Celtic legend Martin O'Neill not ready to walk away from game just yet

By Euan Davidson

April 16, 2021

Celtic legend Martin O’Neill isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.

The 69-year-old was a European Cup Winner as a player, and has enjoyed a fantastic managerial career. Alongside successful spells at Leicester and with the Ireland national team, he was a legend at Celtic. Arriving after a period of despair around Paradise, O’Neill won a treble in his first season. He also took Celtic to their first European final since 1970, in the UEFA Cup.

Celtic, according to a report, actually sounded out O’Neill over a return to Paradise this season. Kieran Devlin of the Athletic reported: “the club approached former managers Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan about potentially taking over for the rest of the season, and both refused.”

In a webinar with Queen’s University Belfast, O’Neill said he had no plans to retire just yet. The Celtic offer will have been a tempting one. However, his last spell in management was an average time at Nottingham Forest, where he had thrived as a player.

O’Neill said [via The Sun]:

“I probably have hidden behind this pandemic and taken a break.

“But I don’t think you ever lose your enthusiasm for it.

“That enthusiasm I had for Gaelic football and football hasn’t really left, so I will have a little look at these things and see what develops.

“But I haven’t exactly gone into a cave yet, although who knows.”

Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill / (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Martin O’Neill could still do a job somewhere, even if it isn’t Celtic

It’d be hypocritical of this writer to suggest that hiring Martin O’Neill would be anything other than a regressive move for both parties. What O’Neill achieved at Celtic was incredible, and he’s still held in fantastic regard by supporters. To that end, there may be a bit of sideways-thinking about the prospect of the lovable manager coming back.

Certainly, there were hopes in some quarters that O’Neill and Roy Keane, his assistant with Ireland and Nottingham Forest, would come back to salvage this league campaign. Indeed, there was speculation, albeit short-lived.

Still very much an unofficial ambassador for Celtic, O’Neill has fought our corner over recent years. In March, he blasted the idea of a chasm between ourselves and Rangers. He’s also taken the likes of Kris Boyd to task, which is a job that certainly needs doing on a regular basis.

Whether we’ll see Martin O’Neill in a dugout again is unclear. Certainly, he’s still got the passion for it.

And for what it’s worth, we hope he comes back to football.

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