Martin O'Neill was FRIGHTENED by Celtic star after heated confrontation

Celtic managerial legend Martin O'Neill
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Martin O'Neill admits John Hartson once left him FRIGHTENED after the Celtic striker reacted angrily to being subbed off.

O'Neill spent five years at Parkhead and Welsh striker Hartson proved to be one of his top signings after shelling out £6million to land him from Coventry - just months after the big man failed a medical at Rangers. Hartson repaid O'Neill's faith in him by plundering more than a century of goals for the Hoops, cementing his place as a club legend.

But Treble-winning great O'Neill has told how Hartson blew his lid after being hooked early in a game - despite scoring the winning goal.

He told the Football Authorities Podcast: "I remember once I took John Hartson off in a game once. John was a really brilliant goalscorer for me. There’s no question about it.

"This was up at Celtic, but John was quite lazy as a player. I once said to John, ‘John get warmed up, you’re coming off.’ And he didn’t take too kindly to that comment. And I did take him off in a match in which he had scored, believe it or not, and scored the winning goal.

"But it was so early on in the game that John had disappeared by that time. So I took him off and he confronted me then. And that was a battle that I was certainly not going to win, I must admit if there had been a sort of a physical fight about it.

"But thankfully, John calmed down and apologised for his behaviour. We get on famously now but at that particular moment, I must admit, I was a bit frightened."