Worst XIs returns with Amanda White’s look at the worst eleven players to have ever donned the famous green and white hoops of Celtic…
Ian Andrews – 5 appearances
While Rab Douglas, Magnus Hedman, Dimitri Kharine and more vying for the gloves, it’s the folkloric glow of Ian Andrews nightmare Old Firm debut that wins him the job. Taking over in goals for the champions after a summer signing from Leicester (due to an injury to Pat Bonner) Andrews stood stock still and helpless in a 5-1 thumping at Ibrox. Although further analysis shows the goals were as much down to some horrendous defending and not all his fault (bar maybe one) the damage was done, confidence was shot and by the time of Celtics European Cup tie against the good guys of Werder Bremen, he had been replaced by the aging presence of Alan Rough and turned into Scottish footballs biggest punchline. When it’s 1988 and you are getting replaced by Scruffy, you deserve a place in this side.
Edson Braafheid – 12 appearances
The defence was incredibly hard – Gillespie? Henchoz? Virgo? Tebily? McNally? Lee Martin? However, our right back is a man famed for his attitude, and for being a man of trivia. Quick, name the only Celtic player to ever play in a World Cup Final? Yes, step forward Edson Brafheed, Dutch International, World Cup runner up, and a man for whom every game of Scottish Football was beneath him. On loan from Bayern Munich in 2010 to try and showcase himself for the World Cup in South Africa, Braafheid makes the team for a series of terrible performances, a terrible attitude (he stormed out of Hampden after missing out on a semi final place against Ross County), a needless handball at a crucial time against Aberdeen, and his contribution to one of Celtics darkest hours, the 4-0 thrashing from St Mirren. And also for falling behind perennial whipping boy Lee Naylor. His final contribution to Celtic was a thumping free kick goal – that was chalked off because it was an indirect free kick. And yes, somehow, his stint did work, and he played in a World Cup Final…take that Lee Naylor.
Rafael Scheidt – 3 appearances
If we didn’t mention the curious case of Rafael Scheidt, this team wouldn’t have much credibility. Signed by John Barnes on the recommendation of Kenny Dalglish and a VHS tape of his finest moments without anyone seeing him play, Celtic shelled out a whopping 4.8 million on the Brazilian international. Small problem – he really was, well, Scheidt, and when it turned out he might have got those caps as part of a scam to sell Brazilians abroad. He left as perhaps the single greatest waste of money in British football history. Oh and again, we must mention that surname. He once defiantly claimed “I want this to be the Scheidt year!” to much amusement. Lacking pace, ability, tenacity, and mobility, his time at Celtic is summed up that Martin O’Neill sent him packing on the grounds that he liked “footballers who aren’t like you, I like footballers who play well…“
Du Wei – 1 appearance
Signed on a reputed four year deal (but – and keep this in mind – with a clause to quickly send him back to China if it didn’t work out) the signing of Du Wei was seen as a coup for Celtic. In fact, no less a personage than Scottish national hero Diego Maradona raved about Du Wei’s speed, alertness and positional sense. And all that speed, alertness and positional sense was shown in his only 45 minutes for Celtic as he was utterly bullied and tormented by the legendary Tom Brighton in an infamous cup defeat away at Clyde. Wei gave away a penalty, made another error that lead to a Clyde goal that was disallowed harshly, and was totally lost in a nightmare debut. Hooked at half time for Adam Virgo, Wei never pulled on the first team shirt again and went back to being China’s national team captain.
Mo Camara – 24 appearances
Older Celtic fans swear by Brian Whittaker and his physical attempts at “tackling” but Mo’s hapless performance on debut against Artmedia Bratislava takes a lot of beating. Thrown into a Champions League qualifier, Camara bumbled and stumbled through an infamous 5-0 defeat that kicked off the Strachan era in shambles. Blessed without an ability to mark, read the play, or tackle, Camara also couldn’t attack. One memorable game against Dundee United saw Camara make two lung bursting runs down the wing, only to run the ball out of play under no pressure twice in a row, as if it was a plan. The one thing going for Mo was he was happy – no one was ever happier than him when people cheered him. So he had that going for him.
Martin Hayes – 10 appearances
The story goes that Hayes was heading from Arsenal to lower league Brentford for 150000 when all of sudden Celtic came in at the last minute with a 625000 bid. Why? We’re not sure either, but Hayes certainly wasn’t the big money signing that was going to turn the tide against the all conquering Rangers. That such a big money signing only played 10 games in such a poor side as Celtic were at the time says a lot, but more telling is a story that after arriving late for training (having fallen asleep in his car) he saw the Celtic team going through their paces, and tried to offer an apology for his lateness to Liam Brady. Bradys response? “To be honest Martin, no one noticed you were gone…“
Stuart Slater – 56 appearances, 3 goals
Celtics record signing at the time for 1.5 million pounds, the self explanatory nickname of “Jigsaw” (because he goes to pieces in the box) summed up Slaters time in Scotland. There were also plenty of stepovers or attempts to pick a pass, only for a burly Scottish defender to kick him and steal the ball. His debut delayed by a dodgy burger, Slaters first goal (against Aberdeen roughly 20 odd games into his Celtic career) was celebrated by the player as if he’d scored the winner in the Cup Final and after a terrible time he was shipped off for 750000 to Ipswich. Perhaps Slaters career is summed up that he was reported at the time in the Scottish press as being “the world champion at keepy-uppy” – again, not the greatest way to survive in Scottish football with burly Motherwell defenders kicking lumps out of you.
Juninho – 14 appearances
So the 3rd midfielder comes down to a choice of the obscure journeyman who simply didn’t cut it (Gray, De Ornelas, Guppy) or the high paid veteran who simply disappointed (Keane, Ljungberg). In the end though, Juninho just scrapes in to our final starting spot. After a fine debut in the heat of an Old Firm derby, the rest of Juninho’s stint at Celtic involved him looking totally dis-interested, not willing to engage in the physical battle, and a truly talented player ended up sitting on the bench as an expensive luxury. In fairness to Juninho, you hardly sign him for workrate, but he seemed to sign to play for an Old Firm game, and then the rest he just couldn’t be bothered with.
Wayne Biggins – 10 appearances
It’s fair to say at a time when Rangers could attract players such as Laudrup and Gascoigne, the £100,000 signing of one 33 year old Wayne Biggins for Celtic didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. In fact, Biggins debut was memorable for the fact he was booed onto the pitch, to a loud chorus of “who the f*ckin hell are you?” – now it wasn’t all Biggins fault. Celtic were in crisis, Lou Macari and the board were despised, and Biggins was miles out of his depth. However his signing has been described as “Celtic’s all time low point” and “poking the wounds with a sword to see how much they hurt” – which is a pretty good way to earn your place in an all time worst XI.
Mo Bangura – 16 appearances
If Biggins was out of his depth, at least he had some self awareness. No such luck with Mo Bangura, who joined Celtic as a self confessed stepping stone to a glittering future in the EPL and Serie A (maybe signing to the big leagues within a year). Saddled with an alleged 2.2 million pound price tag and a personal recommendation from Hoops idol Henrik Larsson, 16 appearances yielded 0 goals, 1 assist and roughly 6 or 7 shots that hit the corner flag. Bangura also launched an enthusiastic chase down of an opponent…who was about to be substituted. Miles out of his depth, Bangura had a chance to get back at the Tic when he was on loan to Elfsborg and he drew his parent club in the Champions League qualifiers. He missed two sitters.
Tony Cascarino – 31 appearances, 4 goals
Signed from Aston Villa for 1.1 million pounds in 1991, Cascarino was an abject disaster, despite the heroics of scoring in an Old Firm derby (which he celebrated by getting pissed and falling asleep in a Chinese restaurant). The lowlights included being sent off just minutes after his first goal against Hearts (which took until October), clattering a policewoman at Broomfield while chasing the ball and getting sued for her injuries, and breaking the glass at the Tennents Sixes attempting a 1-2 and holding proceedings up while it was repaired. Later complaining Celtic played “too much football” for him, he headed to Chelsea in 1992 in a swap deal for Tom Boyd, a deal the Jungle celebrated with a huge chorus of “Let’s all laugh at Chelsea“.
A choice of four for the manager: Barnes, Brady, Macari and Mowbray. This list has gone for Mowbray because by that stage Celtic were expected to not only challenge in Europe – Barnes was out of his depth, Brady and Macari managed a shambolic club, but everything was set for Mowbray to come in and get Celtic playing attractive football. Instead, in an abject shambles, his reign ended before one season was out, infamously in a 4-0 defeat to St Mirren where the last 15 minutes were played with Aiden McGeady at full back and Andy Dorman playing like Gareth Bale. Barnes goes close, but Mowbrays debacle just wins out.
Here are some (dis)honourable mentions that make up the bench of this Worst XI:
- Magnus Hedman
- Joe Filippi
- Adam Virgo
- Gary Gillespie
- Stephane Henchoz
- Fernando De Ornales
- Lee Martin
- Henri Camara
- Jeremie Aliadere
- Jim Melrose
That concludes the Worst XI for Celtic. A big thank you to Amanda for this and you can follow her on Twitter at @Jobbergirl1985. As always give us your Worst XI for Celtic in the comments or over on social media and stay tuned for more from The Long Ball coming soon.