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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
O'Neill snubbed Tottenham top job
Former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
Former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill says a desire to win the Scottish Premier title back from Rangers stopped him joining Tottenham two years ago.

O'Neill recently stepped down from the Parkhead hot-seat for family reasons.

He told the Scotsman: "Rumours were abounding that it was time to go and Spurs were strongly on the case.

"But as things unfolded, I just wanted to regain the championship, I didn't want to leave here with that disappointment around the place."

Despite reaching the Uefa Cup final in 2003, Celtic failed to win any of the four trophies they competed for that season.

O'Neill said: "It was an extraordinary, fantastic year, one that everybody will keep talking about - yet we ended up without a trophy.

"But we came back the following season and made sure we did it," said O'Neill who leaves the task of wrestling the title back from Rangers next season to Gordon Strachan.

Within a year or two in the Premiership, Celtic would be a major, major player
Former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill

O'Neill said: "I've already said that my regret about leaving now is that I won't have the opportunity to come back next season and get it back again.

"Two years ago, I also wanted another crack at the Champions League, especially if we could improve the team and push on to a higher level."

O'Neill also claimed only a move to the Barclay's Premiership would realise Celtic's potential.

He said: "Celtic are a massive club and because of the financial handcuffs of playing in the SPL, they're not realising their potential.

"We could go straight to 85,000 capacity overnight with 80,000 season ticket holders.

"Within a year or two in the Premiership, Celtic would never be a bit player, but a major, major player.

"If you take the present 70m turnover and simply add the 25m they would get from domestic TV alone in England it would put us up there immediately with Arsenal, behind only Manchester United and Chelsea."


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