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“I WAS LAST IN THE NOU CAMP DRESSING ROOM, THE LADS CHEERED ME IN,” DAVID MARSHALL

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Our next guest for our #10IAR feature is former Celtic Goalkeeper David Marshall.

David spent 5 years at Celtic and just like our previous guest Massimo Donati, Marshall is probably a guy that we’d have liked to have seen stay around for a much longer period. He is a top, top goalkeeper as he proved when he went on to leave Celtic.

Celtic historian David Potter in his excellent book, Celtic’s Goalkeepers noted:

“David Marshall was goalkeeper of whom it was felt that Gordon Strachan made a mistake in offloading, particularly when one considers his subsequent career with Norwich City, Cardiff City and Scotland, for whom he has excelled. He had one particularly brilliant performance against Barcelona in the Nou Camp in March 2004, and he also won a Scottish Cup medal that year.”

Marshall seems like he’s been around forever and it’s pretty hard to believe that he’s only 32 still. He is currently at Hull City.

As always Scott Alcroft asks the #10IAR questions…

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What can you remember about the day of your full debut for Celtic?

I played in a few testimonials down at Wycombe and at home to Feyenoord. These at the time I counted as my debut! No one could take away I had played for Celtic’s first team! I especially remember Van Hooijdonk scoring a free kick against me in that game. I remember Lambo telling me where it is was going to go as he stood in the wall but I couldn’t gamble as didn’t want him to score on my side of the goal. I should have listened to Lambo! As a kid I was at Hampden when Van Hooijdonk scored that header in the 1995 cup final so these games for me were huge at the time. I’ll never forget them.

Who was your biggest influence at your time with Celtic?

Terry Gennoe without a doubt. Terry joined the club and set about producing a specialised training schedule for the young goalkeepers which took place 2 nights a week at Barrowfield. I must have been around 12 when I started with Terry. He was first team coach also so looking back at what he set up and the time he put into the young gks at the club I think you’d struggle to find someone doing that now. I wouldn’t have played for Celtic without Terry, no doubt about it. He’s helped through in his time, Shay Given, Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Fraser Forster, Tim Flowers, Michael McGovern, Brad Guzan and that’s only off the top of my head. It’s crazy to me he’s not involved in football just now. Looking back he was so far ahead of his time and I can’t thank him enough.

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Who were the characters in the dressing room? Any funny stories?

There were huge characters in the club. Chris Sutton always made me laugh as you can see on BT! Hard to pick out stories as some might be a bit dodgy for print! Big Bobo Balde going mental after we lost at home to Hearts and Thommo hiding in his locker until the big man had been settled down is hard to forget!

The Barcelona games!! So, the first leg gets to half-time and Rab Douglas gets sent off in the tunnel. What happened in that dressing room after that? What was going through your head?

I was warming up at half-time on the pitch and I saw Terry running across towards us. I just assumed he was going to tell one the lads that they were going on. When he told me I just thought, better get ready! A million things are going through your mind at that stage but I don’t remember being in the dressing room before going out. I remember Thommo’s goal and thinking I can’t celebrate here, I need to keep calm and I remember chipping the ball over someone’s head, that’s about it!

The second Leg!! Still to this day, I haven’t seen a better 90 minute performance from a Celtic goalkeeper. What can you remember about that day and the aftermath?

I can remember most of that one. Firstly I remember the rain storm that started battering down when we left for the stadium. Not ideal conditions for a goalie. The save in the first couple minutes was perfect for me as it’s good to get a touch early doors and settle nerves. It was then just a case of hanging on really. Being honest I think we all thought we’d concede a goal but hopefully nick one. But we managed to pull through. The feeling at the end was the best I’ll probably ever feel on a pitch. I was in the dressing room last and the lads cheered me in. Again, I’ll never forget that. Arriving back in Glasgow was just mayhem. In those days we’d change at Celtic Park for training and drive along to Barrowfield, so the day after the game we trained in the afternoon and it must have took me half an hour to get from the main reception to my car with all the fans there. I had loads of press outside my house when I drove back from training the so had to go to my grans till they all left! Incredible experience. Then we played Rangers 3 days later!

We played Barcelona yet again in September of the same year (2004). You saved a penalty from the best player on the planet at that time (Ronaldinho). Were you confident you’d save it and did he say anything to you after the game about it?

As a goalie you’re always confident for penalties. Standing there I just thought that it’s Ronaldinho, he ain’t going to pass it in the bottom corner! He’s better than that! So I gambled he’d go high and it luckily worked out. We still went onto lose the game though so it wasn’t as enjoyable after.

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Sorry but we need to mention it. Artmedia Bratislava!! Did you feel like you got made a scapegoat with conceding 5 goals in the 1st leg and that your Celtic career never really recovered after that?

Yes and no. I remember speaking to Gordon when he was going to put Artur in for the return leg. He said he didn’t feel I’d done anything wrong but we were conceding goals. 5 in Bratislava and 4 at Motherwell. I’m honest enough if it’s my fault but I knew I wasn’t playing badly, but a team can’t concede 9 in 2 games and a goalie not come under pressure. I did think then that I was seen as a youngish goalie though and not trusted enough, which was probably fair. I don’t think I’d have been dropped now with my experience if I’d given the same performances.

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Was Gordon Strachan honest with you when he brought in Artur Boruc and did you know then that your time with the club was up?

Artur was only signed as a 6 month loan initially. Big Rab and Magnus Hedman had left so the only gks at the club were myself and Michael McGovern. I felt ready to be No.1 then. When Arthur signed I thought that signing him on loan gave me confidence that I would play. I do remember the night before the Bratislava game in training. The team hadn’t been decided and we played a little 10v10 game. Me and Artur must have made 20 saves each in 10 mins! We were both desperate to play. Unfortunately the 2 games never worked out for me but for 18 months Artur was the best goalkeeper I have played with. He was incredible I thought. For me he could have played for anyone in the world he was that good.

Since you’ve left Celtic, have the club ever tried to get you back at any time with your form down in England?

No, since I’ve left I’ve never had any contact about coming back.

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Finally David, what do you think of this current Celtic side? Do you still get up for games and what do you think of the job Brendan Rodgers is doing?

The current side have been brilliant. Obviously the record speaks for itself and it was incredible that they managed to get to 69 games undefeated. I think the way the team plays is the most enjoyable part of it. I really hope they can go far in the Europa League as they deserve a good run and they could surprise people by how far they could go. I’ve managed to get to Ibrox for a few derbies, nothing better than beating them there! I was also at Man City in the Champions League last season as I don’t live too far from Manchester. My dad and brother are still season ticket holders.

Good luck with the rest of your career David,  and hopefully we’ll see you at Celtic Park for games in the future with your Dad and brother cheering on the Bhoys. HH

Thanks and HH.

Interview by Scotty Alcroft for CQN Magazine

@Sco2hot

#10IAR

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