SWISS international defender Stephane Henchoz was brought in by Martin O’Neill in a six-month loan from Liverpool on January 28 2005.

The versatile back-four operator, who won a UEFA Cup medal with the Anfield side four years earlier, made his debut on February 6 in a 3-0 Scottish Cup victory over Dunfermline at East End Park.

Just under two months later, Henchoz’s chances of realising a permanent switch to Parkhead were obliterated following a shocking performance in a 2-0 home league loss to Hearts.

‘HENCHOZ HORROR SHOW’ screamed one headline in a Sunday national newspaper and it was difficult to mount an argument.

NO BIG DEAL…Martin O’Neill welcomes Stephane Henchoz to Celtic in January 2005 – he returned to Liverpool four months later.

The 30-year-old right-back gifted the Edinburgh club their second goal – snapped up by ex-Celt Mark Burchill – in the 19th minute and he was replaced 17 minutes later with Ross Wallace coming on in his place. Unfortunately, O’Neill’s side couldn’t recover from the earlier setback and the scoreline remained the same.

A crowd of 59,562 could hardly believe what they had just witnessed – from Henchoz AND the entire team in one of the worst results of the campaign.

The 72 times-capped player made four starts and four substitute appearances for the Hoops before being returned to his parent club at the end of the season.

Henchoz moved to newly-promoted Wigan Athletic that summer and spent two years with the club until switching to Blackburn Rovers.

He announced his retirement from playing in October 2008.

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

Click Here for Comments >

About Author