon Timland from a warm hun free mountain valley.




    I honestly can’t see past what Bawsman is saying.


    They committed a fraud by not declaring the side letters, end of.


    No matter how they want to bend the rules, the huns committed fraud, as did the sfa by helping cover it up.



  2. Pleased for Martin, and pleased for Ireland. Qualifying from that group was always going to be difficult, but they got themselves organised, played to their (limited) strengths and got a lot of good results. You can’t ask for any more.



    But you CAN ask why Scotland consistently fail to do what Ireland managed. No doubt some working party or strategy will be wheeled out to fix things. Again…



    Meanwhile, here is an opportunity to laugh at the bleating of Richard Gough…




  3. Well done Ireland.



    Couple of questions, would MON manage Celtic for £400k a year? Is he best suited to developing young players as key part of the clubs overall strategy?



    There is an argument to suggest that MON’s methods at this time are best suited to International football with a country with the expectations and resources of the Irish rather than modern club football.


    TALLYBHOY on 17TH NOVEMBER 2015 11:50 AM



    Morning all.



    Some discussion about the relocation of refugees to Scotland over the next few weeks.



    Mrs Tally was telling me that there was a demonstration yesterday in Monkton – a one horse village right next to Prestwick Airport – by some of the locals protesting against the decision to house some of those poor desperate people there.



    Anybody who knows the place will say -“Have they no suffered enough?!”






    Luxury compared to this place!







    TALLYBHOY,once upon a time I naively believed that Scotland didn’t suffer from the same racism I witnessed in England. That we were only(!)sectarian,and could deal with that.



    I’m far from sure now that is the case.



    These people need help. Yes,I can understand the worries of small communities,but rattling your gums does no good if you’re not prepared to help.



    And it’s a hunner times worse if you only want to prevent it.

  5. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Well done Ireland and MON. Trumped and triumphed over WGS. No debate.



    To be a very successful manager you need to get the respect of the players. Martin has this in spades. Mourinhio is losing it.



    When you get it. The players and the fans know it too. Unfortunately Celtic plc do not want any kind of messanic figure. Especially a proven one. It weakens and exposes them.




  6. Guys, if any of you want to help out Syrian refugees overseas there’s an app you can download called Share The Meal. It allows you to buy meals which the UN World Food Programme will distribute to Syrian refugee children in Jordan. It’s really easy to use and you can donate using a credit card or Paypal.

  7. TURKEYBHOY on 17TH NOVEMBER 2015 12:57 PM






















    Belated congratulations on your darts heroics the other night. I was reading back after an interweb failure, and it sounded like a thrilling night.











    Many thanks.It was brilliant.Stonking hangover.Played in the league last night,and won,but played like I had two left hands.Meeting up with the Fenerbache fans in Istanbul for the game.They are getting me tickets,so will be in with them.They have said,wear The Hoops,but not too sure about that.

  8. Re: MON’s recent statements about the huns…..I’d have said the same if I were him. Here’s why…..Titles shouldn’t be stripped…it was so long ago??? MO’N is nobodies mug. Neither is Neil Lennon who hasn’t been grilled yet. But, MO’N who’s wife had to endure the hun-orc-animals planting the butchers apron in their family garden whilst, MO’N was at his work, managing Celtic in the LCSF v’s the huns….knows full well that there comes a point were, family is more important than Celtic. Neil Lennons two most trusted folk on this earth, Martin O’Neill and deceased QC Paul McBride, whom I think died in suspicious circumstances….just as he was about to sink his teeth into the sectarian-racist-Scottish-establishment….hmmmm??? To a lesser extent…Neil put up the white flag in his crusade against the establishment after the Kayal assault from elbows were Neil said – “there was no malice, just two committed players going for the ball.”……aye! In the same game, he had little to say about David Healy’s attempt at splitting James Forrest in two. The establishments ugly-sinister-orcness had got to Neil who, is only human after all. MO’N protecting his family against the hun evil is exactly what I’d do. Then again….maybe MO’N knows more about the levels of kowtowing at higher levels than he is letting on.



  9. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    On the news, Cameron says events in Paris strengthen the argument for UK to begin air strikes in Syria. Sigh. Does Syria need more bombing? Really?

  10. Bobby Murdoch – it was a tiny demonstration in Monkton, organised by the SDL. They were outnumbered 2 to 1 by people demonstrating in favour of the refugees.



    When the big influx of asylum seekers happened in Sighthill in Glasgow there were some protests initially – a lot to do with the perception that the asylum seekers were getting preferential treatment. Once it was explained what was happening people calmed down and things went back to normal. Standards in some schools actually improved on the back of it cos a lot of the refugee children were determined to do their best in their new situation, and some of the Scottish kids started copying their example.

  11. Hunderbirds



    Cameron wanted to go to war with Syria not too long ago, but was shouted down by his pals in parliament.



    Personally I think we should pick a fight with Russia or China and leave the wee boys alone.



    Go on Big Dave, you know you want to!!




  12. Hunderbirds are Gone on




    I have only been in Istanbul for a week on holiday. Stayed in Sultanahmet on the European side. Loved Istanbul, but took the ferry over to the Asian side one day. And that was the only day. Less bars was a problem for a start, and the one I found was populated with kinda sorry, but very menacing dudes. I would get a pair of Celtic pants and wear them instead, just to be safe. :-))

  13. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    DD and Denis O Brien brokered MON´s deal. They also contribute to his 1m salary. Why should MON choose to disagree with two of Celtics biggest shareholders? What would he gain from it ? The respect of those who have forgotten his achievements already ?

  14. Kev J,


    nonsense.Why bother saying anything?.A simple “No comment”would have been enough.Why witter on about it to the press.I have no time for these supposed”Ex Celtic”men who are siding with the Huns.I dont care what they did for us in the past,they are betraying the fans now.


    Every Hun ex-player,hack,pundit,will never say a word against their former team.Defend them at all costs.


    They were in Scotland at the cutting edge long enough to know the agenda.Long enough to know how the hacks work.They were well paid by the Celtic fans who spent their harder earned cash,paying to watch their team,cheated and robbed.


    These statements from ex celts astonish me.Anyone,no matter who,or what they did in the past,toeing the party line on the Huns,has lost my respect totally.They are treating all of the support with contempt.

  15. http://www.celticfc.net/news/9533? fishul site.



    Celtic FC Foundation Refugee crisis ambulance arrives in Lesbos


    By: Newsroom Staff on 17 Nov, 2015 13:11



    THERE are currently thousands of refugees arriving on Lesbos every day by boat and many are suffering from hypothermia, trauma and other medical conditions.


    As part of Celtic FC Foundation’s pledge to help this humanitarian crisis in some way, £17,000 was recently donated to the Glasgow Cares Appeal to fund an ambulance which would assist this current refugee crisis.


    Our ambulance is now well established onsite in Lesbos and is currently providing much needed medical aid and immediate life saving response for those refugees arriving every single day.


    Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s former deputy leader, travelled with the ambulance in a two-day journey across Europe to the island and has already seen firsthand the incredible impact it has made.


    Mr Sarwar recently commented that on arrival on the island, many Celtic fans were delighted to see our ambulance arrive – highlighting our commitment to help make a difference to those in need – a true testament to our club’s historical values.


    Tony Hamilton, Celtic FC Foundation CEO said: “This is only possible because of the generosity of the club’s and the Foundation’s supporters and our partners and we are very grateful to every single person who contributed to our Refugee Appeal.


    “The fact that the ambulance is on the ground and making a difference where it is needed most, is clearly going to help a lot of people who are living unimaginably difficult lives at this moment.”


    This donation from Celtic FC Foundation comes from the incredible total of £60,000 which was raised from various activities including the Jock Stein 30th Anniversary match and dinner, Andy Murray’s signed and auctioned Celtic top, and other fundraising activities.


    Already, £40,000 was donated to British Red Cross for their European Refugee Appeal. This will provide desperately needed food and nourishment to 3,422 refugees in Greece, including people who have just arrived with little more than the clothes that they are wearing

  16. Paul67



    No doubt about it, Ireland MON’ed it all the way to the finals.



    First and foremost, defend properly , take four points from six against the World Champions, and Scotland et all, with their football gnomes, were a skoosh.



    Ironically, they reckon MON was rarely seen on the Celtic training ground? – How does he do it?



    Worked for a while at Aston Villa, then downhill all the way at Sunderland , suppose football always ends up about the players you can assemble.










    I have only been in Istanbul for a week on holiday. Stayed in Sultanahmet on the European side. Loved Istanbul, but took the ferry over to the Asian side one day. And that was the only day. Less bars was a problem for a start, and the one I found was populated with kinda sorry, but very menacing dudes. I would get a pair of Celtic pants and wear them instead, just to be safe. :-))




    Yep.I have been on both sides as well.Been to a Fener v Galatasaray game with some Turkish mates from here.The Asian side is where the stadium is.The European side is fantastic,and I will be there the first day.Meeting up with the other mob,before the game.Its the only way I can get a ticket easily.Wont wear any colours.Not that brave.They are a mental mob.

  18. Hoping that the club welcomes the Syrian refugees to Parkhead.



    We need to open our arms to these people.

  19. No one should be surprised by the way MON took Ireland through.He has never changed his tactics since his days at Leicester City.Big strong,back 4,tough tackling midfield,and big forwards up front.When he was at Celtic,the Huns were squealing,we were”Bullying them”.Never the most attractive teams to watch,but,there you go.

  20. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Yeh, on other visits to Turkey, I have always found the Fenerbahce fans to be the most………. Eh…….committed. Pity we didn’t share a group with Galatasaray or Besiktas instead I reckon. Would have been a better (and safer) trip for those travelling. I hope it all goes off well both on, and off, the pitch.

  21. Turkeybhoy


    I reckon less than half of the Celtic support are aware of the wholesale cheating by the huns and most of them miss the “OF”. Many rely on MSM for their news. It’s up to us bampots who know the score to patiently explain how serious the cheating was and how their brothers at the SFA have done their damndest to cover it all up.


    Many ex Celts share this ignorance and their statements to a salivating MSM can be forgiven. Those who are now part of the media circus should know the score and their willful ignorance is not so forgivable.


    Your point that they were exceptionally well paid by the Celtic fans is so true. They should take a leaf out of Tom Boyd’s book and see things from the paying fans’ viewpoint.

  22. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on




    I totally agree with you. These ex-Celts should, to a man, say “No comment!” It would speak volumes. Instead we have people like Nicholas, Bonnar, Martin O’Neill and our major shareholder all talking up the Huns. My late father and the late fathers of my two best friends all used to have the same saying, “If you’re not for us, you’re against us”. I totally agree with that when it comes to Scottish football and a few other aspects of life in Scotland. I would like to pose the question to these former employees: “Why do you not want to see justice being done?”

  23. MON’s management was always best suited to knock out and the very biggest games, get the team up and as Chris Sutton said during our tepid second half performance against Molde at Parkhead, send them out to war.



    Not criticism in that, international football is perfectly suited to his style. Because of the short time the coaches get with their players tactics play less of a role than in club football these days, and motivation takes over, which is where he excels.

  24. Canalamar







    Have a look at this analysis on SFM drawing on SFA, SPFL and FIFA rules. I think you’ll like it Canalamar.






    As I commented further down illegal ebts are just the modern day equivalent of brown envelopes stuffed with cash.



    The rules obfuscate the simple reality.



    I still think FIFA should be asked or an opinion on the SFA interpretation.

  25. Surprised Cameron think he has a remit to bomb Syria, no NATO force has permission to drop bombs in Syria so anyone dropping bombs bar Russia is an invasion force and that includes France.