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. Chairbhoy,DD and Andy k


    Many thanks


    On receiving this award from my Aussie Tims I’d like to thank …..to be said in my finest Gwyneth Paltrow dirge…


    Up the hoops

  2. The Battered Bunnet on

    Nice to hear young James Keatings having some fun.



    Elsewhere, cometh the hour for Denmark, cometh the Morten. Only Rasmussen stands between Sweden and the Euro finals. 3-1 to Sweden on aggregate, 15 mins to play.



    Looking like Lustig isn’t going to be getting an extended break.

  3. Bada Bing, I didn’t know these guys hadn’t seen their families for that time, that seems cruel.


    Diarra lost a cousin!


    I do get what you mean, but this may make the next game easier, lessen the emotion of it.


    The first game after such tragedy would be hard, get it done quickly, it will be low key.


    But then it is over, done, and they can begin moving on, dealing with it.



    Just my thoughts on why, emotionally tonight will be a good thing for the players, and for parts of the nation.


    The game itself, and result, are irrelevant, not even the performance matters.


    Just playing does.

  4. 2 nil Sweden and what a free kick from the Celt-to-be Zlatan.



    2 nil Hibs and a second strike from ex celt Keatings

  5. VOGUEPUNTER on 17TH NOVEMBER 2015 8:39 PM






    That one way system is a bugger .



    – —-/



    The one that takes you round Erskine?!?



    HH jamesgang

  6. Picking up on Pauls article re Martin Oneill .



    It is evident every time this current Celtic team take the field in Europe that they are the polar opposite of what Oneill is achieving with Ireland.



    After each failed attempt, Champs qualifiers, Europa league matches, it is abundantly clear, that Ronny, as a Manager has an inability to Instill defensive discipline, organisation, or defensive awareness or responsibility , in the players taking the field.



    In fact I am yet to see any signs that the current management team have any notion of the term “defending”.



    It will ultimately prove to be Ronny’s downfall.

  7. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    What a free kick by Zlatan.



    DAnish captain , is a Celtic fan, Guidetti, Rasmussen and Mikael. Good Celtic connection in this game tonight.



    Lovenkrands in the studio and he has a Scottish accent. He said oot instead of out at one point at half time.



    Doc at 8.08 re Jonathan Pierce.



    He does that high pitch screams stuff!!!!


    But agreed, he is a knowledgable commentator.


    And tonight showed some class.

  9. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    hope mon has good strategies for the euros themselves – it’s a bit like us going from the spffffffl to the champion’s league

  10. The Battered Bunnet on

    Recast II…



    2-2 Ful time, Sweden through 4-3 on aggregate.



    Lustig finished the game, which doubtless means we won’t see him on Satuday.

  11. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    Hopefully Janko will be fit by now leaving Mikel time to recover for next Thursday

  12. Gearoid, very well done and wear it with pride :-)


    Melbourne Mick and Paddymacoz, thanks to both for getting us all thinking Celtic


    How about the next time the 2 of you are oot oan the swally, you pick the best non British 11, and let’s see if we can get close


    Seen someone suggest it through last week, another wee bit fun



    Hail Hail

  13. Neilbhoy –



    I have Adblocker installed (free to download) so don’t get the extras that you do.

  14. What is the Stars on

    Neil bhoy


    The pop ups and ads for trending articles etc are based on your Internet search history.


    I get a lot of ads for high brow cultural events, opera,book launches etc.


    If you are getting boobs and bums. …well! !

  15. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    What’s wrong with Boobs and bums ?



    Or are we talking hunterlopers ?




  16. BT


    Janko been out injured this past month


    I see on CQN earlier they are saying Sunderland looking to get rid of Adam Mathews


    Would you take Adam back ?