ALAN STUBBS was a record signing for Celtic when Tommy Burns shelled out £3.5million to buy him from Bolton in August 1996.
The Englishman is well aware of the importance of making a favourable first impression.
Unfortunately, for the centre-back, he saw red on his Premier League debut when the Hoops, who had been leading through a Pierre van Hooijdonk strike, had to rely on a late goal from Andreas Thom to snatch a point in a 2-2 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on the opening day.
The big-money signing was banished for a last man foul on Duncan Shearer in the 73rd minute. Making matters worse, referee Hugh Dallas also pointed to the penalty spot and the player who had just been downed got up and belted the award into the net.
HOW’S THAT FOR STARTERS…Moritz Jenz acknowledges the travelling Celtic support after the 3-1 win in Dingwall at the weekend.
The campaign limped to a disastrous trophyless conclusion when fans’ favourite Burns was sacked by Fergus McCann in the aftermath of a sensational Scottish Cup semi-final replay loss to second-tier Falkirk at Ibrox with three league games still to go.
Stubbs, who has managed Hibs, St Mirren and Rotherham, is confident new Bhoy Moritz Jenz will not suffer the same traumatic introduction to life as a Celt.
The 50-year-old Scouser, who left Parkhead at the end of his contract for boyhood favourites Everton in July 2001, watched the on-loan German central defender power in a superb header to put the champions back in the lead after Ross County’s Alex Iacovetti had cancelled Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener in Dingwall at the weekend.
Stubbs said: “It will certainly give Moritz belief. It is always, no matter who you are and how much you have been brought in for, a little amount or a large amount, important to settle as quickly as possible.
CHEERS AND TEARS…Moritz Jenz celebrates his debut goal as Ross County keeper Ross Laidlaw can only look back in anguish.
“That is the main thing when you join a new club. So, to score such an important goal can only do him a lot of good.
“We have seen players go to all kinds of different clubs and take time to settle in. Strikers always want to score that first goal and build momentum from there. But it is the same with all players.
“They want to start off with good performances and quickly endear themselves to the fans and he has certainly done that. It is a step in the right direction for him at the weekend. I am sure the manager will be hoping he can build on his start.”
Stubbs, speaking to the Glasgow Times, continued: “Debuts can make you and break you at a club. My debut was very eventful. There is nothing you can do sometimes when decisions go against you. That was a decision that went against me.
“But the most concerning thing is your performance. If you can get the right level of performances under your belt you go a long way to settling, feeling comfortable among the players and also gaining the respect of the players.
CONGRATS…Giorgos Giakoumakis, Callum McGregor and Josip Juranovic celebrate with new Bhoy Moritz Jenz.
“That is a big thing, as well, when you sign for a new club. Yes, you want to earn the respect of the fans, but you want to earn the respect of your fellow team-mates.
“Moritz did both and he will be a positive frame of mind now going into the Kilmarnock match at Rugby Park this Sunday.
“The players have all started the season off as well as they would have wanted. They got a good win at a difficult place on Saturday. Ross County have made huge strides under Malky Mackay and they made it difficult for large parts of the game.”
The following season, Stubbs was joined in the heart of the Hoops readrguard by Marc Reiper, bought from West Ham by new manager Wim Jansen, and he celebrated the title success that derailed Rangers’ bid for a historic 10 in a row.
He won a League Cup medal, too, when Henrik Larsson, Reiper and Craig Burley were on the mark to get the goals that mattered in the 3-0 silverware shoot-out with Dundee United at Ibrox.
HEAD BHOY…Alan Stubbs hovers above friend and foe to thump in a powerful effort for Celtic’s equaliser in a vital 1-1 draw with Rangers at Parkhead in November 1997.
Stubbs also finally claimed his breakthrough strike when he rose to head a Jackie McNamara right-wing cross beyond Andy Goram in the fading moments to give Jansen’s men a crucial point in a 1-1 draw with Walter Smith’s Ibrox outfit in November.
He added: “It took me a long time to score my first goal. When I did, it was a pretty important one. But I wasn’t brought to Celtic to score goals, I was there to try and help the team keep goals out and move in a different direction.
“But it certainly doesn’t do your cause any harm when you score important goals in big games.
“There can be a variety of reasons that you do not perform at your best when you join a club. It is true to say that Celtic fans didn’t see the best of me for some time. I had injuries and struggled for consistency.
“I would have loved to have hit the ground running, scored a goal on my debut and kept a clean sheet. That is the perfect scenario, but it doesn’t always work out like that.
HAIL, HAIL…Alan Stubbs races away in joy after his headed equaliser against Rangers with Andreas Thom about to join in.
“But in the end I had five really good, very successful years at Celtic and loved my time there.
“So it is not necessarily what you do at the beginning that counts, it is what you have done by the end when you look back.”
Ange Postecoglou now has an interesting decision to make before he announces his team to face Derek McInnes’ newly-promoted Ayrshire outfit at midday on Sunday.
Stephen Welsh, who scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Aberdeen on Flag Day at Parkhead, should be over his illness while Carl Starfelt, injured while playing for Sweden in the summer, will also be available.
Cameron Carter-Vickers is a certainty to start, so the Hoops boss must choose from Jenz, Welsh and Starfelt to see who takes on Killie.
All will be revealed!