Brian O'Neil (footballer, born 1972)

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Brian O'Neil
Personal information
Full name Brian O'Neil[1]
Date of birth (1972-09-06) 6 September 1972 (age 45)
Place of birth Paisley, Scotland
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1997 Celtic 119 (8)
1997 Nottingham Forest (loan) 5 (0)
1997–1998 Aberdeen 29 (1)
1998–2000 VfL Wolfsburg 50 (3)
2000–2003 Derby County 17 (0)
2003–2006 Preston North End 112 (5)
Total 332 (17)
National team
1996–2005 Scotland 7 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Brian O'Neil (born 6 September 1972) is a Scottish former professional footballer, who played as a defensive midfielder. O'Neil was forced to retire from the playing staff of Preston North End in October 2006, due to long standing injury problems.

Club career[edit]

Celtic[edit]

O'Neil started his career at Celtic, where he played 155 competitive games in almost every outfield position and scored 10 times. Highlights of his time at Celtic Park include scoring an injury time winner in October 1993 against Rangers at Ibrox[2] and an extra time winner against Aberdeen in October 1994 in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup.[3]

Nottingham Forest loan[edit]

In 1997, O'Neil was loaned out to Nottingham Forest but returned to Celtic after the end of the loan period after Nottingham Forest failed in bids to buy him at the end of the season.

Aberdeen[edit]

In 1997, Aberdeen agreed a fee of £850,000 for O'Neil. He played for them in 29 league games, scoring once, in a game against Dunfermline.[4]

Wolfsburg[edit]

O'Neil joined German club VfL Wolfsburg for £350,000 and spent two and a half successful seasons in the Bundesliga, during which time they qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history (they were eliminated by Atlético Madrid in the fifth round). O'Neil enjoyed cult status in Wolfsburg during his period there and remains a popular figure in the club's history.

Derby County[edit]

In November 2000, O'Neil returned to England to sign for Premiership club Derby County,[5] but six operations in two seasons limited him to 17 appearances. In November 2003, after a dispute with the club's chief executive, he was released from his contract.[6]

Preston North End[edit]

Following his release from Derby, O'Neil joined Preston North End. He enjoyed relative success with the Deepdale club, scoring 5 times in 110 games and becoming well-regarded by Preston supporters for his calm play and fine passing in the centre of the pitch. During his time at the club he helped Preston to the play-off final in 2005 only to lose to West Ham United. His final game for Preston was another play-off defeat, this time in the 2006 semi-final to Leeds United. O'Neil was subsequently injured and forced to retire the following season in October 2006.[7]

International career[edit]

O'Neil played for the Scotland U16 team in the 1989 FIFA Under 16 World Cup which was hosted by Scotland.[8] In front of a crowd of 28,555 at Tynecastle, in the semi-final against a Portugal team comprising future stars such as Luis Figo and Abel Xavier, O'Neil scored the only goal to take Scotland into the final.[9] Scotland drew 2–2 with Saudi Arabia after extra time in the final, and lost 5–4 on penalties.[10] O'Neil missed a penalty late on in the second half and then a penalty in the shoot-out.[11]

O'Neil played for his country seven times at senior level, making his debut in March 1996 in a 1–0 win over Australia at Hampden.[12] He won a recall to the squad after five years away for Walter Smith's Scotland squads in the early part of 2005.[13] He won what proved to be his last cap in August 2005, in a 2–2 draw against Austria.[14]

Post-playing career[edit]

In 2010, it was announced that O'Neil had signed up for Preston North End's team in the Masters Football Tournament in Liverpool. He played along with Sean Gregan, Lee Cartwright and Andy Fensome.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brian O'Neil". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 11 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "don't look back in anger". ntvcelticfanzine.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Celtic 1 - 0 Motherwell, Scottish League (29/08/2010)". Fitbastats.com. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dunfermline 3 - 3 Aberdeen". afcheritage.org. 14 March 1998. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "O'Neil joins Derby as Schnoor heads home". The Guardian. 13 November 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Bright, Richard (28 November 2002). "Derby let two more players go". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "O'Neil retires because of injury". BBC Sport. 6 October 2006. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "U16 World Cup Squad of 1989 Reunite". Scottishfa.co.uk. 24 June 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Paul, Ian (21 June 1989). "Young Scots through to final". The Glasgow Herald. p. 30. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Paul, Ian (26 June 1989). "Bright future despite the cup gloom". The Glasgow Herald. p. 22. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  11. ^ McGuigan, Shaughan (30 September 2011). "SCOTLAND, DESPAIR AND THE WORLD CUP FINAL". inbedwithmaradona.com. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Scotland Player Brian O'Neil Details". Fitbastats.com. 27 March 1996. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "WALTER SMITH NAMES SCOTLAND SQUAD FOR ITALY". www.scottishfa.co.uk. Scottish Football Association. 15 March 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Austria 2–2 Scotland". BBC. 17 August 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "O'Neil Is The Third Master". Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.