When he joined Celtic on 1 January 2012, you could have been forgiven for thinking we had signed a pale imitation of Johnny Depp, with his flicked up rear locks and facial hair resembling a jolly pirate, he looked totally unconvincing as a player, especially one soon to be plying his trade among the thugs of Scottish football.
He did of course come with some international pedigree, and had been signed on a pre-contract four months earlier by Celtic, from Rosenborg, after spending four seasons with them, there was also some English and Spanish interest in taking this swashbuckling lookalike to other parts of the world, but he chose a move to Celtic, as in his words, he knew they were a big club with a massive support.
Mikael Lustig, had in his four years at Rosenborg made 136 appearances scoring 21 goals, incidentally the same number of goals he would achieve in his seven and a half years with Celtic, he was however bought for his defensive abilities and not as a goal scoring threat, he did however chip in with a few nice ones, on the odd occasion.
It’s true that in his initial Celtic appearances as a right back. Much like Henrik Larsson’s career started at Celtic, Lustig was blamed for giving away a goal against Aberdeen in his first game. In his early time with us, Mikael never seemed to look like he was ever going to be good enough for most of the parkhead faithful, he even had a poor European championship with Sweden that year.
Things however soon started to turn around for him, and with some injuries to key players (Adam Mathews and Izzaguirre) Neil Lennon stuck with him, and he improved. Lustig then had a good solid campaign in the 2012/13 Champions league winning MOTM in several games, and he also started to increase his popularity with the parkhead faithful, as he always seemed to give his best for the club, no showboating just good solid performances.
Lustig scored his first, as well as Celtics first goal in a home game in September 2012 (a two all draw against Hibernian), there was some debate at the time, whether he should have been awarded both the first and second goals, but the second was eventually named an own goal. Mikael actually started his career as a striker. Lustig continued to impress season after season, throughout the relentless march to 8IAR with some solid performances and also showed some classic moments. In January 2015 against Motherwell after 3 months of inaction, in his first game for Celtic since November he stole the show, in a 4-0 win and scored a brace and should have had a hat trick. Celtic hit the underside of the bar three times, the other goals were scored by VVD and Griff.
Lustig’s rabona in a 25 passing move, involving everyone in the full Celtic eleven, in 2017 led to a goal for Moussa Dembele, who then sealed his hat-trick in a 5–2 away win over St.Johnstone, is always worth another watch. Calmac’s back heel to Moussa isnae too terrible either. The passing and ultimate goal was selected for the Puskas award that season.
Probably PC Lustigs two most iconic moments in the hoops, was nicking a policeman’s hat in celebration, of James Forrest’s goal during the 5-0 win over Sevco at Celtic park.
The other came against Sevco in 29th Apr 2017 the 5-1 home hammering inflicted upon them, he scored the fifth goal, with a solo run any striker would be proud of, and displayed one of the best celebrations I’ve ever seen, at their home ground. He was booked for his celebration and seemed to not give a jot about the booking, as he loved beating the huns. The guy just got it, and was definitely a Tim at heart.
Unfortunately for Mikael as happens, time had caught up with him by 2019 and teams would target the fact his play was becoming slower, and he had lost his sharpness, he was now 33 years of age, but PC Lustig is one of only three players who were there every step of the way as Celtic marched towards the 8IAR, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Mikael, he was one of the bhoys, and he needs to come back for the 10IAR party as he was a massive part of it, and should be welcomed back by one and all. You could always see, both on and off the park the happiness he had just by being part of Celtic. The guy just got what we were all about. And although hailing from Sweden he was just like one of our own.
Mikael played 254 games for Celtic, and won 8 league titles, 4 Scottish Cup medals and 4 Scottish league cup medals, he was part of The Invincibles, and the Treble Treble, noa a bad haul of treasure for the jolly pirate that we signed over seven years ago.
From the man himself: Rangers fans might want to take a picture, then say something Rangers. I might then say ‘5-1’, and then walk away laughing’. Mikael Lustig (2017)
Thank you PC Lustig, we hope you come back and enjoy the party.