Achieving Our Goals
We all look forward to SALTIRE’s weekly trawl through the archives,and nobody more than MAHE and me. Equally,we are always delighted when one of our members sends us a guest article for publication.
Apart from sharing their opinions,it gives the rest of the readers a day off from having to read what MAHE and I are thinking. Relief all round,I would say!
Also,sometimes I read a comment which encourages an article. Last week,it was one by CFC,this week I have AWENAW to thank for making my life a little easier. I had shamefully forgotten that we signed The Magnificent Seven,Henrik Larsson,25 years ago yesterday. He arrived at Celtic Park largely unknown-though I remembered at the time that he had been in the Sweden team which finished third in World Cup USA,1994. And frankly,I hadn’t beren too impressed then.
It didn’t take Henke long to change my mind,even if his Celtic career had a rather ignominious start. 242 goals in 313 games will have that effect,a strike rate approaching 80% over his seven seasons. And that’s despite having missed most off 1999-2000 due to a serious leg break. Yet I would say that his goal rate improved stratospherically in 1998,with the arrival of Lubo Moravcik. And again from the arrival of Chris Sutton two years later.
It was a sad day for everyone when he left in 2004,joining Barcelona where he won The Champions League almost single-handedly,according to Thierry Henry!He was,of course,voted into our best ever eleven by the fans,and I doubt if any Celtic fan is ever likely to have a bad word said about him.
Celtic have long been associated with strikers of the highest quality though.
Our greatest ever striker was Jimmy McGrory,but I was just a little late to see him play! I was too late too for the likes of Stevie Chalmers and Joe McBride-36goals before Christmas 1966,before a knee injury put paid to his season. I was lucky enough to see over a decade of Bobby Lennox,who scored even more than Henrik,and he wasn’t even a striker! There was Kenny Dalglish and Dixie Deans for a while,before we had the likes of Frank McGarvey,Charlie Nichols and George McCluskey.
David Hay brought us the sublime Brian McClair and the odios Judas,both magnificent strikers for us,and we looked to be in some bother when they left prior to The Centenary Season.
Not at all. Billy McNeill signed Andy Walker and Frank McAvennie,whose goals got us over the line in a pulsating season. The forward line fell fallow for a good few years after that,until Tommy Burns signed Pierre Van Hooijdonk and Jorge Cadete. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen a better more natural finisher than Jorge-but even he couldn’t prevent a financially doped Rangers pulling off their tainted nine. Then he left,just when we surely needed him most,big Pierre having gone previously.
No. Henrik arrived. Then Chris Sutton and BBJ. Gary Hooper,Moussa Dembele,even Leigh Griffiths and Edouard,who rather spoiled their copybook towards the end. And now we have G-Mak and Kyogo,who both had a healthy goals per game ratio,even if they each missed large chunks of the season.
If I had to choose a favourite from that list of twenty or more,it would be Henrik. Of course it would be. But I didn’t think I would see a better goalscorer than Jorge,and was heartbroken when he left. But I forgot how well we have seemed to do in that area of the field-and long may it continue!
Above article by BMCUWP