Iconic former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has explained he hasn’t been seen regularly at Celtic Park over the years for fear of encroaching on the men in the dugout, The Scottish Daily Mail reports (01/06 print edition, page 79).

O’Neill had a legendary stint as boss between 2000 and 2005, winning seven trophies including a domestic treble in his debut campaign.

He also famously led Celtic to the final of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup where we lost out to Jose Mourinho’s Porto.


Now, 20 years to the day since his appointment, O’Neill has declared he is ready to return to Celtic Park and watch matches as a spectator.

As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (01/06, page 79), he explained why he’s not taken the club up on previous invitations: “I always felt that I didn’t want to come up for fear that I was encroaching on the people who were in the job.

“I felt for a long time that the torch had passed and it was unfair to detract from that but like everyone else over these past few months stuck in the house with time to think, I am seeing things a little differently now.

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“I am not so much of that view now and I think I would certainly be up for coming back up for a game.”

O’Neill has taken part in charity matches and even returned to Celtic Park as Republic of Ireland boss, but it’d be great to see him up here for a competitive match in support of his former player Neil Lennon.

Lennon and O’Neill had an excellent relationship when the duo were at the club, something that has persisted down the years.

Celtic icons Martin O'Neill and Neil Lennon

Celtic icons Martin O’Neill and Neil Lennon / (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

No doubt the current boss would be delighted to welcome O’Neill to a big game in the future.

Fans would enjoy that too, especially if he allowed himself to take a bow before supporters prior to kick-off or at half-time.

Hopefully this is something we now see during the campaign for ten-in-a-row.

It would be fitting that the man who helped annihilate Rangers’ dominance in Scotland is recognised in a pivotal year.

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