Memory lane – Stephen Mc Manus

The big conference call is later in the week where all associations will be briefed, and I’m expecting a ‘you guys sort it out yourselves’ type of message from the top table.
As that means we will probably see some type of announcement late next week from our governing bodies that does give us some time to kill before pouring over their decision, which I fully expect to confirm us as Champions.
As such we shall shall go where the blog loves to go,
Memory lane it is. There’s a couple of crackers waiting in the wings for later in the week but I thought I would get the ball rolling.
One of the benefits of discussing ex players is that the scapegoat label can’t be thrown around. What’s done is done and is there to be analyzed in the cold light of day with emotions set aside.
So with that in mind I invite the blog to ponder the following question, ,
Was big Stephen Mc Manus an underrated Hoop or one who was fortunate to wear the jersey?
Or perhaps somewhere in between?


I first recall coming across young Master Mac Manus when Martin started him at left back on one of my rare visits.
This was the last year of Martin, the dining out on his legend year while he was understandably more focussed on his soul mates health.
He hadn’t been given much funds then and Jamie Smith was getting a wee run on the right wing about then also if you recall.


I remember sitting in the stand looking at this big gangly kid probably 18 or so with a left peg, thinking this might be interesting.
He was as interesting as watching paint dry!
It was as if Martin said they are gonna focus on you just knock it long or out of play.
I don’t think he made it into their half the entire game which means he wasn’t allowed to.
Never disobeyed the teachers orders once.


Somehow Gordon decided it was Big Stephen for the armband, no doubt thinking he would grow with the captaincy. I don’t think he did personally.
In a limited side he had at one time a choice of Jari Jirosik, Masimo Donati, Thomas Graveson, in front of him while Aiden and Naka didn’t provide much cover.
Gary Caldwell was the usual.partner in crime more often than not and somehow the two became a formidable partnership that delivered in the main. How is still a mystery? Perhaps I underrated him. The stats suggest so yet watching him I just never got that sense of leadership.


The highlight was clearly a San Siro last 16 exit at the hands of Kaka but for the life of me I still don’t understand why stand off rather than immediately close down but them’s the breaks.
The scorer went onto have a decent career.


That the Well ended up his destination should ultimately show that he just wasn’t top drawer but a solid campaigner. The Captaincy designed to being him on could be argued either way I believe. Reaching the knock out phase with such a team may well be considered fortunate, but that luck was based upon work and taking your chances when they arrive. That year anyway, it served us well.


It was a surprise when he was announced as the man to wear the armband, but a look at the team then shows it wasn’t a straight forward pick.
The two strikers shouldn’t be made to feel unequal ruling them out.
The temperamental Aiden and the fleeting genius Naka weren’t ideal candidates at all.
Lee Naylor is no leader of men, Hinkel also.
That left the men in the middle, and that area was in a state of flux.
Or the keeper, and while Artur was quality, he did let slip with the cigars and the weight, plus he had those Epl ambitions which we helped fulfill so maybe a passer through wasn’t the smart play either.
Stephen was a safe choice, and I’m sure a few though it might have brought him on. It didn’t really though did it.


Big Tony Mowbray just didnae like the cut of his job and away he went to Boro on loan then permanent. No surprise at all he ended up back locally at the Well as he was limited and injury prone, but a model professional none the less.


I consider any mortal who captained our team fortunate, and Stephen must go down as such,, as they all do,, but generally you get the sense the Celtic captain is one hell of a playet, rather than one hell of a man. That’s not to begrudge the fella one instant of having that special armband on, for I think he himself felt the privilege and at all times tried to uphold all that that should entail.


So I ask you, how did you rate your ex captain?
Was he your choice then for the armband?
If not, who back then?
Fond memories of those times?
Should he have halved Kaka? Would we have won then?
Spill your thoughts on big Mick please.
Sure what else are ya doing?


The above is by Mahe. If anyone in the greater Glasgow area is in need just contact us as we have feet on the ground. We don’t care what team, poster or not. If you need some help just email

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March 31, 2020 6:23 am


My Dad and I were at his debut. 4-0 at Easter Road. Impossible to judge him that day-at left back,as you say-because we mullered Hibs. But I reckon a defence including him,Heid and Naylor meant that the rest of the team had their work cut out.

Taking over as captain from Lenny was a tremendous honour for him. I’m delighted for him. Wish it had been me. I didn’t think he was Celtic quality,but he was sound enough most of the time.

And he won me a few bob when we were 2-0 down against Hearts. I stuck a tenner on us at half time. 28/1. So he’s a legend in my wallet if not in my opinion!

March 31, 2020 7:09 am

Memories of Jamie Smith are a little more vague though. Typical winger who suffered from inconsistency. But he was excellent in one particular match that,again,I attended with my Dad. Hearts at Tynecastle,late 2000 in The League Cup.

Won 5-2 after coming from behind to force extra-time. Man of the match though was Colin Healey. Big mistake by him to leave,he should have stuck around as the obvious successor to Lambo.

March 31, 2020 7:18 am

A controversial choice of ex-Captain to write about. A bland player, never good enough to wear the hoops far less the Captain’s armband! It could have been worse tho, it could’ve been the massive ego/heid he had as a partner. Bobo in the stand and those two on the pitch was, a defining moment for me that partly took emotion out of the game for me. How could Celtic expect 100% from us if they were not prepared to go all in? It was during this era that I sat back and waited for Celtic to do it and then cheer rather than shout and cheer Celtic to spur them on. Was the appointment of McManus as Captain the seminal point of Lawwell’s Directorship of Football?!

March 31, 2020 7:43 am


Ditching Bobo,especially at a time of great need as you rightly point out,was an act of vandalism on our team.

Again after watching one of his early displays with my Dad,I suggested that the big fella might cause us a few goals due to his shortcomings on the ground,but pointed out that I wouldn’t like to be the player who skinned him!

After watching a few more of his performances,I became convinced that he allowed himself to be beaten on the ground so that he could run menacingly behind the unfortunate attacker,that ominous THUD THUD THUD as he caught up on him to be replaced by another THUD,a crash bang wallop as he “deftly”
dispossessed him.

He scared the shit outa me,and I was only watching!!!

March 31, 2020 7:45 am


Enjoy your shift,btw. Never been so glad to be at work as I am at the moment. Just good to get out-even in the pissing rain last night!

March 31, 2020 7:48 am

New Year’s Day at Swinecastle when Stephen Scored the winner was my best memory of the big man
Nice big fella

March 31, 2020 7:50 am

All I can say is Bob Dylan was a shitty singer ,an average guitar player ,but could he write a song. Look where he is in the charts of the music world.Big Mick was a journeyman player, but most of us don’t know how he acted in the dressing room as a leader. Never heard any negative stories about him and no controversies , Maybe being a player was the weakest tool in his toolbox.but good enough to play professional football The Celtic captain has an image to uphold and big Mick can stand with some of our best, remember big Jock got greater credit as a manager than a player. I am confident there is more to come from Stephen , everyone is looking at Kennedy as the protege stay tuned
On another topic I don’t understand how anyone can get into a fight on here, as they used to say” he could start a fight in an empty hoose “,dont be that punter on here
good morning to you and goodnight for me.

March 31, 2020 7:59 am

I’m regretting agreeing to the shift as it’s caused a shift – in relations in the hoose, oh dear! I’m only going in to help push another guy on but the missus thinks I shouldn#t be going. What to do, what do!!!!

I did a bit of work for Mick’s family a few years back. You’re probably right in your assessment, an all round good guy. I can’t disagree, he always came across as a decent person in interviews. But, when Bobo was in the stand and Mick was your Captain something stinks…and that had nothing to do with Mick but he was the man left holding the baton!

March 31, 2020 8:01 am


That’s the one. £290 to me,Happy New Year. I think he scored twice that day.

How’s trix? Thinking of changing your phone numbers yet?

March 31, 2020 8:01 am

On another topic I don’t understand how anyone can get into a fight on here, as they used to say” he could start a fight in an empty hoose “,dont be that punter on here

Yeah, stir crazy could’ve described a few guys on here yesterday….something in the air mibbe? 😉

March 31, 2020 8:02 am

Morning all and Packy.

March 31, 2020 8:06 am

Morning Jim, I hope you’re well this morning! And I hope you’re pal is okay when he comes on!

March 31, 2020 8:06 am


Oh,you finish off with not starting a fight in an empty house,but start by dissing my all-time hero?

Wait till I figure out how to delete your account…

Anyway,aye,you may well be right about the leadership. And let’s also remember,re Big Jock,that The Iron Man would never defer to anyone-but he deferred to Jock first as captain and then as manager,telling Bob Kelly that Jock was the man for each.

I reckon that had it been anyone other than Sean telling him that,Kelly would have got rid of them both.

March 31, 2020 8:06 am

Same number Mick
Just withholding it when calling people back as even I need time away from the coal face ?

All good here , Mrs BT leaving for work in the council manning emergency calls whilst the night owl will sleep all day as no Uni

My old man self isolating, haven’t seen him for over 2 weeks but still barking out his orders via family group chat.
Good to see your dad posting yesterday

Re Big Mick
Probably worst memory was him being bullied by that Croatian hun at the bigot dome..
take care bhoys
Logging on at work for the fun and games ?

March 31, 2020 8:09 am

Morning McCaff, hope your well too. Yes I hope it’s a more peaceful day 🙂

March 31, 2020 8:14 am


Tell your oul’ fella that he has plenty of fans in strange places. Stay well and stay safe.

Hope M is being cautious,young yins have a tendency for devil may care. I’m the same myself(!) One section of the family back home is still available to the wider public,but the rest are under lockdown. Thank God for Skype,etc.

No bloody use to me on Saturday night,mind. Mahe hosted a quiz,I copied the questions to edit in the answers and…

My broadband collapsed!

Well,that’s it. Nae pub,nae bookies,nae broadband. Had to turn on the telly till I got bored with it and put some music on and picked up a book.

Lost weekends were much more fun when I was younger!!!

March 31, 2020 8:22 am

I love Bobs music but if you ever have or get a chance watch 20 feet from stardom. The film tells the story of all the great backup singers who never got the chance to sing on Center stage and were often better singers than the star
Remember the tanner Baw players we all knew who were unbelievable and everybody thought they were a shoe in, well Stephen probably wasn’t tanner baw but he made it and you have to have something in your locker to go as far as he did, maybe I should have addressed this to Mahe he started it
Goodnight again

March 31, 2020 8:23 am
March 31, 2020 8:27 am


To be fair,I may have been grudging in my praise for Stephen,but the praise was there!

You should hear me and the crew about some of our past players,and with some justification. Although I’ve rarely blamed the players for being rubbish-if someone asks you to sign for Celtic,are you supposed to say naw? Sorry mate,I’m garbage.

Of course not,you jump at the chance.

Me,I wish I’d played for Rangers. I’d have scuppered their tainted nine in no time.

March 31, 2020 8:32 am

Sorry Mahe, I don’t want to make this about Bobo, but there was a game against the old Rangers at Hampden, they had one of the De Boer bros up front. If I remember correctly the ball was punted up to De Boer three or four times in the first half and EVERY time Big Bobo went right through him, but taking the baw as cleanly as you like. It ended up with De Boer on his arse, hands up, pleading for fouls…BOBO’S GONNA GET YE!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

March 31, 2020 8:33 am

Good morning all from the Govanhill Gulag. Hungover and hungry, time for a fry up.

March 31, 2020 8:35 am

BMCUWP thetic
All of my opinions on McManus were formed against the fact Bobo was in the stand. Fitba has always been about comparisons and none were starker at that time, for me! Give me Bobo any day…even now! I’m awa’ tae work!! Catch up later….

March 31, 2020 8:39 am

My mate who is a spark has been called into work today
He his going to SEC Glasgow to assist with setting up hospital beds, my cousin has been setting up electrics in previously closed shattered and nursing home in preparation
Doesn’t seem like we have reached anything like the peak of this
I’ve been outdoors once since 20th March , need to get out in the garden for an hour after work today

March 31, 2020 8:45 am


Aye,you need to get outdoors,mate. As I said earlier,work has been an unlikely Godsend for me!

But the garden? Can you not tell K that the oul’ knee is playing up again,and do your Director of Operations stuff? Maybe wi a large malt and a couple of cans?

Free advice fae yer happily permanently single pal in Swindon,along with an explanation as to why!!!

March 31, 2020 8:49 am


This lockdown will be hitting you hard. Where else are you expected to be able to get rid of those £3 coins of yours if you canny get a decent three course meal?

March 31, 2020 8:53 am

And £2.80 for a pint of Stella 4, Mick. I’ve just bought a small Pacific island with the money saved from donating to William Hill. ?

March 31, 2020 9:14 am

A malt, a Havana and a roaring fire pit will be on the cards this evening after Karen cuts the grass, still wet after our very wet winter ..

March 31, 2020 9:16 am

Promised wee Mick (Acgr)!a nice cigar when we meet up after lockdown, whenever that may be

Malones has a rooftop beer garden so looks like that could be a starter

March 31, 2020 9:17 am

Big Mick.
I used to bet him for first goalscorer every game.
Best one was 33/1 against AC Milan, when I got home and watched the replay I got slightly nervous, as I’m not sure his tap in was going in, before Milan player touched it.
Anyway I was paid out, no problem.
Happy days.
It’s amazing how you remember the good ones.

Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 10:24 am

I honestly didn’t mind big Mick. I think I cut him more slack than I ever did for Caldwell, only because Stephen was one of us.

My big mate used to say “We’d be better wae Mick McManus the wrestler” I always thought that was harsh. That lasted till that night at Tynecastle when he had changed it to “I FUCKING LOVE HIM” … It’s a funny old game! ?

March 31, 2020 10:24 am


Time was,I didn’t donate-I just lent. Let them get cocky then boom.

Dunno what went wrong. Pretty sure that as soon as I needed reading glasses I couldn’t read the form anymore!

Mind you,give you a good one. Before I really needed glasses,about six or seven years ago I was out for an afternoon with about a dozen CQNers. They all knew each other,I was the newbie. And all good,in fact,brilliant lads,as you might expect.

Four of us lingered a bit longer and headed for a curry. Bit posher than my usual,so I reckoned that would mean I would struggle for a decent hot one. Usually the case. Lighting was so dark that I couldn’t make out much,so I picked the one with the highest rating.

Not trying to show off,btw. My taste buds are screwed by an adulthood of alcohol,nicotine and the curry houses in Gibson Street. Not to mention the Sangheet in Ardrossan,where the head waiter would explain the meaning of the menu.

So when the waiter came over with the meals and said-and what would you like as your reward,sir?-I was confused. Apparently,anyone who ordered this was entitled to a reward of a double measure,spirit or liqueur,if they finished it. My response was

WTF have I ordered!!!

The lads took a spoonful each,all said I was in trouble. One of them even spat it out!

Me,lapped it up. Pished fire for four days.

March 31, 2020 10:31 am
March 31, 2020 10:33 am

andy thoms screamer against the flying pig

March 31, 2020 10:38 am
Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 10:38 am

I’m with ATOB from last night.

We are all Time here, living through unprecedented times.
There’s never been a more pressing need to have your friends around you.
We have enough enemies, without making any here.
We need to find a way to respect what each other have to say.
Try and remember that your words have an affect on others.

Life would get boring, real quick, if we all thought, acted and spoke the same …variety is the spice of life!

So, TET & BP it’s bad enough you are isolated in your houses, please don’t isolate from your friends on here.

Hope everyone is ok ?

March 31, 2020 10:39 am

tommos strike :)))) memory lane .

Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 10:43 am

Scotland v England -Hampden 62- Attendance 130,000!

Tony Gillespie
March 31, 2020 10:48 am

“but for the life of me I still don’t understand why stand off rather than immediately close down but them’s the breaks.”

The backing off tactic was the default play of the Celtic defence under Gordon Strachan and it worked very well in Scotland. Celtic used to lose a lot of goals to counter attacking teams and WGS reduced that statistic. Both Caldwell and McManus, when the opposition broke, would jockey and back pedal until the midfield pairing got back to help them. It worked very well when we had midfielders like Brown, Robson and Hartley; less well when it was Gravesen or Jarosik. I used to sit in the Jock Stein upper then beside a choleric punter who was always shouting at them to tackle and dive in. He used to continue seething even when Strachan’s tactic worked well and the attack floundered. As a last line of defence, if you commit and lose, a goal is almost inevitable. If you retreat and allow the midfield to get back and tackle, you might get 2 chances to thwart the attack; if the midfield loses out the CB’s can commit.

There are some managers who can make a sound-ish defence out of some unpromising material. Old Titus Bramble was regularly derided as a bomb scare but, whenever he worked with Steve Bruce, he managed to make a passable imitation of a no nonsense defender. Organisation and blend are important there.

McManus and Caldwell (incidentally, I consider Heid to be the poorer of the 2 players) were made into a successful pairing by Gordon’s tactics but, as usual with Celtic, it all fell to pieces when we entered Europe. Kaka had more guile than the SPL journeymen we faced and so did most European forwards. They knew how to deal with backing off forwards – they just continued to attack them, confident in their ability to force them to commit and sure enough Kaka won out. Gordon’s tactics, even there were sound though. The person who should have taken Kaka out was not Stephen McManus; it should have been Neil Lennon on the half way line.

Incidentally, while there was a big clamour for Bobo to be played, he too had an equally journeyman career after Celtic , playing for 2 relegation threatened Ligue 1 teams at a time when Ligue 1 was not as stellar as it is now. Bobo had limitations as a CB too, being more of a cult CB than a good one. My best pairing in recent times would be the Van Dijk & Denayer partnership.

As for captaincy, it can be over=rated. Leadership is more important and every good team should have 3 or 4 of them. Our current team is over dependant on the force of nature that is Scott Brown. We need room for other leaders like Callum, Jullien and Christie to grow. Introverts and humble players like Rogic & Forrest can only inspire through their play and are too hit and miss in their form as flair players. The choice of giving Mick the captaincy, was a burden because the crowd expected more than he could give. I doubt it bothered his team mates too much or had too much effect for bad or good.

WGS’s team over achieved. He could work wonders with many journeymen- McManus, Caldwell, Robson and Hartley but he needed a sprinkling of magic from Naka and Aiden to liven up what could be dull soup at times.

Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 10:53 am

Scotland(3) v England(1), Hampden 1937, Attendance 149,000 (Official) 180,000 (Unofficial)

March 31, 2020 11:01 am


Pretty good summation,but you damn Bobo by what he did after he left us,rather than by what he achieved when he was with us.

This is a continuing theme,that you decide the value of a player by his value to the team he joined.

Most of us value him by what he achieved with us. Is Andy Robertson our best left back? By your reckoning,he would be.

Plenty of players reached their peak with us. We should be proud of that. They donned The Hooooops,and they gave that extra per cent that comes with the jersey. That they couldn’t quite hit that standard at other clubs doesn’t demean their status as the legends for us that they are.

No kidding,T, for anyone to suggest that Bobo wasn’t a star,far superior to McManus or Caldwell is a trifle strange.

March 31, 2020 11:04 am

Stephen McManus. The Ronseal man. Did what it said on the tin. 🙂

March 31, 2020 11:11 am


Was it an anagram of tish?

Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 11:13 am

England(1) v Scotland(2) June 1977, Attendance 100,000, goals McQueen & Dalglish

Big Audio Dynamite
March 31, 2020 11:16 am

The fact that Bobo frightened the life out of every Rangers player who saw him, was good enough for me!

March 31, 2020 11:24 am

As Bobby says it’s not always a guaranteed indicator of a player’s worth to Celtic on where they go to next or how they fare. Take two examples, Virgil Van Dijk and Jason Denayer. A great defensive partnership for us (and good for a few goals too!). Their youthfulness showed a bit in Europe but that apart, terrific.

Virgil has gone on to great heights and still more to come! Jason on the other hand will now look back on his time at Celtic as the peak of his career so far. He is still only 24 so it will be interesting to see how things turn out. He was not keen on making his stay at Celtic permanent, wanted to go back to first team at Man City. That didn’t work out.

Wish we still had them. Virgil took Jason under his wing. A leader.

March 31, 2020 11:38 am

“There was plenty of hype around Virgil van Dijk during his time at Celtic, but now look at him. The Liverpool defender finished a lowly second behind Lionel Messi in the 2019 Ballon d’Or, and has now gone a full 10 months without lifting the Champions League trophy.” 🙂

Glasgow Live, yesterday.

Tony Gillespie
March 31, 2020 11:50 am

“but you damn Bobo by what he did after he left us,rather than by what he achieved when he was with us.
This is a continuing theme,that you decide the value of a player by his value to the team he joined.”

Bobby, I was responding to precisely this sentence in the text by Mahe:-

“That the Well ended up his destination should ultimately show that he just wasn’t top drawer but a solid campaigner.”

Is Mahe guilty of the same fault? I think it is a fair mark of a player’s ability to see what clubs are interested in them but it does not define them totally. Bobo was 31 when he left us- still in his peak years as a CB, which should be around 26 to 32. Despite his heroics with us, no big club was interested and he left for Valenciennes and Arles-Avignon. Why do you think that was?

Bobo was an impressive specimen of a human being but he was not my idea of a solid centre half. It has often been a weak spot in the Celtic teams I saw and my benchmark is set by the likes of Pat Stanton and Marc Reiper. The poorest CBs I have seen were Frank Munro, Willie Garner and, my personal dislike, Glenn Loovens.

Tony Gillespie
March 31, 2020 11:56 am


I doubt Jason is looking back on Celtic as his highlight. He’ll be pretty happy earning big bucks at Lyon and challenging for Europa places in Ligue 1 with Lyon and he has gone on to collect 12 caps with Belgium, a top rated national side and he gained only one of those while with Celtic. He would improve our defence no end but he’s been used to earning a lot more than we pay.

March 31, 2020 11:58 am


Not that one,but one time,a Sunday,working with Sky. New boss who had been advised by my previous bosses not to piss me off. Job and finish,I would usually offer to help out anyone who was struggling. If told it was ok,they were fine,I’m off to the pub.

If they were struggling for equipment,my coal bunker held a lot of it,so they could help themselves,just let me know.

Celtic v Rangers,start of February. No work schedule on a Sunday-Magic. Double time and no work! Just about to bugger off,got grabbed by Satellite Bob fae Stewarton. The thickest boss I’ve ever had to endure.

Nae work schedule,Bob. Off to watch the match. See ya!

Got yer schedule here,son. Fifteen repair jobs,Ballantrae to Ayr.

A repair was a point,an installation was three points. Ballantrae is,well,not fucking near Saltcoats where I was handed the schedule.

Funnily enough,I’m pretty good at getting from A-B,and fairly good at fixing the systems. But I’m not that good that I can get it all done in the three hours that I had before kick off.

But I did my best!!!

The last job was in Masonhill in Ayr,which was a remote link to the upstairs telly that wasn’t working. Just as the game was kicking off anaw,cor I’d done well in three hours. This should be a ten minute job,and I knew I could fire into The Chase round the corner,even if it was a hun pub.

Well,there I was clicking everything into place,getting the signal sent from the box downstairs to the upstairs telly and whatchaknow,Alan Thomson fires one in.

Dunno how I managed to stop myself from using their bed as a trampoline,but I bloody well celebrated it anyway. I think my Dad heard me from across the bay.

Went down the stairs and discovered a pair of miserable huns. None too pleased.

Shrugs shoulders,gets signature,effs off to The Chase.

March 31, 2020 12:08 pm


Aw,that’s a low blow,T As soon as you mention The Peerless Pat,I’m beat. Billy was a man amongst men,George Connelly was the Scottish Beckenbauer,Danny was the best right back ever.

But Pat Stanton,for the one season we had him,was the best defender I’ve ever seen.