Scott Alcroft with A Celtic State of Mind – Victor Wanyama on his biggest influence at Celtic

Victor Wanyama spoke to Scott Alcroft back in November 2017 as part of Scott’s hugely successful ‘Ten in a Row’ series.

Now that Scott is a regular contributor to A Celtic State of Mind, we will work through his archive of features, as well as sharing his latest work.

There are a couple of days of the transfer window left and we have been linked with a sensational move for former midfield favourite, Victor Wanyama. A permanent deal seems like a pipe dream at the moment, but we thought it would be interesting to revisit his Celtic memories while he is still being linked with the Hoops…

When did you first hear about Celtic’s interest in you?

It was in August 2010 I heard about the interest but it didn’t happen until summer of 2011.

What can you remember about the day you signed?

I remember the day I signed, there was a friendly match against Partick Thistle and I went to the game after I signed. It was a friendly match but the atmosphere was electric and I was sitting next to the bench. I was really impressed with the support I saw from the fans.

Who’s idea was it to pick the number 67 jersey as your squad number?

It was my idea because I used to support Celtic back when I was in Kenya and I new a bit of the history of Celtic and that the Lisbon Lions won the European Cup in ‘67. In Kenya they have a huge following in the Kibera slum in Nairobi so I read about the history. It was my dream one day to play in the Champions League and win it, so I wanted to take the 67 jersey to keep reminding me of my goals and I loved the pressure that came with the shirt.

Who were the big characters in the dressing room? Any funny stories?

During my time, there were big characters in the dressing room: Daniel Majstorovic, Scott Brown, Paddy McCourt, Charlie Mulgrew and Glen Loovens.

Big Dan used to take care of me, a nice guy off the pitch, on the field he was an animal. Brownie was also a tough guy. In the winter we used to dress heavily in training but he was wearing kit like it was summer. Funny characters were Mulgrew and Paddy, they used to tell banters and bully Emilio. They waited for Emilio to change and then they took his clothes and important stuff and chucked the clothes in the swimming pool with his shoes, or they’d sometimes hang them up from the roof. It was really funny seeing Emilio going home wearing training kit and flip-flops.

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What were your top three goals for Celtic?

My top three goals?

Number three was against St Mirren away. Charlie had a ball on the left and he passed it across outside the box about 25 yards and I curled it into the top corner.

Number two was against Hearts at home and it was a very tight game. I received a ball about 20 yards out and shot into the top corner and it ended up as a winning goal.

Number one was against Barca! We used to train set pieces at the training ground and we had a specialist with Charlie. He took a corner, found me at the back post and I headed it into the net. That’s my number one goal.

Who was your biggest influence at Celtic during your time with the club?

My biggest influence was the gaffer, Neil Lennon. He drove me to have more hunger and desire and to never give up!

The 2-1 game against Barcelona. Is that still the biggest and best game you’ve played in? How did it feel to score in that game?

That was the biggest game against one of the top teams in the world and we played very well as a unit. After I scored in the game I ran towards the fans but when I looked up I thought the stadium was coming down cause the movement of the fans celebrating scared. That was the best feeling ever!

Do you get asked all the time about the atmosphere at Celtic Park by your team-mates down South? What do you tell them about our fans?

Yes, they ask me about the atmosphere and I always tell them it is the best ever. They will never understand it until they witness it. Unbelievable atmosphere for me. I have never seen anything like it.

Do you think you’ll ever return to play for Celtic one day due to love the fans have for you?

Yes! Why not? I’ve still got a lot of love for the club and I still follow the club. Who knows? I might be back at the club in the future.

Scott Alcroft

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