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Former Celtic managers sympathy for sacked Tony Mowbray

Former Celtic managers Gordon Strachan and Billy McNeill
Gordon Strachan and Billy McNeill said there is tremendous pressure at Celtic

Former Celtic managers Gordon Strachan and Billy McNeill have expressed sympathy for sacked boss Tony Mowbray.

Mowbray's last game in charge was Wednesday's 4-0 drubbing by St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League.

Strachan, now manager at Middlesbrough, said bosses were under greater pressure because of the media spotlight.

And McNeill said: "If you're getting some decent results then the Celtic fans will be there in their hordes. But if you don't you pay the penalty."

Strachan, who left Celtic last summer after guiding the club to three SPL titles in four seasons, said Rangers boss Walter Smith had given him an insight into the pressures of managing in Scotland's top flight.

"I had been away from Scotland for 20 years," said Strachan. "He said 'the whole thing, the media thing is absolutely brutal.'

"Now we've got internet chat rooms; everything can start rumours that you have to deal with, which we never had before and he said it's changed completely."

McNeill, who captained Celtic's European Cup winning side in 1967, conceded that the supporters were demanding.

He got rid of too many players too quickly

Paul Hartley
Former Celtic midfielder

"It's an exciting and fabulous job. Celtic are a terrific club and they've got fans who go a long, long way to support them," he said.

"And, if you're getting some decent results then they will be there in their hordes. But, if you don't, then you pay the penalty.

"I honestly think that the support is tremendous. There is no hiding place and I used to get letters from people giving me advice about what they thought should happen.

"You can't criticise the fans; they wanted you to be successful."

McNeill's fellow Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld thinks Mowbray will be "relieved" now that he is away from the spotlight in Glasgow.

"His heart didn't look in it," he explained on BBC Radio Scotland. "At Celtic you need passion and there was no passion in the dugout."

Referring to the 4-0 defeat in Paisley, former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie said: "I've never seen it so bad.

"I was one of those who wanted Tony Mowbray but it really hasn't worked out.

"He brought in players who just were not good enough for Celtic and I didn't buy all that talk of building for the future.

"He didn't move his family up to Glasgow. I think he realised after a short period that he was in it for the short-haul and that the job was too big for him."

Paul Hartley, who left Celtic Park as Mowbray arrived in the summer after two-and-a-half years at the club, was not surprised by the manager's exit.

"It's a results-based business," the Bristol City and Scotland midfielder told BBC Radio Scotland. "And the St Mirren game was the final straw.

"It's hard to find any positives. He got rid of too many players too quickly.

"The backbone of the side had been a lot of the Scottish lads but now there is no leadership on the park. The team looked desperate against St Mirren.

"Rangers haven't bought a player in 18 months and yet they could be 16 points clear if they win the games in hand."

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see also
Celtic part company with Mowbray
25 Mar 10 |  Celtic
Mowbray pays for attacking instinct
25 Mar 10 |  Celtic
Mowbray's Celtic reign in pictures
25 Mar 10 |  Scottish Premier
Under-fire Mowbray accepts blame
25 Mar 10 |  Celtic

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