CELTIC great John ‘Yogi’ Hughes backed Neil Lennon in another CQN EXCLUSIVE yesterday.
Today, the legendary goalscorer who claimed 189 strikes for the Hoops has reminded the current players what it means to play for one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
Big Yogi said: “The biggest regret of my playing career was leaving Celtic at the age of 28 for Crystal Palace. I think it is well documented by now that I had to be practically dragged out the front door at Parkhead to get me removed from the premises!
“I didn’t want to go, plain and simple, but Jock Stein had made up his mind and that was time up for yours truly as well as Willie Wallace as we were packed off to the London club.
“Really, we had no say in the matter. Once Big Jock had made the decision there would be no use in trying to dissuade him from the notion that Celtic would be a stronger team without your presence.
“Listen, I do not expect players from other countries to understand what Celtic, as an institution, can mean to some people.
“I was born in Coatbridge and I was a Celtic fan. To be told they wanted to sign me was just astonishing. I had gained a bit of a reputation in schools football – at the same time as my wee mate Jimmy Johnstone – but there was only one club for me when I was at an age to sign forms.
“That is why it is sad to see some professionals using Celtic as a stepping stone.
“And I accept in today’s financial climate, clubs can spend more cash than Celtic to land players. Clubs with no standing even in their own country can come along, add an extra zero to a contract and the player comes off Celtic’s radar.
“However, that’s the way it is at the moment. Some day that will possibly change. Until then, we must all pull together and the players who are given the opportunity to wear that green-and-white hooped shirt should be aware of the opportunity they are being gifted.
“Celtic players should be proud of that fact and act accordingly and give their all when they are on that football field.”
* TOMORROW: Big Yogi continues his EXCLUSIVE look at Celtic 2020/21.