OWEN COYLE has opened up about the fateful phone calls which lead to him accepting the Celtic manager’s job and then ultimately turning it down.
Coyle, who is now out of football after an ill-fated stint with Ross County has come clean on the conversations that went on behind the scenes in the immediate aftermath of his Burnley side winning promotion to the Premier League.
Celtic were in transition and needed a new manager after Gordon Strachan left the Parkhead hot seat and like all managerial appointments since Martin O’Neill – they all have to go through majority shareholder Dermot Desmond.
The Irish Billionaire has the final say on who comes in to manage Celtic and it’s then up to Peter Lawwell to do the deal.
Having watched Coyle take Burnley from Championship no-hopers to Premier League promotion, Desmond made the call and Coyle responded positively.
“I spoke to Dermot (Desmond), Peter (Lawwell) and John Reid. He was chairman at the time.” Coyle told SunSport.
“I’ve got to say I went in there and I thought that was it.
Listen, I’m Celtic through and through that will never change.
“We chatted for about an hour and Dermot came back and said ‘Listen Owen I want to offer you the chance to manage Glasgow Celtic.’ And I said ‘yeah, yeah I’ll take it.’
“I was like a little boy again. It was my team and everything else.
“He (Dermot) said great, obviously we need to speak to Burnley and see what happens from there.
Coyle then started to get cold feet and obviously had people at Burnley in his ear. The chance to manage in the Premier League became as much of a pull as managing his boyhood heroes.
The manager admitted the emotional torment he felt and the phone call where he turned down the Celtic job is something that still stays with him.
“When you are a coach or a manager that is the team you love, that’s the team you want to be involved with.
“But I was in the best league in the world. I was in the Premier League and I was going to be playing against Chelsea, Manchester United and everything else that goes with it.
“I was at a really good club with good people and I had to be fair with that as well.
“Ultimately when we came back we had to go through all of that and I remember ringing Dermot on the Wednesday night. I think it was the Champions League Final in Rome.
“I can’t say I wasn’t emotional because I was.
“I said I never ever thought I would utter these words but I can’t take the job.”
Dermot Desmond then turned to Tony Mowbray for the Celtic hot seat. Mowbray didn’t last the season at Celtic and caretaker boss Neil Lennon stepped in; the rest is, as they say, as history.