International Break best ever 11 – Center Forward 1


The first time I saw this player,I was 7yo. It was a testimonial match,end-of-season stuff. Frank Beattie of Kilmarnock. We had a young kid in the team,red in the face after five minutes,couldn’t possibly be fit. Could he?!

Six goals later as we ran out 7-2 winners,I had my answer. Yes,he was indeed fit,and would become a legend at the two teams he played for.

Oh,his name is Kenny Dalglish,just in case you’re still wondering. Another of The Quality Street Gang,and the most lauded subsequently. He could play as the main striker,support striker,attacking mid. It was all the same to Kenny-he was always looking to score,or to make the killer pass. Sure,he lacked blistering pace but his speed of thought more than compensated.

We adored him. Rival teams envied us for having him. He was another of those players who rarely got injured,despite being at the sharp end,the receiving end of some attempted thuggery. He would just nudge them away with a deft manoeuvre of his arse. His low centre of gravity was one of his strengths when it came to shielding the ball from defenders,very difficult to knock him off his stride.

In his six seasons as a first team regular,he scored 20+ goals each time,and 40+ in 72-73. In his 322 games he scored 167 times,better than 1 in 2. And he was another one who had a habit of scoring from difficult positions,not for him the poacher goals. His smile when he got another one should have seen him getting a sponsorship deal from Ultra-brite,worth the admission on its own.

Kenny really grew into that Celtic jersey,becoming club captain-he led us to a double in 76-77-and a highly coveted player by many teams down south. Jock tried to coax another season out of him after that double,but reported financial problems tilted the balance as we reluctantly accepted a £440,000 deal from Liverpool.

He left us with 5 title medals,four cups and a League Cup. He also left us with fond memories of seeing a genius.

There are a whole raft of players who could also have been considered in this position,many of whom left us on better terms,but for what he did on the pitch,Kenny is in my team without demur.


Saltires en Seville,,,

Kenny Dalglish 322 games (1969-1977) x167 goals

King Kenny overtook the BuzzBomb as my favourite Celtic player. Kids are so fickle.

That was sealed when he scored a goal at a muddy ( always) Tannadice, with a swivel volley outside box into the top left corner – Kenny standing arms raised in balancing profile, like Nureyev ( yes, I know..) watching the ball whip into the net. Before that familiar smile and running to accept homage from his teammates. Kenny just did that, and often, in his Celtic career. Hardy and handy player could see things on a football park that others couldn’t even imagine. I cried real tears when he was stolen by Liverpool for 440,000 in 1977. Worked with a few scousers over the years and all the Reds wax lyrically about him. They thought they were losing everything when Keegan went to Hamburg. “Whose this Scots git…” then 5 minutes into his first game they knew ..Keegan was forgotten and King Kenny went on to rule them all.

Quite simply the player I have always wanted to be. The only player in my selection I have never met. Maybe I should keep it that way ?



My first center forward  ,,,,,
Look I know this is called the greatest ever series but I will be honest here and admit Im in it to win it . If my bhoys were put together they would beat all comers and Im not just doing the best I have seen etc or the greatest servant or any of that lark . . Mahe doesnt do things by half . No time for sentimentality here I want winners only , preferably game changers and those with that X-Factor . Football is an entertainment sport and my lads will leave you on the edge of your seat coming back for more . Like I keep saying I think the computer will have my 11 emerge on top so with that in mind I give you

Di – I – Canio !!! Di – I – Canio !!!

Oh yeah baby the mad man is on the loose ! Look up maverick in the Italian dictionary and theres a photo of him .
Ol Paolo was a genius and you will know that true genius is often tinged by madness .
He played the game like his life depended on it , all or nothing , and with an intensity that surely Keano himself would appreciate .
Talent , had it in spades . Natural athleticism mixed with skill and drive seen him have a great career with many admirers in the modern game . Unfortunately like so many other great players he seems incapable of making the transition to manager ( a future blog I think ) .

Like the modern day Vic’s and Virgil’s he used the club as a stepping stone to the bright lights down south where he had a great time notably with the Hammers who still adore him .
“ A trophy or my life ! “ one rag dramatically declared he had sworn when he signed ffs.
Drama did follow in his shadow though and shoving the ref that time got him a record ban for his folly but it was that very passion that got him there in the first place.
I distinctly remember a one on one against Bartez who tried to bluff him with the offside arm raise trick but it failed miserably as Paolo slotted her home to put the Hammers through at Old Trafford in the Fa Cup.
When I think of his time in Glasgow I picture him in the original bumblebee strip with rain coming down still being graceful and looking the part. Had a great goal celebration also , it just all flooded out of him.

In my team,,,He will be asked to play behind my main striker and with that footballing brain of his will be the out ball for midfield and quickly pass and move arriving late into the box for cut backs galore . Forms a deadly combination with Mc Geady who sees him as his idol and Paolo responds but accepting him as a protege and raising his game. Along with Jackie bombing up that side also the area of the pitch on the right from the halfway line until the opponents box to the touchline is now called ” the Bermuda triangle ” for how little other teams see the ball !

“ A lion cant stay in a cage . A lion must be on the pitch ! “ Paolo Di Canio

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Beautifully put,lads. Well done!

Awe Naw

Sorry lads have been struggling with a cold recently.

Kenny Dalglish the best all round player ever to play in the Scottish league and that is while he was still with us.



Been up all night struggling because I knew this would be the most difficult position to comment on, most of the other positions, you had a clear idea in your mind of who to slot in, I was a massive fan of King Kenny, his picture hang on my bedroom wall for years and years. Di Canio, a marvellous player, erratic but… my, my, what a talent, but his stay with Celtic it was far too brief for me, there was no loyalty. I like not only a wee bit of modesty but a strong sense of I am Celtic in my DNA.

So for the reasons I illustrate there is only one centre-forward for me, the King of King, Henke Larsson, he had it all, running off the ball, positional awareness, the killer instinct and how he fell in love with the Celtic. He could strike the ball with a controlled precision, he could chip it with a little stab, he could leap, high in the air, brave as a lion. Most of all he showed a big commitment to Celtic in an age when money and wealthier leagues were calling.

His big picture hangs on my bedroom wall, it replaced Ursalla Undress, the sexiest player that ever donned our colours, Henrik Larsson, Henrik Larsson, Henrik Larsson is the King of Kings. Hallelujah, Hallelujah. Who could ever forget that wee man, tears running down his cheeks, applauding the fans when it broke his heart to leave the Celtic. Therefore my choice turned out to be not much of a choice, it was always going to be.. Henrik Larsson, our King of Kings……..

,big packy

okay ghuys im torn here between stevie chalmers, joe McBride, and willie Wallace. could not put a cigarette paper between them so I wont.hh.


You should have written for this series! Of course,we still have one more player to come…

And as there’s another international break shortly,there’s likely to be another series,on a different topic. Your input-two articles at most,honest!-would be greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested,contact Mahe at

He’ll give you the details.

Meanwhile,I think you’ll like this too.


You’ve been in the wars lately,old son! Hope yer on the mend shortly.


I didn’t see Joe play for us,only for Hibs. Stevie scored some amount of goals for us,despite his first six years in our poor side at the time,and not even joining us till he was in his mid-20s! He even had to overcome tuberculosis,which very nearly killed him.

He and Willie Wallace are another two who suffer from us only having eleven places in the team. But as I’ve said,it’s a very big subs bench.


Hi majoc,

Thanks for the link, I will read it later, but thanks.


Don’t know what happened there, but I must have pressed the “Go Celtic Go” button, I am quite busy just now but I will send mahe an e-mail later, cheers…


Centre Forward 1 is I believe the main scorer of goals and the penalty box threat. I will leave Dalglish as the support striker and my choice for the prime position is between Joe McBride and Henrik. Those that saw Joe dominate the box, especially the 6 yard box, will know why he is up for consideration. He was a ball magnet for cut backs from Lennox and Johnstone or a dribbling inside man like Auld. He would score with his head and either foot but really any part of his anatomy was fair game for deflecting the ball goalwards. He was the bravest footballer I saw and he paid the price in missing out on Lisbon and giving the very capable Stevie Chalmers his place in immortality. If Joe had played, I would say we would have won 5:1 in ’67.

And yet the small time period that Joe was able to demonstrate his craft with us counts against him when it comes to the crunch decision. He is the La La Land to this slot’s Moonlight- the bould Henke.

Henrik’s scoring record, his workrate combined with elegance, his power and athleticism, his sheer joy in playing for us and his tears on leaving us, means he gets the award. I swear that the guy could run at a near horizontal angle as he detached himself from markers- it was a thing of beauty to watch – and that is all that most defenders ever managed.

Joe McBride, I wished you had had the chance to compete longer for this but Henke gets the jersey, for me.

saltires en sevilla


Cheers buddy

I wondered who would be first to mention his erse…

Didn’t know he was bi-lingual ?


saltires en sevilla

Aw naw

Hope you feel back to normal soon.

saltires en sevilla


Some quality input from you in this series.

Like yer style.


saltires en sevilla


Back to yesterday’s theme…

.if Joe McBride had made a full recovery. A brace of Big Cups…Treble?


saltires en sevilla


Thanks for sharing about Joe. Never saw him play, but your memories sound very familiar and consistent with everything I’ve heard about him.


saltires en sevilla


I remember Paolo’s in a game at Firhill ( not v Thistle??) in League Cup??

Seemingly low key game and expecting 2nd gear cruising from Celts

No one had told Paolo. From the first whistle he sparked into life chasing every ball, lost causes were won, balls that were ‘out’ were kept in by superhuman effort.

No doubting his dedication to fitness and to his contribution when on the park.

You captured the essence of the man.




I am glad you considered Joe McBride……a much travelled player who finally found his home at Parkhead. He was indeed deadly in the box with both feet and head. Like you I’d set him aside because of his short time with us relative to others. Steve Chalmers is another who banged in the goals…more of what Sutton calls a sniffer. He was in the right place at the right time to finish off moves. Who can forget his winning goal in the Big Cup final in ‘67? Sutton himself is worthy of consideration. There are too many options to make this comfortable. To me Dalglish symbolises Celtic’s waning ambition. Letting him go when they did was the start of a period of decline. However, i think his connection to Celtic is tainted by his time as a director of football/manager at the club. Bad times, indeed.

I don’t know how others approach this exercise but I have tried to put together a team of greats that would work, not just select the best player for a position. In all great teams there needs to be a “glue” that holds that part of the team together. For that reason, I have selected Willie Wallace. When Stein signed him for a then record fee he stated that he had signed a one man forward line. Willie could play in any of the five positions in the old W formation. He could even play as an attacking wing half! In the last half of the sixties, Wallace was the top scorer at the club, scoring vital goals against the likes of Dukla Prague, Rangers, Red Star Belgrade, Benfica, and Fiorentina……in total 134 goals in 234 games.

I first noticed Willie when he played for Hearts during a warm-up at Firhill. He received a pass from over his shoulder, pulled the ball down with his left and hit it with right, with power into the net. Wallace, although not tall, had that “Denis Law characteristic” of hanging in the air waiting for the ball to arrive. You can then get more power and direction in the header. Alan McGraw of Morton had it as well.

There you have it……Willie Wallace, one of the best strikers Celtic ever had, and he could play support to other goalscorers.


Awe Naw

McGrain McNeil Clark Gemmell
Mc Stay Murdoch Moravcik
Johnston Larrson Dalglish

Agathe Elliot VVD Brogan
Petrov Aitken Hay Collins
Lennox McLair

Wdowczyk McAdam Rieper MacNamara
Thomson Auld Mcleod Burns
Hood Nicholas

Morris Stubbs, Mjallby, Boyd
Doyle Lambert Connolly Nakamura
Sutton, Viduka

We could do this all year haven´t mentioned many lisbon lions, Neil Lennon, John Hartson, Dixie Deans, Lou Macari, Di Canio, Hughes etc. and of course Maurice Johnston

Awe Naw

Thanks lhads. My mum has given me a note

Ah,you are probably right-but there is an alternative plan being considered for the next international break.

At this moment,it looks like a compilation of contributors’ Favourite/Most Memorable Match. I think Admin will be in contact over the next week or so,asking who would like to contribute to it,and for which game.

The more,the merrier,obviously. Gives us a wider range of opinions.

We can also practice our standard replies,like-“I was at that game anaw,it wis pish!!!”

Did you catch a cold through a hole in your balaclava? Or was that just Billy Connolly’s classmate?

Awe Naw

I caught a cold being a bad boy by not listening to my mammy and the priests. Too much partying !!


Hope you dont mind me coming on here lads for a wee break from CQN I just have to admit and say I like your blog very much. A great job well done congratulations. My blog is now full of technical numpties who didnae und never will pass their 11+ exams. It took them about 3 year at least to master the wordpress blog but now that they have ..finally .. they are making my life such misery that I dont even post on my own blog anymore. It´s their way or the highway but as they are Lawwell disciples I´m not allowed to do anything about it

My Dad Martin42 also thinks its a great blog and just wants to let you know that if at anytime you want your blog destroyed he can moderate for you for a couple of days no bother. Just let me know

How do you manage to stop the forelock tugging, cap in hand, Stockholm suffering eejits coming on here ?

Let us pray

We believe in the one Chief executive,
the Father, the Suit wearer,
maker of Celtic Park and Lennoxtown,
and all of the money that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in Dermot Desmond,
his only Son, the Celtic supporter. with a hard C
the only buyer for the bunnet,
eternally begotten to the Markets,
Henrik from Henrik, Larrson from Larrson,
true Rangers from true Rangers,
begotten, not made,
one at Being with the Old Firm.
Through Peter all things are safe.

Hail Hail

Ffs,highly disrespectful-but I’m all in favour of deleting nothing as long as it isn’t libellous,or maybe a bit heavy on the swearies.

I will post a disclaimer,on legal advice,that posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the site as a whole!

Mind you,you had me fooled for most of the first paragraph at least!

The Gombeen Man

Hi Paul,

Thanks for popping in.

Is it true the MI5 gave up monitoring CQN because they couldn’t the past the adverts either ? 🙂



I remember being on the phone to a friend in Belfast a few years back,I was on a wee dayooooot up the road in Cheltenham.

Oh,is there racing on,he asked.

Naw,I replied. Just a wee dayooooot wi friends,a break from the delights of Swindon.

Oh,right,who do you know up there,he responded.

Nobody,says I but I was talking to someone who knows you. Well he listens to your phone calls.

Phone went dead,he called me back later on,presumably,a different phone. Not in a happy mood either,seems that wasn’t effing funny.

Takes all sorts…

The Gombeen Man

If they want to listen or read to my gibberish good luck to them 😉


I also said to myself its the best team not the greatest players . I keep saying that and Im glad youre on the same page . Some of these selections would get scalped big time as they are unbalanced.
Im expecting our teams to meet in the final ,,, bad luck my friend !

I am lead to believe theres a computer game with all the players stats. If possible to match each persons team then next week should be fun ! Like I say though, my bhoys wont be beaten . Hail Hail


They canny understand a word I say down here,I’m safe enough!


Oh Aye we Dae! So there, P P Pick up yer pencil and write write noo.


SES , I do have a vague memory of that game. Loved ol Paolo I will admit. He had the right attitude . Remember down south he caught the ball instead of heading into the net because the defender injured himself badly ( accidentally ) will approaching him . He got big kudos for that . I will admit to everyone that due to my crap career I got 2 weekends a year off most of my 20’s and one was spent on beach in Europe ,,, the result is I can count the games I have been to on both hands. Started or joined a CSC everywhere I have moved to though.
I will hopefully cover the 6-2 game in the next series as I was actually there that day . Any other famous games are up for grabs . Hail Hail

The Gombeen Man

They only pretend they don’t understand when it suits them.

I’ve a pal that always wears a wee shamrock on his lapel when he’s abroad. He swears he gets a much better reaction off folk. I have no idea why 🙂

Funny that,they understand fine well when I tell them to eff off. I’ve always had a way with words,me.

I watched that in The Orange Club in Kilwinning. Had to peel me off the ceiling. Hell knows how I got away with it…

The Gombeen Man


Class posts Mike as usual you’ve a knack of capturing the emotion with your words.

The first time I went to a European match was against Basle in 1974 in the Quarter Final of the European Cup.

Champions League games are special but I’ll never forget sitting in the Main Stand with my Dad and his pal. The crowd and the atmosphere was something to behold.
I can remember staring at the Jungle and being completely sold on Celtic.
I’d forgotten that George Connolly broke an ankle early in the game until I looked at it again.

Apart from the magic of winning the tie. The memory for me was watching Jinky for the first time at that level. The speed of him with his ginger hair and looking tiny but always moving and always likely to do something.He was fearless and one of us. It’s something I’ll never forget.

Two players that I saw and immediately thought ‘Wow’ when I saw them was Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo.(I know).

About 25 years ago United brought a young Ryan Giggs to Celtic Park to play in a pre-season friendly. I was astonished at the pace of Giggs. he was only a pup at the time but was something else.

Ronaldo, the speed, balance, size and ability of that guy was frightening when I saw him.

Watching Celtic at the top level is a privilege, especially if we have someone who has a bit of magic wearing the hoops.

Margaret McGill

Taught him everything he knows.:)
You should hear his “Hail Hail Mary”


The Gombeen Man,

The Passion of the Celts, its in our blood, once it enters your system, it cannot be shaken off, no matter where you are in this World, the memories of the Celtic, come bubbling to the fore, it gives you a quiet sense of satisfaction and gives you that inner smile, it just brightens up your day.

No one can dampen that, no board, no governing body, no government no-one, you might rail against them, but you and our Celtic family are the Celtic, not them and that is why Celtic are more than just a club, our great support are Celtic and no-one will ever be allowed to dampen that feeling, that passion.

We each have our special memories of special players and games, they are what draws us to the club, how can we forget our first Celtic game, our emotions are sqeezed out of our bodies as we yell and cheer our heros in hoops on and on and they the players they respond to our emotions, it gives them that extra yard of strength., they feed of us and we of them. You never forget that, never.

How often have we heard of players from other clubs playing at Celtic park and being blown away with the atmosphere, remarking on how much they have enjoyed their Celtic experiance. Players who have been with us on the Celtic journey and have left us for another club, they remark on it, so we know that they miss us and are still drawn to us, special club, special support…. Glasgow Celtic a club like no other..

Great to talk to you, as always….

The Gombeen Man

Cheers Mike,

This was my first Cup Final. I remember the ‘dugs’ on the park and a fight in the old Enclosure more that the game itself…apart from pitting the Programme on my wall and spending all week organising badges on my scarf 🙂

,big packy

hi bhoys see paul67 has paid us a visit. welcome paul.hh.


The Gombeen Man,

Thanks for that, I really enjoyed the highlights. John Kelly “Dixie” Deans, another great Celtic striker, strong as an ox, he another good header of the ball, 132 goals in 184 games, penalty aside, forward somersault.

“They’ll never drive old Dixie down”. and Jim Brogan RIP. five years I think he was at Celtic before he got a regular game, another one who stood up for the cause. Marvellous players and fond memories…

Garry Duncan

My favourite strikers in my early years of watching Celtic, were Dixie Deans and Kenny Dalglish. I was a big fan of Joe Craig, then Frank McGarvey. The 80s I had 3 favourite strikers Brian McClair, Mo Johnston and probably my favourite of all time Frank McAvennie. Macca would probably still be my favourite, had we not signed Henrik Larsson. I feel Henke was the complete striker, and along with Bobby Lennox, the main goalscorer in my Celtic favourites team.

,big packy

garry had just got married and lived down in englandshire in the eighties, so cant comment on your choices, but watching on tv when possible, mcavennie and mclair looked good, also the Swedish ghuy wasn’t bad either.hh.

So we are down to the last two, who imo are a stick on, Kenny and Henke, saying this as I prob won’t be around the morra, long day ahead, much miles to cover with hosies and the like.
When I look at the team I have it’s really no the strongest, I picked them on who I thought was the best I have seen in the position, as we all know a managers job is fitting the jigsaw pieces together, then to get them to gel, as hard a job as there is imo.
I see that Dundee have appointed Jim McIntyre as there new manager, if the sfa had appointed him as the new boss instead of the ginger alki, given him a decent contract of a few years and said go on, build a team that will get us to the euros or the WC, I bet he would have managed it, I am surprised he hasn’t gotten a job afore now, he is a very decent coach, what he did with RC with no money was superb.

Sol Kitts

Just like Frank McGarvey, when I played I never looked like I knew what I was doing. Frank, however, was fully aware of what he was doing, and boy was it exciting to watch. I would have him up front alongside George McCluskey.

Sol Kitts

I’be known you for nearly 40 years and sometimes I wonder what the f… you’re talking about ??

A thing of beauty

I’m going to go for Henrik. A man I’m ashamed to say, I did not fully appreciate when he was playing with us. I’m on record as not being a lover of martin O’Neill’s football and actually missed more games then than I have ever done since. Consequently I denied myself every opportunity to watch this man in action. I realise now the error of my ways as he was the complete striker. I first saw him in the 1994 World Cup and remember wondering aloud with my brother how this guy could ever get to a World Cup. He seemed weak and was almost falling over the ball. When he signed I was living down south and watched from afar where possible. He had certainly improved!! He then continued to get better season after season and when he left it was not for money like it usually is, but for glory and the chance to play for another of Europe’s elite clubs. Then he left them and moved to another. No bad for a shitey wee player that cannae keep his feet!!

Sol Kitts

**I’ve** bloody sausage fingers.

Henke scored a few incredible goals, the chip against the huns is the iconic one, but the one that gets my vote is as header against Dun Utd in a cup semi I think, how the ef he managed to score from the angle he did was mind boggling, I will look for it and post it.
I’m no even sure it was Dun Utd or a cup semi final, I am sure it was at hampden tho, I think, so may be some time 🙂

Garry Duncan

The game that struck me that Henrik was World Class, was a wintry Sunday night, Fir Park, Motherwell 1 Celtic 7. Henke scored 4 and ran the game with Lubo, who scored a belter. Happiest I have ever been in Motherwell that night. Dr Jo teams played crackin fitba at times.


I remember that one. it was at Hampden,and IIRC,he headed the ball into the net from an acute angle,as you say-while running away from the goal!