Scottish Cup final: County loss had Mjallby fretting

Johan Mjallby: Cup winner and loser. Picture: PA
Johan Mjallby: Cup winner and loser. Picture: PA
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JOHAN Mjallby was convinced a ­Scottish Cup shocker had cost him his Celtic dream job.

The Celtic assistant manager believed the 2-0 semi-final nosedive against Ross County in 2010 would see him forced out of the club.

He said: “That was a terrible result and I have to admit I didn’t think I would be staying at Celtic after it.

“Neil Lennon had phoned me only a few weeks beforehand to see if I would come back and help him. To be ­honest, I didn’t even know Tony Mowbray had been sacked. Neil got in touch, ­explained the situation and gave me ­exactly one minute to make up my mind. I didn’t hesitate when I said I would immediately return to Celtic.

“However, football can be a harsh game and when we lost 2-0 to Ross County in the Scottish Cup semi-final I thought that was it over. Thankfully, though, the board had seen enough in our league games – I think we won all eight – and they decided to give Neil and myself another chance.

“I am aware, though, that it could have been quite different. I was ­gobsmacked when I first arrived ­because the place was so down. That was not the Celtic I knew. There is not a lot you can do when you ineherit someone else’s players. However, we were given the summer to work on the squad, make changes and attempt to put a smile on the place again.”

Mjallby played his last game for Celtic in the 3-1 Scottish Cup final triumph over Jimmy Calderwood’s Dunfermline in 2004, where they had gone in at half-time 1-0 down. And he called for these players to show the same commitment.

Mjallby said: “Thankfully, I have had the luxury of winning trophies and that is an unforgettable feeling.

“I hope the players enjoy the ­occasion and don’t say to themselves afterwards: ‘Could I have done better?’”