Martin O'Neill admits he aimed to win the Champions League during his time at Celtic

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

The former Celtic manager says he wanted to emulate the great Jock Stein by winning Europe's top honour.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

Former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill has told the Scottish Sun that he wanted to emulate the achievement of legendary boss Jock Stein by leading the club to Champions League glory during his time in Glasgow.

O'Neill's arrival at Parkhead in 2000 transformed the club from also-rans to the dominant force in Scottish football, and after a 12-year spell with just a single league title, the Northern Irishman led the Bhoys to seven trophies in five years.

However, the club suffered bitter disappointment on the European stage during his time, and suffered extra-time heartbreak against Porto in the 2003 UEFA Cup final.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill celebrates their UEFA Euro 2016 qualification after the match

O'Neill admits that loss in Sevilla was "sickening" but suggested that it only intensified his desire to lead the club to what would have been only a second ever European Cup.

The current Republic of Ireland boss told the Scottish Sun: "It was really sickening. Porto were a talented bunch, as they proved the next year by winning the Champions League, but we should have won that evening.

"At the time if I was going to leave Celtic, of course you’d leave for one of the top jobs but that honestly never burned inside me.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

"If anything, I wanted to win the Champions League with Celtic and to try and emulate what Jock Stein had done."

As it happens, Stein's class of 1967 remain the only Celtic side to taste European glory after the defeat to Porto, and O'Neill ultimately failed to lead the Bhoys out of the group stage in the Champions League.

That has since been achieved by Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon, but the Hoops have never progressed beyond the first knockout round of the Champions League in its current format.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill arrives for the press conference

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