THERE have been many world-class players who have featured in a Celtic shirt over the years; some of whom helped the club win the European Cup in 1967. More recently, others have flourished in Glasgow before moving on to play for the likes of Barcelona in Europe.
Rather than the greatest three players in the club’s history, we’ve taken a look at who we believe have been the most influential of all time. We’ve taken a range of considerations into account, including leadership, how they have helped the club progress and their relationship with supporters.
At the age of 35, Scott Brown remains an important player in Neil Lennon’s side. He is unlikely to have given up on the title this season, despite Celtic being 50/1 in the odds on football for the SPL title this year.
As far as leaders go, Brown is right up there with the very best to wear the captain’s armband for Celtic. He has been with the club since 2007, making over 600 appearances in that time.
Brown has won 10 league championships with the club, an incredible achievement. He has also been named Scotland’s Players’ Player of the Year on two occasions, which says a lot about what his peers think about him.
The Scotland international has been the player so many youngsters have looked up to at the club when they have broken into the team. It would be no surprise to see him take up a coaching position at Celtic Park when his playing career is over.
Brown’s contract is due to expire in the summer and, although there has been no official announcement, it is widely understood the powerhouse will be offered at least 12 months in an extension.
In 2002, Jimmy Johnstone was voted as Celtic’s greatest ever player. The European Cup winner was so important for the club in the 60 and 70s where he scored 129 goals for the Bhoys.
The Lisbon Lion finished third in the Ballon d’Or in 1967 behind Florian Albert and Bobby Charlton. To end up with more points than Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio and George Best that year says everything you need to know about how well he played.
Johnstone was very loyal to Celtic. He had opportunities to play elsewhere during his career, but he remained with the Hoops, which really helped attract other players to the club.
The man nicknamed King of Kings by Celtic fans had a phenomenal impact on the club during his seven years in Scotland. Henrik Larsson signed for the club for just £650,000, one of the biggest bargains in Scottish football history.
It was largely down to the Swedish international that Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final in 2003. Two years earlier, he scored 53 goals in the 2000/01 campaign which saw him win the European Golden Shoe.
After scoring 242 goals in 315 appearances for Celtic, Larsson moved to Barcelona, where he won the Champions League in 2005. He will forever be seen as a legend at the club and his impact during those seven years was immeasurable.
Let’s hope some of the stars of tomorrow go on to become greats at the club and can lead Celtic back to European glory in the near future.