Achill Island CSC

Achill Island CSC 2

One of the most publicised of Celtic banners of recent times when Zombies went into a fury online claiming that an ‘Achill Islam’ banner had been created by Celtic fans in support of Islamic fundamentalists.

Achill Island CSC 1

This came as news to those supporters who’d travelled to the cup final from Achill Island, off the coast of Mayo in the Irish Republic.

It didn’t take long for the Achill Bhoys to set the Zombies straight . . .


Achill's Taliban Tims




Henrik Larsson interview, 2014: “Celtic was a mystical club”

Henrik Larsson at 40


The King of Kings recently gave an interview in the German football magazine ’11 Freunde’.  He had some very interesting, funny and moving things to say – about Celtic and much, much more.


If your German is any good read the whole interview here:


Jens 1893 kindly translated some of the article’s highlights on the Huddleboard.  Here they are:


His toughest opponent: “Craig Moore, he yelled at me for 90 minutes and kicked me all over the pitch. He tried everything he could to get into my head. But: He never whined when I got him. And I got him hard several times.”

Colin Hendry once said “When I play against Larsson, I feel small and clueless: “He really said that? Is there a nicer compliment for a Celtic player?”

On his switch from Feyenoord to Celtic: “I was looking for a new adventure. Celtic was a mystical club. That fascinated me.”

On Celtic´s importance to the fans: “During my first season, Rangers had a chance to win ten in a row. We could have sealed the title with a win on the next to last game, but we drew so everything was wide open. After the game an old Celtic fan hugged me with tears in his eyes and kept saying: “You need to win that fucking title for us!” That´s when I realised you don´t play for yourself and your club only, but for the fans who love this fantastic club. We won the league a week later.”

On his nickname “King of Kings” and how fond Celtic fans were of him: “I didn´t realize it at the beginning. One day my older brother called me and told me he´d seen a kid in a Celtic top with my number, but it didn´t have my name on it, but rather simply “god”.

On the pressure the love put him under: “I initially thought it was really disconcerting that people put posters of me on their walls or wore jerseys with my name. That´s not why I became a professional footballer, I simply wanted to play at the highest possible level. In retrospect, their adoration really flatters me. I´m really happy that I managed to put so much joy in people´s lives.”

On Zlatan: “His ego would be useless if he didn´t have this fantastic ability to play football. You can´t fake talent. But he also embodies a change in society. When I played, it was all about the team, now it´s about individuals. But without a team you don´t have a chance – neither in football, nor in life.”

On the best player he ever played with: “Ronaldinho. He saw gaps where others had long quit. When he had the ball, he was the happiest person on the planet. In every practice. He smiled for 98% of the day. When he got to the locker room before practice in the mornings, you automatically had a good mood.”

On whether he got to know Ronaldinho closer: “On my first day, he was really excited and nervous to meet me and he told me how he adored me at the 1994 World Cup. His eyes were glowing. I thought he was taking the piss, but he said: “Henke, you´re my idol!” Henceforth, he called me “Idolo” Bizarre, isn´t it?”

On winning the CL in 2006: “Best party of my life and the first one for which i stayed completely sober. Everyone was there, my wife, my older brother, my friends. I wanted to taste every moment of that night.”

Best moment that night: “Me and my wife were the last to leave the party. The bouncer offered to drive us to the hotel and as we were driving through Paris, my wife started singing “campeones, campeones, ole, ole ole”. She kept on singing when we got to the hotel and suddenly a window opened, Thiago Motta appeared with the European Cup in his hands and he joined in. More and more windows kept opening, van Bommel, van Bronckhorst, Deco and others joined in. Maybe the greatest moment of my career.”

On scoring against Celtic for Barcelona: “For seven years, they played the intro of the “Magnificent Seven” after my goals at Celtic Park. This time it was silent. Some fans even booed me. I´d have loved to just sink into the ground. I have to thank Celtic for everything. That club essentially paid for my house, made me financially independent and turned me into what I am today. I loved the Celtic fans, but I stabbed them in the heart that night. But what was I supposed to do? I was a Barca player.”

On the darkest hour of his career: “June 6th, 2009. I was sitting there in the locker room after a game against Denmark when one of the trainers approached me, gave me my cell phone and told me to call my wife. I replied that I wanted to have a shower first, but he only said it was serious. I thought something had happened to my children!”

That day your younger brother died at age 35: “He had been drug addicted for years. We knew that day was coming. i had to endure how he threw his life away and couldn´t do anything. Henrik Larsson, the football star who was loved all over Europe, who felt invincible, was suddenly helpless. I had everything, he lived in hell. In that moment I realised that football, everything I had in life, was unimportant. I decided to retire in that moment.”

You criticised the Swedish media afterwards: “They made money with our misery. It made me sick, I was disgusted. They demanded me to behave professionally, to be a role model. But they dropped their mask in that moment.”

What shocked you the most? “The papers ran headlines like “Larsson´s brother found dead” when I was still on the pitch. The whole country knew before I knew. Journalists besieged our house and annoyed my parents. They tried everything to get some information. I was used to that kind of media attention and would have been fine, but my family? I´ll never forgive some people for what they did back then.”

On his relationship with his brother: “I was thinking about him every day and I´m still doing so today. That uncertainty. How is he? Where is he? But no money in the world and no doctor could help him defeat those demons. He even changed his name so I didn´t get drawn into his life. I saw my parents age ten years the day they buried their own child. I´d trade every day, every title, every goal for my brother to be alive and healthy. But that´s impossible. That pain is going to stay with me forever.”

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Henrik Larsson celebrates winning European Cup w Barcelona

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Issue 1 and 2 of The Shamrock – Celtic Retro fanzine on sale on line here:

Covers of Issue 1and 2 together small

Tommy Burns and the Winch Mob

Tommy Burns and WGS horsing aroundThis great wee story about the legendary TB comes from former Kilmarnock player Alan Kerr in response to a post from Tommy’s daughter, Jenna.  It features Colin ‘Melly’ Meldrum – now a goalkeeping coach at Celtic Park!

The story was posted on the Celtic Collectibles Facebook page : 

“Myself, David Bagan Mark Roberts, Colin Meldrum and a few others were Y.T.S. at Kilmarnock and we could tell you a few stories about your dad as we were on the receiving end of a few rollickings growing up.

None more so than when we were called in to his office after hearing of us being on a night out in Kilmarnock which wasn’t the smartest move we ever made and we made a few mistakes then.

This time your dad called us all in, asked if we were all out to which 7 or so replys were “yes”.

We were then asked if we had been drinking, which once again we said we had been, no point trying to outfox the legend because he would of went to the ends of the earth to prove it!

With our legs trembling in his wee offfice, he didnt seem that bothered that we had owned up about the drinking.

The third and final question was with that angry expression where the vein in his neck stuck out “who aw got a burd?”

Nobody answered . . .

I’ll ask again “who all got a burd and I want an answer?”

Six of us replied “Melly gaffer”, to which Tommy turned to Melly who was white as a sheet and said “did you walk her home?”

“Yes gaffer” was Mellys reply.

“Did ye get her number Melly?”

“Yes gaffer”

“Did ye winch her?”

“No gaffer”

“Mellly did ye winch her?”

“No honest gaffer I didn’t !!”

“Well you are fined, I canny believe you got her number, walked her home and didn’t winch her!”

Then this big smile came across his face which to our relief, we burst out laughing!

Melly couldn’t believe he was getting fined for no winching the girl and we got off for being out drinking!

Then, with his laugh, Tommy told us to get out and let this be a lesson to us that he had eyes everywhere.

The man new everything about every player at his club, made you feel part of the club, often sent us for cakes after training which he shared with us after taking the best ones obviously!

Just a true gentleman, left a mark on our young careers Jenna because he was the ultimate professional, so much so that after all those years myself, David and Mark went to his funeral just because we felt we couldn’t miss it .

I’m still good friends with David and Mark and also Andy Millen where we often talk about stories and our time at kilmarnock.

It was an absolute honour to have had Tommy as a manager as I was just starting out, but I’ve taking some of his values and ways of working along the way.

God Bless You Tommy.  Forever in our hearts.”

Tommy’s family set up a skin cancer charity in his memory following his death.  Details about the charity and how to make donations can be found here:

The Timaloys of Paradise (The Celtic support – March 1961)

Timaloys of Paradise photo 1961

In the 1950s and 1960s, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly was one of the biggest selling football magazines in the UK.   The magazine’s coverage of the game in Scotland was sparse but Celtic fans did feature in a series about club supporters in March 1961.

The term ‘Tim Aloys’ is not one you hear often nowadays (although Celtic fans still regularly refer to themselves as Tims).   Mystery surrounds the origins of the label but it is believed that the support took this name from a Catholic gang based in the Dalmarnock area near Celtic Park.

The article highlights the charitable aspect of the Celtic support of the time and the respect in which players and club legends such as the towering figure of Willie Maley were held.   As the writer James Scott suggests, this was a lean spell for Celtic – seven years since the League had been won – and there were occasionally outbreaks of disorder by Celtic fans including pitch invasions which caused the Chairman Bob Kelly and his board some concern at the time.

It would be another four years before any silverware returned to Paradise – which made the scenes of celebration all the more joyous when Jock Stein’s team won the Scottish Cup in 1965.

(Click on the photo for a close-up view of the text if required – especially you, Dougie Dougie)

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This photo also featured in the March 1961 issue.  It features Jackie McInally, the father of ex-Celt Alan McInally,  who a leading goalscorer with Kilmarnock back in the day.

Not only is he smoking while posing for the camera, the picture also features Killie’s mascot sheep.   Maybe that’s why the Rugby Park mutton pies are so popular . . .

Killie sheep mascot

Icelandic Tales: “When the Celts go up, to lift the Polar Bear Cup . . .”

Polar Bear Trophy


Celtic take on Icelandic opposition for only the second time tonight as the season formally gets under way and the club marks a new era as our new manager Ronnie Deila takes charge of his first competitive game.

The club’s only previous visit to Iceland, to play Valur in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1975, resulted in one of the most peculiar gifts being presented to the club and stored in the Celtic Park trophy vault.  The image above, of a polar bear about to devour a seal, is the piece carved from stone which was gifted to Celtic, managed at the time by Sean Fallon due to Jock Stein’s absence following a serious car crash.   It is known, imaginatively, as the Polar Bear Trophy.


Celtic v Valur programme 1975


It was something of a harbinger of what was to come as Celtic mauled the Icelanders 9-0 on aggregate, having won the away leg 2-0 and followed that up by scoring seven without reply at Celtic Park.  Celtic’s first scorer in the home tie just happened to be the club’s first ever Icelandic signing, Johannes Edvaldsson, known affectionately to the Celtic support as ‘Shuggie’.


Johannes Edvaldsson sticker


A former Valur player, Shuggie played opposite his brother Atli in both legs and he was definitely the star attraction in Reykjavik, as this striking poster advertising the game demonstrates:


Johannes Edvaldsson match poster Valur

Here’s hoping that the new manager gets off to a winning start and we go on to enjoy a successful Champions League campaign.  It is fair to say that while Ronnie might be dreaming of leading the Bhoys to the football cathedrals of the Nou Camp or the Bernabeu, his immediate surroundings tonight – as posted by @leftybhoy on Twitter – should help inspire him to greater things.


Rekyaviik dugout


Come on you Bhoys in Green!