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Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 17:10 GMT
Barnes bouncing back
John Barnes
Barnes refuses to look back with regrets at Celtic
John Barnes tells BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty he has no regrets about his short-lived term as Celtic boss - claiming it has prepared him for his return to football.

John Barnes could be forgiven for keeping his distance from football management after his first experience ended in the sack after seven months at Celtic.

But Barnes has turned what many would regard as a trauma on its head - insisting it has sharpened his appetite for a return to football management.

Barnes received much sympathy when he was dismissed as Celtic Head Coach after a Scottish FA Cup defeat against Inverness Caledonian at Parkhead last season.

It was felt Barnes has been sacrificed by Celtic - but also that he had jumped in too deep in taking one of the biggest jobs in football for his first shot at the management.

Barnes rejects suggestions he was let down by Celtic's Director of Football Kenny Dalglish as he suffered in silence - and claims the whole affair will make his future football life easier.

John Barnes
Barnes gets message across
He told BBC Sport Online: "Celtic wasn't a traumatic experience. There was nothing to recover from, nothing that happened that made me feel I should take time out from football.

"I lost my job but it wasn't traumatic. The desire hasn't gone and my confidence has not gone. I have got no doubts about myself.

"We were six points behind Rangers when I left, but unfortunately that's failure in Scotland. We were already in the semi-final of a competition Rangers were out of, a cup we eventually went on to win.

"Unfortunately there were not enough people backing me or who believed in me, and my position was undermined.

"It has not made me want to get out of football. If I could have gone straight back in I would - and still will."

Barnes points to the broken leg suffered by brilliant Swede Henrik Larsson as the turning point of his Celtic reign.


There was nothing to recover from, nothing that happened that made me feel I should take time out from football
  John Barnes
Larsson broke his leg against Lyon and Barnes said: "It was a big factor. It deflated the whole club. I didn't come out and say that we couldn't beat Rangers because Henrik Larsson had broken his leg, because that would have undermined the situation even more.

"I still had to say we could beat Rangers, but he was a big loss for us, as well as Paul Lambert. We had a disastrous November when we lost our two best players, and it was all downhill from there."

Barnes sprang to the defence of his mentor Dalglish, who was recently portrayed as pointing the finger at his Head Coach over signings.

He explained: "I spoke to Kenny before and after this. I knew that was the spin that would be put on his comments. I was disappointed because I knew that would be the interpretation.


I don't regret Celtic at all, because I look at any other club I go to now and think it will be a piece of cake compared to the goldfish bowl of Glasgow
  John Barnes
"Kenny said that as the manager, of course the signings were mine. He said I decided how they trained, when they trained and who came in - that's what managers do.

"He was not saying anything in a detrimental way.Kenny supported me at Celtic and afterwards." Barnes is now ready to return at the first suitable opportunity - convinced he will be a better manager for the Celtic affair.

Henrik Larsson
Larsson breaks leg
He said: "I don't regret taking such a big job first. It was the opportunity that was offered to me, and there was nothing else on the table.

"I don't regret it because I look at any other club I go to now and think it will be a piece of cake compared to the goldfish bowl of Glasgow.

"It will be a good learning curve for me to start at a club like Celtic, because anything after that is a bed of roses.

"It doesn't have to be a big job I come back for, and it probably won't be a big job. I love football, I want to be in football, and if you want to be involved you can't pick or choose.

"Big clubs that have got ambition and want to spend money are few and far between. You have to take whatever comes up and what is suitable."

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20 Feb 01 |  Football
Burchill is Ipswich-bound
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