O'Neill insists move to Spurs is 'not an option'

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The Independent Football

Martin O'Neill appeared to have ended speculation by committing his future to Celtic and dismissing talk of a move to Tottenham - even though his basic wage at Parkhead is less than he was on at Leicester City.

O'Neill, who worked wonderw with a limited budget at Filbert Street, is exactly the kind of manager Spurs need, and admitted that he did meet their chairman, Daniel Levy, in the summer when Celtic returned home from Seville following their Uefa Cup final defeat against Porto. But the manager revealed that his secret assignation in London was to discuss Spurs' interest in buying Henrik Larsson and the up-and-coming striker Craig Beattie.

"The subject of a job for me at White Hart Lane was never discussed," O'Neill said. "There was a substantial amount of money offered for Craig but I turned it down. No concrete offer was made for Henrik, certainly not the £5m I have heard talked about.

"And I wan't interested in taking any kind of money for Henrik, in any case. I told David Pleat that I couldn't prevent them from making a bid for Henrik. But I also made it clear to David and Daniel Levy that, whatever they offered, I would recommend to the plc board that they reject the bid.

"I saw no advantage in taking the money for Henrik and running back to Scotland while thinking we had a good deal for a player who was going into the last season of his contract.''

But if anyone was still questioning his loyalty to Celtic after more than three years at Parkhead then they would be hard pushed to ignore his latest words. "I can't keep signing deals," O'Neill said. "I'd love to.

"If you tell me that the purpose of this is for me to get another 13 years at Celtic then I would be absolutely delighted. Then they have to bomb me for 13 years' money - wouldn't that just be sensational. Maybe I will go and sign a new contract tomorrow morning just to make sure of that.

"I don't earn as much as you think, believe it or not, and funny enough, I earned more at Leicester. In the summer time I was in bliss and I was perfectly happy. At this minute I am really happy and I hope I carry it into winter bliss and into January 2004.

"What else can I say? How many times can I say it? How many times do you want to ask the same thing? How many times do you want to be wrong? It's my turn again."