not a member? click here to sign up

Martin O’ Neill for Liverpool

Celtic’s loss will be Anfield’s gain, says Tony Cascarino.

Tony Cascarino, 16 Jan 2004



I don’t want to upset Celtic fans but I think it’s a done deal that as soon as the right job comes along Martin O’Neill will quit Celtic.

Any reservations he had about heading back to the Premiership would have gone out the window when Liam Miller signed his pre-contract deal with Manchester United.

The 3-1 beating of Anderlecht aside, Celtic were poor in the Champions League this season and they’re going to be even poorer next year minus their best young player. Add in Henrik Larssson leaving and the possibility of John Hartson and Chris Sutton going with him, and Martin will be thinking, “Hang on, we’re going backwards here!”

It’s not just Manchester United that they can’t compete with – given a choice between the SPL and even a struggling Premiership side, quality players are going to go for the English option. If it was 60,000 fans every week like in the Old Firm games, fine, but it’s hard to get excited about away trips to Dunfermline and Motherwell. It’s like playing non-league matches – in fact, you probably get bigger crowds at Hereford and Exeter than you do at Partick Thistle. Players love the buzz and the atmosphere, which is distinctly lacking in all but a couple of Scottish grounds. When I was at Celtic, I found motivating myself week in, week out very hard. John Hartson and Chris Sutton might be different, but I pined for the old Division One the entire time I was up there.

Celtic’s loss will very likely be Liverpool’s gain. They’ve had a couple of okay results recently, but I’m not convinced that the players are 100% behind Gerard Houlier. Even if they qualify for the Champions League – and it’s a big if – I don’t think there’s any chance of Michael Owen hanging around while Houlier’s still in charge. I was at Fratton Park when they got spanked by Portsmouth and I’m telling you, not in a million years will that squad of players win or even challenge for the title.

The biggest load of rubbish I’ve heard recently is somebody saying, “The way Martin O’Neill plays isn’t the Liverpool way.” Do Liverpool have a way at the moment? Against Rangers the other day, Celtic were getting the ball out wide and crossing into the box which is precisely what Liverpool need at this moment in time. Yes, it’s nice to play lovely football but you’ve got to be able to mix it and Celtic have a robustness about them which is lacking at Anfield.

If Martin O’Neill’s able to turn mediocre players into good ones, what’s he going to be like with Stephen Gerrard and Michael Owen? If I was a Liverpool supporter, I’d almost be hoping that they don’t fourth place because then they’ll be stuck with Houlier for another season.

As for Liam Miller, I think he’s a good attacking midfield player who’ll benefit enormously from the company he’ll be keeping at Old Trafford. Man U have him on a free, so really they can’t lose.

Down south, the crisis at Chelsea appears to be over! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that their dip in form coincided with Damien Duff dislocating his shoulder. Duff’s their most expensive player but also their best value.

People say they’ve dropped too many points to win the title, but they’re home to Arsenal and away to Manchester United – win those two and they’re right back in it.

As I’ve said before, if Roman Abramovich has another £20 or £30 million spare he could do with bringing in a world-class centre-half. As it is, they don’t really have anyone who can head the ball which means they struggle when teams whip it in from out wide.


Page 1/2     <Previous 1 2 Next> 


Related Content

Latest Articles by Tony Cascarino

Why Fergie needs another Roy Keane

Man Utd’s weakness in midfield was ruthlessly exposed by Barcelona in the Champions League final.


09 Jun 2009

Smells like team spirit

As all the major competitions are drawing to a close – and bearing in mind the bewildering choice of Ryan Giggs as PFA Player of the Year – I thought now would be an opportune moment to select my team of the season. So, let’s take a look at the candidates for goalkeeper. When Shay Given has lined out for Man City he’s done very well, but he’s not played enough football overall – he had a few injuries early on in the season when he was still with Newcastle.


11 May 2009

Red reversal?

In light of some recent shock results, could Liverpool be set to overturn Manchester United’s title lead? It’s unlikely – but the way things have been going recently, nothing can be ruled out. Meanwhile, Ireland are improving steadily under Trap – and we’re well-positioned ahead of two crunch qualifiers


30 Mar 2009

In defence of Ashley Cole

Our columnist feels that the press furore over Ashley Cole’s recent arrest was much ado about nothing. Plus: an assessment of Brian Clough’s legacy ahead of the release of The Damned United.


24 Mar 2009

The case against Keano

While Roy Keane maintains his Stadium of Light exit was the fault of new Sunderland owner Ellis Short, a quick look at Roy’s track-record speaks for itself


05 Mar 2009

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Email:info@hotpress.ie

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540