MARTIN O’Neill’s man management is renowned in football.

The Northern Irishman has always got the very best out of his players during his long and hugely successful career in the dugout and has frequently overachieved with the resources at his disposal.

But his pre-match Celtic pep talk ahead of the League Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden back in 2001 – a bad-tempered encounter that ended in red cards and chaos – left Jonathan Gould reeling.  

Glasgow Times:

“I remember it vividly,” said former Scotland goalkeeper Gould as he looked back on a derby match that took place 20 years ago this month. “Martin had brought Rab Douglas in from Dundee that season and I had probably gone a couple of months without playing a game of football.

“It was important that the kids coming through in the under-21s played and we had some good young goalkeepers at the time. So I just trained.

“I can remember being in the changing room at Hampden before kick-off. Martin kind of looked at me. He had selected me because Rab was cup tied. He turned to the rest of the lads and said: ‘It will be worth giving Gouldy an early touch . . . because clearly he’s going to be rusty’.

Glasgow Times:

“You’re about to go out and play in an Old Firm game in front of 50,000 fans and victory could lead to a potential treble! I don’t think he put me at ease! But he certainly made the lads realise that they might need to do a bit of work for me.

“As it was, that wasn’t the case. We played really well that night. Chris (Sutton) scored early on and Henrik (Larsson) got a double. Jorg Albertz scored a penalty for them. But apart from that I don’t think I had a great deal to do. We won it comfortably.”

Glasgow Times:

The simmering tensions between the two city rivals boiled over at the end of that Old Firm game – Neil Lennon’s first as a Celtic player – and referee Willie Young ended up sending off Lubomir Moravcik, Claudio Reyna and Michael Mols amid ugly scenes.

Slovakian playmaker Moravcik was a supremely talented player who was and still is adored by fans of the Parkhead club – but Gould recalls how his old team mate had steel as well as skill.

READ MORE: Jonathan Gould on the managerial dark horse he believes could emulate Wim Jansen and Martin O'Neill at Celtic

“You might think Lubo was the last person in the world who would get sent off,” he said. “But he was feisty, trust me. He wanted to win every game. That is what made him such a great player – that determination to win a game of football.

“On that night that got the better of him. He was a strong character who was not to be underestimated.”

Glasgow Times:

Celtic would go on to win their first treble in 32 years that season and Gould, who played in 24 games in all competitions, believes their performances against Rangers were key to their achievement.

But he also feels O’Neill must take enormous credit for their clean sweep of domestic silverware.

READ MORE: Why Celtic need a new manager now if they want to reclaim the Scottish title from rampant Rangers next season

“There was nothing between the Glasgow teams at that time,” he said. “It sometimes came down to the Old Firm games. The 6-2 game (at Parkhead in August) was probably the turning point in where we felt we were as a group.

“It gave us the confidence we needed under Martin. But a lot of it came from him and the coaches he had around him as well, Robbo (John Robertson) and Steve Walford.”

Glasgow Times: