RE­MEM­BER I USED OWNER FAVOURITE HOPE

Australian Four Four Two - - UPFRONT -

What is your favourite memory from your time at Celtic?

Michael Kear­ney, via Twit­ter There are so many! The day that we stopped Rangers win­ning 10 ti­tles in a row, the day that we se­cured the Tre­ble and the day we reached the UEFA Cup fi­nal. I’ve prob­a­bly missed about 50 oth­ers. I didn’t know much about Celtic when I ar­rived; about seven of us joined at the same time and we didn’t re­ally un­der­stand the pres­sure. We came into a sit­u­a­tion where we had to stop Rangers from win­ning 10 straight ti­tles – they’d have been the first team to do it. We didn’t un­der­stand all of that, which was why we man­aged to keep our heads. If we’d been there longer and known we had to stop Rangers from win­ning 10 in a row, it would have been much more dif­fi­cult.

Who was the best man­ager that you worked un­der in your play­ing ca­reer?

Lind­say Hamil­ton, by email I had many good man­agers: Wim Jansen, Martin O’Neill, Frank Ri­jkaard and Alex Fer­gu­son to name just a few. And Martin knew how to get ev­ery­body mo­ti­vated. I re­mem­ber when we were about to go onto the field at Liver­pool in the sea­son we reached the UEFA Cup fi­nal – we’d drawn 1-1 at Celtic Park so had to score at An­field. The talk he gave be­fore the game made ev­ery­thing sink in for me. I said to my­self, ‘F**king hell, I will have no re­grets after this game.’ In 1999, an in­fa­mous photo ap­peared of you at Lyon with part of your leg vir­tu­ally dan­gling off. Did that hor­ror in­jury feel just as bad as it looked? Da­mon Main, via Face­book That ru­ined my po­ten­tial ca­reer as a leg model – I’ve been told I’ve got great legs! [ Laughs] I’ve still got the ti­ta­nium rod in my leg. Straight after I broke it, I did two things. Firstly, it was a Dutch ref­eree so I said to him in Dutch, “I think I’ve bro­ken my leg”, as when I raised it, it was hang­ing the wrong way. Then, as I was lay­ing on the ground, I counted the months to the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. This was in the Oc­to­ber and Euro 2000 was that com­ing sum­mer. That was my tar­get, and in the end I man­aged to play in the tour­na­ment. But un­der­stand me on this: I’m glad that I broke my leg in 1999 rather than in ’87 or ’79, as back then I would have been fin­ished. After your leg break you came back bet­ter than ever. Why was that? Kevin Cherry, via Twit­ter A lot of peo­ple did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble for me to come back a bet­ter player: Bill Leach the sur­geon, phys­ios Brian Scott and Kenny McMil­lan, Gra­ham Quinn the masseur and Jim Hendry the fit­ness guy. I sud­denly strug­gled with the sim­ple things in life that you take for granted, like go­ing to the loo. I don’t think any­one who hasn’t been in that sit­u­a­tion un­der­stands what it’s like. Those things made me want to fight even harder to come back, play foot­ball and give it ev­ery­thing I had. In your first full sea­son after the in­jury, you won the Euro­pean Golden Boot. How proud are you of that? Ben Shim­min, via Face­book No other Scan­di­na­vian player has ever done that, and we’ve had some de­cent play­ers. I scored 53 goals, with 35 of them in the league. I’m very proud of it, but I couldn’t have done it with­out my team-mates: Chris Sut­ton, Tom Boyd, Alan Thomp­son, Di­dier Agathe, Regi Blinker, Jackie McNa­mara and Lubo Mo­rav­cik. They were all part of it. I read once that Chris Sut­ton was your favourite strike part­ner, ahead of some bril­liant con­tenders. Is it true? Shawn Arm­strong, by email Yes, that’s right. Chris and I were a re­ally good strike part­ner­ship, as he could be the shield for me. We un­der­stood each other and had a great rapport, as did our fam­i­lies. We still have that now.

What’s the weird­est thing you ever got tan­gled up in your dread­locks?

James Moore, via Twit­ter De­fend­ers! They were al­ways try­ing to grab them! The dread­locks were easy to main­tain: I got up in the morn­ing and flicked my head. If they got too big, I’d pull them apart ev­ery now and again. In the end I got too old for them.

Why the tongue cel­e­bra­tion?

Ameen Rab­bani, via Face­book It just hap­pened. I saw a pic­ture of it after a game when I had done it and thought, ‘Why not stick with it?’ But I started get­ting let­ters from par­ents, up­set that their kids were run­ning around with their tongues out, and I couldn’t be both­ered with those let­ters any more. So I stopped it. At the 2002 World Cup you played along­side a 20-year-old Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic. Did he have the swag­ger even at his first ma­jor tour­na­ment? Jimmy Fair­bairn, by email He was more naïve at the time, but still a great per­son­al­ity. He had the skills but he didn’t have all the bits in place. Back then I was asked how good he could be and I said it was up to him, as he had ev­ery­thing. Now he’s one of the world’s best strik­ers, and has been for years.

Was the 2003 UEFA Cup Fi­nal loss to Porto the worst day of your ca­reer?

An­dre Freitas, via Face­book Yes. We had Porto on the fork – I’d scored two, but we still couldn’t win. That was very hard to take. Win­ning a Euro­pean tro­phy with Celtic would have meant so much to us and the fans. There were so many peo­ple who trav­elled with­out a ticket – they just wanted to be there in Seville to see us win... [ pauses with emo­tion in his voice] but we didn’t man­age to do it. I still get goose­bumps talk­ing about it now. That Porto team went on to win the Cham­pi­ons League. That’s tes­ta­ment to how good a team we had that year.

How dif­fi­cult was the de­ci­sion to leave Celtic and join Barcelona?

John Boyd, via Twit­ter It was hard but I felt that if I didn’t score for a cou­ple of games, the me­dia would say, “He’s not the same Lars­son any more” and I wanted to quit while I was

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