By James Black
Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has revealed that his Martin O’Neill was someone players “never got close to”.
Sutton was signed by O’Neill for £6million from Chelsea in 2000 after struggling to make an impact at Chelsea.
Sutton spent five years working under O’Neill and lifted three Scottish titles, three Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup together.
The BT Sport pundit admitted that despite the Northern Irishman’s stand-off nature, his players were willing to run through brick walls for him and hailed him as a fantastic motivator.
“You never quite knew where you were with Martin,” Sutton told the Irish Independent, as quoted on their website.
“Players never got close to him, but he was always fair with you if a problem came up or a decision was made that went against you.
“Just look at the record this guy has for lifting players in big games. He can get a group of footballers who may not be the best in the world and get them winning matches they have no right to win.
“He can get a group of footballers who may not be the best in the world and get them winning matches they have no right to win.
“We saw that time and again with Celtic and now he is doing the same with Ireland. It is no
“It is no coincidence. His methods work, even if some players don’t quite know how they work.”
O’Neill is now Republic of Ireland manager and has led his side to a World Cup playoff and also managed the Irish at last year’s European Championship in France.
Despite taking the Irish to their third European Championship since the tournament began in 1960, there were murmurs of discontent amongst fans as the qualifying campaign for the World Cup looked set to end in failure before Monday’s win over Wales.
Since leaving Celtic in 2005 to care for his sick wife, O’Neill had spells with Sunderland and Aston Villa before taking the Ireland post in 2013.
The 64-times capped Northern Ireland international now stands on the brink of leading Ireland to their first World Cup since 2002.