We have nearly finished our Cult Hero XI and today we start to select the two players that could be the biggest debating point yet – our strikers. Considering the debate that has enraged online from the definition of a Cult Hero to people’s favourites being overlooked there has also been some incredible moments of Celtic history shared both in these articles and the responses online. We’ve had Enrico Annoni celebrating his inclusion within the side, a bonus poll to include Stephane Mahe at left back and ongoing debates over players best position.
Before we select the final positions, I would like to thank everyone for their input over the last two weeks, I’ve had some great conversations with some of you online and look forward to bringing you more content throughout the year!
Here is the line-up as it stands:
1. Artur Boruc
2. Enrico Annoni
3. Stéphane Mahé
4. Bobo Balde
5. Ramon Vega
6. Lubo Moravcik
7. Shunsuke Nakamura
8. John Collins
9. Paddy McCourt
With Paddy McCourt fit(ish) and taking the last midfield position its time to grab some goals so here, we go with the ASCOM team’s picks for Celtic’s Cult Hero Striker– which player is your choice or who have we missed out? Let us know!
Player – Tony Watt
Signed From – Airdrie (£80k – 2008)
Appearances – 34 appearances – 8 goals
Cult Hero Status – Its fairly straightforward isn’t it? – Messi stands over a free kick, Celtic are already 1 nil up on the week of the 125th Anniversary of the formation of the club. Celtic Park waits in nervous anticipation. Up steps Messi…..saved by Foster. Foster lets his box clear then plays it long looking for Watt, who had replaced Mikael Lustig. The ball looks to be landing in front of Spanish captain Xavi, who misjudges the bounce of the ball and WATT IS IN. He’s running between Mascherano and Alba. He’s one on one with Valdes, he couldn’t could he? HE HAS! Watt slots the ball past Victor Valdes in the Barcelona net and Celtic Park erupts to levels never heard before. Celtic are 2 nil up at home to European giants Barcelona. Oh, I can remember that game like it was yesterday, probably because I’ve watched it about 50 times since. Watt had already made headlines the previous season making his debut away to Motherwell and scoring twice within 10 minutes. Watt will, however, be remembered most for the goal vs Barcelona and that was the peak of his Celtic and perhaps footballing career, now onto his 11th club next season at the age of 25 we can only hope he returns to the form that excited fans and fulfils the potential he clearly has.
Player – Frank McAvennie
Signed From – West Ham (£750k – 1987) Free Agent (1992)
Appearances – 106 Appearances – 50 goals
Cult Hero Status – Francis “Frank, Frankie, Frankie Bhoy, Macca” McAvennie is not only the most overdone character in the Only an Excuse TV Series but he is without a shadow of a doubt a prime candidate for this Cult Hero XI. McAvennie was unquestionably one of the most popular and colourful “characters” to pull on the Hoops in the 1980s, but probably will be remembered more for being one of our most controversial (in comical ways as much as anything else). McAvennie possessed a great awareness of space and exquisite touch. Despite his love of partying the Glasgow-born forward was always prepared to put in a shift on the football pitch. His two spells at Celtic were very Jekyll and Hyde with his first spell being an absolute success, a coup for Celtic at the time. And the second… well, it started well and that’s about all we could probably say. In any case, Frank was happy to be back at Celtic, as he was to put it in one of his more sane quotes:
“We all make mistakes sometimes and I know now that I should have stayed at Celtic Park.”
There’s no doubt that McAvennie gave his all for the club that he loved and still does to this day but it is still a case of what might have been for Frank, a Cult Hero, without a shadow of a doubt.
Paul John Dykes
Player – Jackie Dziekanowski
Signed From – Legia Warsaw (£600k – 1989)
Appearances – 66 appearances – 22 goals
Cult Hero Status – Dariusz Dziekanowski was an immensely talented striker who sadly lacked the commitment to make the most of his considerable talents. Having lost out on bringing back.. well you know who, back to Celtic, Jackie was seen as being the one to make us forget that failure. It didn’t work. The Polish international signed for £600,000 in July 1989 from Legia Warsaw the man who would be known to Hoops fans simply as ‘Jackie’ was a top class forward who on his day was as good as any striker in Britain. Showcasing this – Jackie produced a startling display which would be talked about for years later. In a devastating demonstration of forward play, he hit four goals in a dramatic 5-4 European Cup Winners Cup win against Partizan Belgrade at Parkhead. However this could be seen as the pinnacle of Jackie’s Celtic career and despite being a very gifted forward, he just couldn’t produce the standards expected of a Celtic striker. The only things he lacked were ability in the air and any kind of heart or commitment. The latter was the killer blow, his head was the first to drop in a pressure situation, McStay having to drag him by the neck to take a penalty in the 1990 Scottish Cup final shoot out. Jackie joined Bristol City in 1992 for the sum of £250k and once again Celtic fans were left to wonder – What might have been?
Player – Robbie Keane
Signed From – Spurs (Loan – 2010)
Appearances – 19 Appearances – 16 goals
Cult Hero Status – Supporting Celtic, Leeds, Liverpool, Tottenham, Inter Milan, Wolves, Coventry and West Ham United as a youngster must have been a busy childhood for Robbie Keane… the man who loved to play for his boyhood heroes. Jokes aside, well not actually because Keane joined Celtic on a 6-month loan deal in 2010 joining what could be described as a joke of a Celtic team who had practically already conceded the title to Rangers at this point. It says a lot for the quality of Keane that he averaged nearly a goal a game for Celtic and managed to win player of the season despite joining on deadline day in January. A clearly special player he was far too good for what was the standard of the SPL at this point and he even managed to drag a terrible Celtic side to finish only 6 points behind Rangers despite being double figures behind them in March. An unbridled joy in what was a terrible season for the Hoops – Robbie Keane was the welcome relief for many fans, a permanent transfer never materialised and Keane continued onto another one of his boyhood heroes.
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