John Hartson tells all about Martin O'Neill criticism

By David Walton

November 27, 2018

John Hartson has revealed the incredible criticism he once received from Martin O’Neill.

This comes as he was discussing the return of Leigh Griffiths to the side at the weekend. Griffiths marked his return with a powerful free-kick at Hamilton to seal a 3-0 win for the Hoops.

The former Hibernian forward has certainly had his falling outs with club hierarchy in the past. He and manager Brendan Rodgers have also been involved in altercations in the past.

Martin O’Neill and John Hartson have a terrific relationship (Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Hartson used the situation to bring up a time at Celtic when heroic former manager O’Neill went through him. Speaking in the Evening Times, Hartson relived old memories.

“I remember one day being berated by Martin O’Neill at Celtic.

“He said to me, ‘You know, John, we are playing a game called football. Sometimes, maybe just every now and then, you actually have to run. You might want to move. Do you know why I took you off? Because you hadn’t moved for 20 minutes…’

“What do you say to that?”

Never Hartson’s game

Getting up and down the pitch was never Hartson’s game, but he could be frustrating to watch at times too. It appears that O’Neill occasionally felt the same way during his Celtic career.

Regardless, Hartson left as a big club hero, and remains well thought of at Parkhead these days. The big Welshman managed to fire home 109 goals for the club between 2001 and 2006.

Brendan Rodgers and Leigh Griffiths have had their disagreements in the past (Michael Molzar/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Griffiths has also soared past the ton this season after goals against Suduva in Europa League qualifying. Despite that, he still gets his fair share of criticism from the manager and supporters.

Considering the fact that Hartson had the same problem with his manager at Celtic on occasion, Griffiths should take solace from the fact that bigger legends than him have been taken apart by their managers in the past.

Hartson was part of the famous Celtic side to reach the UEFA Cup final in Seville back in 2003. This reveal from him, however, is a timely reminder that nobody is safe from a manager’s wrath.