John Hartson has shared the details of a speech by Martin O’Neill which inspired Celtic to a famous European victory, FourFourTwo reports.

Hartson has told of what O’Neill said to inspire the side ahead of the second leg of the 2003 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool at Anfield.

With the first leg a 1-1 draw, Liverpool were favourites going into the game. But that didn’t mean much to O’Neill, according to Hartson.

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“I can still hear Martin’s team talk”

“I can still hear Martin’s team talk now – he basically told us we had to leave everything on the pitch that night. He said “It’s do or die. You either go out there and stand up, or we fail and are out.” He inspired us to go and get that result” Hartson said, as quoted by FourFourTwo (November 2020, page 93).

Celtic ended up wining the game 2-0 in what has to go down as one of the best results in the Hoops’ European history.


Hoops boss must be influenced by former manager

Neil Lennon was in the Celtic dressing room that night. He played for the Hoops in the victory. It will be interesting to see if he ever adopts a similar approach in his management style. Lennon must be influenced by O’Neill, the pair worked together for years at Celtic and Leicester City.

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Martin O'Neill watches Celtic at Anfield in 2003

Martin O’Neill watches Celtic at Anfield in 2003 (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

Perhaps he did in his first spell as Hoops boss. Particularly when it looked like he could have got the sack after a poor run of results.

Things are a bit different now with the Hoops going for 10 in a row. However, the Celtic boss is still under pressure, especially after the recent loss to Rangers.

Maybe going into the games against Milan and Aberdeen Lennon will stress to the players just how important these games are for both him and the team. Any defeats would not mean the end for Lennon, but it would put him under an awful lot of pressure.

In other news, Scott Brown may have suffered an injury, but it’s not a serious one.

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