O'Neill takes the blame for Celtic's exit from the Scottish Cup


INVERNESS: Celtic coach Martin O'Neill put the blame for his side's shock Scottish Cup loss on Sunday fairly and squarely on his shoulders. 

Celtic, on a high after their UEFA Cup triumph over Liverpool on Thursday, came back to earth with an enormous bump as Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat them 1-0 to dump them out of the Scotland's top Cup competition for the second time in three years. 

A Dennis Wyness strike on the stroke of half-time was enough to create the biggest upset in Scottish football since the Highlanders inflicted an identical humiliation on Celtic in February 2000. 

That defeat spawned the memorable Mary Poppins-inspired headline “Super Caley go Ballistic Celtic are Atrocious” and helped to bring down the curtain on the John Barnes-Kenny Dalglish managerial team at Parkhead. 

Their successor Martin O'Neill's position is not under threat after back-to-back titles and Celtic's run to their first European semi-final in 29 years. 

But he was bitterly disappointed with the result after making eight changes from the side that started in the 2-0 win at Anfield on Thursday. 

“It's totally and absolutely my responsibility, no doubt about it,” he said. 

“I'm not sure I wanted to take credit for Thursday night. It was a superb all-round performance from them in midweek. But this is my responsibility totally and always will be.” 

The home side refused from the outset to be intimidated by their illustrious visitors and were worthy of the shock lead they established a minute from half-time. 

Grant Munro picked out Richie Hart with a great ball and his cross was slid past the hand of stand-in goalkeeper Javier Sanchez Broto by Wyness from six yards. 

Celtic turned up a gear in the second period but some wasteful finishing and the resilient defending of the first division side combined to deny them an equaliser. 

Even John Hartson, the hero at Anfield on Thursday, was unable to turn the tide after being belatedly introduced by O'Neill. 

Inverness Calendonia Thistle now have a semi-final date with either Falkirk or Dundee. – AFP 

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