Skip to content
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change your settings or learn more here.
OK
Martin O'Neill enjoyed great success with Celtic in Scotland and in Europe.
Martin O'Neill enjoyed great success with Celtic in Scotland and in Europe.
Image: John Walton

5 of Martin O'Neill's biggest games in management

Which games would you add to the list?
Jun 12th 2016, 8:47 AM 6,970 8

MARTIN O’NEILL COMES into Euro 2016 facing one of the biggest challenges of his career, as Ireland aim to make the knockout stages of the European Championships for the first time in their history.

These game — five of his most significant results — might give us some clue as to how O’Neill will take to tournament football.

1. Leicester City 1-0 Middlesbrough 

(League Cup final replay, 1997)

This fixture was the last time a League Cup final was decided by a replay, but as O’Neill has proved in the past, he is willing to bide his time in big matches if he feels it’s necessary.

The first game took place at Wembley but after a relatively drab 90 minutes, the tie was forced into extra-time where Fabizo Ravanelli gave Boro the lead. Emile Heskey popped up in the closing stages to force a replay however.

The second match was another cagey encounter, this time at Hillsborough, but once again 90 minutes couldn’t split the two teams.

Crucially, Leicester struck first to score for the only goal of the game, with Heskey’s strike partner Steve Claridge grabbing an extra-time winner to give O’Neill his first major trophy as a manager.

Source: Filbert Street/YouTube

2. Celtic 6-2 Rangers

(Scottish Premiership, 2000)

While both of the 1997 League Cup final matches had slow starts, O’Neill’s first Old Firm match was anything but dull – Celtic ripped apart the Rangers defence in the opening quarter of an hour scoring three goals, including Chris Sutton netting inside the first minute.

Celtic showed plenty of passion and demonstrated incredible intensity in their game with their Glasgow rivals unable to provide a suitable response.

It must be noted having the individual brilliance of Swedish striker Henrik Larrson no doubt helped O’Neill’s cause, with his incredible chip over Stefan Klos etched into the memory of every Celtic fan forever.

The 6-2 victory was Celtic’s biggest win over Rangers in over 40 years.

Source: MikesBhoy/YouTube

3. Rangers 5-1 Celtic

(Scottish Premiership, 2000)

Celtic came into the game 15 points clear of Rangers as O’Neill was enjoying an unbeaten start in the league.

But buoyed but the purchase of £12 million signing Tore Andre Flo from Chelsea, Rangers got instant revenge for their 6-2 demolition.

With the score at 1-1 with 30 minutes to go, Rangers bulldozed Celtic with four goals in the last half an hour with Flo getting his name on the scoresheet on his debut.

However, Celtic would go on to win the league in O’Neill’s first year in charge, preventing Rangers, albeit temporarily, from winning their 50th league title.

Source: therangers1872/YouTube

4. Celtic 2-3 Porto

(UEFA Cup final, 2003)

Celtic, backed by an astonishing 80,000 fans who travelled to Sevilla, failed to lift their first European trophy in 36 years after losing to Jose Mourinho’s Porto in the final of the UEFA Cup.

O’Neill’s side showed incredible spirit throughout the match to force extra-time with Henrik Larsson twice pegging the Portuguese champions back.

But a sending off for Celtic’s Bobo Balde’s proved crucial as Derlei snatched a late win for Porto in the additional period.

Source: basculacao/YouTube

5. Ireland 1-0 Germany

(European Championship Qualifier, 2015)

Ireland came into this fixture against the world champions without beating a top tier nation in a competitive game since defeating Holland in Lansdowne Road in 2001.

The reign of Giovanni Trapattoni made the team, and to by the end their supporters, feel like beating the best teams in the world was not possible for an Irish side that he felt lacked the skill and tactical nous to overcome world-class opposition.

But that all changed as Ireland shocked Germany to guarantee a play-off spot. Hard work, concentration and steely determination from the Boys in Green made the historic win possible.

O’Neill played a key part too, getting his tactics spot on as Ireland conceded possession to the Germans who were forced to, in the most part, shoot from distance.

He also opted to replace the injured Shay Given with the unproven Darren Randolph instead of David Forde midway through the first-half.

O’Neill then brought on Shane Long on from the bench to trouble a weary looking German defence for the two subs to combine to secure one of Ireland’s best-ever results.

Source: Red Devils/YouTube

 The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

‘I know of some people who won’t go into the ground, who stay on the concourse until the anthem is played’

7 emotions everyone stuck in work for Ireland v Sweden will feel

Send a tip to the author

Shane Costello

COMMENTS (8)

    Back to top