TONY MOWBRAY was given £3.8million – a substantial amount of money at the time – to spend on bringing striker Marc-Antoine Fortune to Parkhead in July 2009 as he prepared for his debut season as Celtic manager.

The club’s former centre-back had been impressed by the 28-year-old French star during his spell in charge at West Brom when he had the player on loan from AS Nancy.

Tall, lithe and powerful, Fortune certainly looked the part as the ideal attack leader. Some footage of his short spell at the Midlands club – five goals in 17 appearances – suggested the Hoops had landed the ideal frontman to kick-start a new era.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Tony Mowbray prepares to parade Marc-Antoine Fortune after his £3.8million arrival.

Alas, it turned out he was not a great goalscorer, but the scorer of great goals. And he just did not get enough of them – a mere 12 in 43 outings – before he was sold to the Hawthorns outfit In August the following year.

Fortune made his competitive debut in the 1-0 home first leg loss to Dinamo Moscow in a Champions League qualifier on July 29, but claimed a double in the 5-2 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead the following month.

The launch of his career in Glasgow was severely hindered when he was ruled out for two months with damaged knee ligaments.

The frontman came back and underlined his qualities with a remarkable goal in a 3-2 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park when he fired a devastating first-time drive high past helpless keeper John Ruddy to claim the points.

However, an incident in the 1-1 draw with Rangers at Parkhead at the start of January 2010 seemed to highlight his ill luck at the Hoops.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Marc-Antoine Fortune proudly holds his No. 10 Celtic shirt.

Fortune scored what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal which would have proved to be the winner, but it was mystifyingly disallowed by the referee. Countless replays failed to show there had been any infringement.

Mowbray was sacked following an unacceptable 4-0 loss to St Mirren in Paisley in March and successor Neil Lennon, after accepting the role on a initial caretaker basis, got the nod to continue on a permanent basis for the 2010/11 campaign.

He persevered with Fortune whose form had dipped alarmingly. The Frenchman played in a dreadful 4-0 defeat to Utrecht in a Europa League qualifier on August 26 and was sold to West Brom the following day.

He moved on to play for Doncaster Rovers, Wigan, Coventry City, Southend United and Chesterfield. There was also a switch to Belgian Third Division outfit La Louvière Centre before retiring in 2021 to become part of the club’s coaching staff.

Once again, it was a case of what-might-have-been for a player who arrived with a big-name reputation and left under a cloak of anonymity.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.

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