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Football: Lambo: O'Neill's a genius like old boss Hitzfeld.

Byline: By MICHAEL BAILLIE

CELTIC club captain Paul Lambert has hailed Martin O'Neill as a managerial genius.

He paid the departing boss a huge compliment by comparing him to Ottmar Hitzfeld, who Lambo enjoyed Champions League success with at Borussia Dortmund.

Lambert, who will also leave the club after this weekend, would love to see the Irishman go having savoured further Scottish Cup success against Dundee United at Hampden.

He said: "Martin has been terrific for this club along with John Robertson and Steve Walford. He's been the most successful manager since Jock Stein and as good as Ottmar Hitzfeld - and Ottmar was an absolute genius.

"After the events of this week, emotions will come to a head at the end of Saturday's game.

"It's important we try to win for the boss, Wally and Robbo."

Lambert said ex-Aberdeen and Scotland star Gordon Strachan, who will replace O'Neill, will be under no illusion about what it entails.

He said: "He's played here and knows you must win every game. He had a great playing career and had great success as a manager in England and he'll try his utmost to give the fans what the manager did before him. My best wishes go to him."

He added: "What's happened has been tough for everyone.

"First we lose the league then the manager goes - but the club will always be here."

CAPTION(S):

WIN CUP FOR O'NEILL: Lambert
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 27, 2005
Words:237
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