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My old boss deserves his day at Wembley

PUBLISHED: 15:15 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:39 02 July 2010

Paul Lambert, Norwich City manager

I was thrilled for my old Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, to see his Aston Villa team book their place at Wembley in the Carling Cup final. I was watching the semi-final, second leg against Blackburn on Wednesday night and what an amazing scoreline in such a crucial game.

I was thrilled for my old Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, to see his Aston Villa team book their place at Wembley in the Carling Cup final.

I was watching the semi-final, second leg against Blackburn on Wednesday night and what an amazing scoreline in such a crucial game.

Villa did not have a great start on the night but they played terrific stuff to win 6-4 and I'm delighted for my old boss, and for John Robertson and the rest of his management team. He has transformed that club since taking over, no two ways about that, and I'm sure he will not mind which of the Manchester clubs they meet in the final. Whoever it is, I wouldn't put it past Villa to win.

I owe Martin a big debt of gratitude for helping me make a start in coaching and management.

In my last season at Celtic, he knew I was planning to retire and he allowed me to travel to Germany, where I had spent a year playing for Borussia Dortmund, to complete my UEFA coaching qualifications.

I was away a good part of that season but he let me do it that way and he was brilliant with me.

The coaching qualification run by the DFB was really tough but it was a great experience and I met some tremendous people.

t Paul Lambert's weekly column appears in full in the Evening News every Friday

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