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The BBC's Roddy Forsyth
"Martin O'Neill has resigned as manager of Leicester City"
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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Celtic win O'Neill tussle
Parkhead doors
Parkhead's doors are finally opening for O'Neill
Celtic are set to announce on Thursday that Leicester manager Martin O'Neill is their new boss.

After a nervous 48 hours for the Parkhead side, when Leicester chairman John Elsom held further talks with O'Neill in a last-ditch attempt to keep him, Celtic are set to get their man.

It is believed both Leicester and Celtic, who are both plcs, will make a statement to the Stock Exchange on Thursday to announce the decision.

Both clubs had refused to comment on Wednesday about O'Neill's plans but he is understood to have met Leicester officials to tell them of his decision to become Celtic's new manager.

Martin O'Neill
O'Neill: Influenced by Europe
O'Neill said the lure of managing the Scottish giants was too much to turn down.

It appears he has been tempted to take on the challenge of trying to overturn Rangers' dominance north of the border.

The added attraction of the Champions' League must have helped sway O'Neill's decision to end his four-and-a-half year tenure at Leicester to become John Barnes' successor.

The top two teams in the Scottish Premier League next season will both go into the Champions' League and Celtic will hope to qualify as champions.

There are rumours a number of Leicester stars, including Scottish international Matt Elliott and Neil Lennon could join him at Celtic.

Elliott said: "I don't know what effect this will have on my career. Only time will tell.

"I've been mentioned in reports that Celtic would be interested in bringing me up here."

Celtic are a massive club and players would be interested in playing for them but I don't really want to go into that just in case Leicester get the wrong end of the stick

Matt Elliott

"If there are any indications as to the future and what is going to happen, then you would have to talk to Martin O'Neill."

O'Neill, a former Northern Ireland skipper, has stayed loyal to the Foxes in the past when a target for Everton and Leeds.

Major power

But he may have found the challenge of trying to help Celtic again become a major power in Scotland impossible to turn down.

While it will be a major boost for Celtic, it is a massive blow to Leicester, who have enjoyed their most successful season under O'Neill, finishing eighth in the Premiership, winning the Worthington Cup and qualifying for next season's Uefa Cup.

O'Neill still has two years to run of his current deal, and the Foxes will demand about 1m in compensation for the remainder his contract.

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See also:

10 Feb 00 | Scotland
Celtic chief plans 'full review'
03 Mar 00 | Scotland
Caley facing 2m debt
10 Feb 00 | Scotland
Barnes forced out
09 Feb 00 | Scotland
Caley win amongst cup upset greats
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