Irish manager Martin O’Neill has praised the turnout in Pairc Ui Chaoimh for Liam Miller’s testimonial saying the crowd “shows the esteem in which Miller was held in.”
O’Neill, who will be managing the Celtic/Republic of Ireland team in today’s game, was asked by the media about his memories of Miller whom he managed when he was at Celtic.
The former Bhoys boss spoke fondly of Miller, outlining how he was “very disappointed to see him leave” Celtic when Miller signed for Manchester United.
“I only think of Liam as a young lad playing with Celtic, he was there when I arrived at the football club, he was trying to break into the side.
“I remember him coming on as a sub in the Champions League against Anderlecht and then starting the next game against Lyon. I was very disappointed to see him leave and go to Manchester United.”
O’Neill was also keen to praise the turnout at the sold-out Pairc Ui Chaoimh, which he says is a testament to the kind of man Liam Miller was.
“I followed his career then from a real distance and unfortunately then I heard about his illness and I think the turnout today shows the esteem in which he was held and hopefully it’ll be a fantastic occasion.”
Former Celtic players, John Hartson and Stilyan Petrov were also in attendance at the press conference, and O’Neill praised his two ex-players who both went through off-field battles, similar to those of Miller.
“Well the two young men beside me here had those experiences and I think that’s the reason they’re here”, began O’Neill.
“John and Stilyan have fought incredible battles and I’ve the utmost for those people whose battles were excruciatingly difficult and they showed great courage and great determination to fight through and their efforts were just fantastic and that’s the reason they’re here today because of the incredible courage they showed.”
Kick-off in Liam Miller’s testimonial is 3 pm at Pairc Ui Chaoimh with the game being shown live on Virgin Media Three.