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