Celtic were famously denied the title in the dying moments at Fir Park

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May 22nd 2005 is a date that few Celtic fans will ever be able to forget, try as they might.

The same is true of their manager Martin O’Neill, who has admitted he will never be able to get over that day’s defeat against Motherwell at Fir Park.

A late double from Scott McDonald, who would go on to join Celtic in 2007, meant O’Neill’s men were beaten to the title by Alex McLeish’s Rangers in dramatic fashion.

‘Helicopter Sunday’ remains one of Scottish football’s most talked about days, and O’Neill has now added to the discourse by aiming a dig at Hugh Dallas.

Why you'd be foolish to write Celtic off next season

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A Celtic fan hit Hugh Dallas with a coin during May 1999’s infamous ‘Shame game’ at Celtic Park, and O’Neill has suggested the incident played a role in his decision-making six years later.

Speaking on Go Radio, O’Neill said: “That game will go down as my absolute nemesis.

“First of all you should have had a men sent off after about 20 or 25 minutes over on the far side of the pitch. Hopefully it wasn’t you but you should have had a man off.

“Hugh Dallas was refereeing and Hugh was obviously reminding himself of some incidents that took place way back at Celtic where he had been hurt.

“So I think he decided that ‘I think I will give the benefit of the doubt to the Motherwell player’.

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“Gordon Marshall that particular day would have won the World Cup for you never mind anything else.

“Honestly. And then Rangers get a goal over at Hibernain and Hibs decide to play out the last 20 minutes as a 1-0 defeat because that was good enough for them to get into Europe.

“Listen, I can’t blame anyone else. I blame ourselves. We missed chances and Marshall was brilliant. I will never get over it.

“I will never get over it, as you can tell.”

The Northern Irishman left Celtic shortly after and went on to manage Aston Villa, Sunderland, the Irish national team and Nottingham Forest.

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