A magical Celtic milestone achieved by John Hartson

A magical Celtic milestone achieved by Big Bad John…

There was a poignant moment in Celtic’s modern history the following Saturday, 5 November 2005, on the eve of the club’s 118th birthday, as Kate Robinson’s stunning statue of Brother Walfrid was unveiled by Hoops chairman Brian Quinn, Walfrid’s great-niece and nephew, his fellow Sligoman Sean Fallon and two refugees.

05/11/05 – Brian Quinn (left) and Sean Fallon (centre) help unveil the Brother Walford memorial statue outside Celtic Park

This was the first such artwork to be installed at the main entrance to Celtic Park and it would later be joined by three others, acknowledging Parkhead legend, Jock Stein, Jimmy Johnstone and Billy McNeill over the coming years.

The four plaques on the base of Walfrid’s statue are quite beautifully presented, retelling the story of the origins of Celtic, our greatest moment in Lisbon and the present, using the quotes of Willie Maley and Stein and the Marist motto, ‘Ignoti et quasi occulti in hoc mundo’, translating to ‘unknown and hidden in the world.’

That phrase would probably have sounded like a decent option for Alex McLeish, as his Rangers side stuttered to a third successive League draw, this time a goalless match with his old club Aberdeen at Ibrox. They had also shared the points twice in their head-to-head Champions League clashes with our old friends Artmedia Bratislava in the same period.


The next day, the men currently wearing the Hoops were in action in Falkirk, where title rivals Hearts and Rangers had both recently stumbled. There would be no such problem for Gordon Strachan’s men, who lined up as follows.

Artur Boruc: Paul Telfer, Bobo Balde, Stephen McManus & Mo Camara: Shunsuke Nakamura, Stan Petrov, Neil Lennon & Aiden McGeady: John Hartson & Shaun Maloney.

Celts went ahead for the first time in three games against the Bairns when Shaun Maloney tapped home Mo Camara’s perfect cross from the left just before the break. Within a minute, the Celtic lead was doubled, Aiden McGeady – in for the injured Chris Sutton for his first start since the opening day at Motherwell, with Maloney pushed forward to partner John Hartson – dancing in from the left to beat Matt Glennon at his near post.

On the hour, Celts got a third, another piece of history as Camara again did well on the left to set up Maloney, whose fierce drive was brilliantly parried by the keeper, only for the big Celtic Dragon John Hartson to fire home to reach his century of goals for the Bhoys. The game finished 3-0, allowing Celtic to regain the top spot.

A beaming Hartson explained afterwards how it felt to achieve that particular milestone.

“Some great players have reached 100 goals for Celtic, and to be in that sort of company makes me very proud. Hopefully, there will be a few more to come.”

There certainly would be, John.

An extract from Majic, Stan and The King of Japan – the new blockbuster from Matt Corr, published by Celtic Star Books on Friday, 20 October 2023, with a major launch event to be held at Celtic Park the previous evening. Tiockets available now at…

If you can’t make it along to this unique Celtic event on the night, you can pre-order your signed and personalised copies of the new book now HERE.

Join The Celtic Star at the Kerrydale on Thursday 19 October when we celebrate the launch of Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan which tells the story of Gordon Strachan’s first season as Celtic manager. We’ll have the trophies that the Celtic team won that season plus well delighted welcome our special guests John Hartson and Stephen McManus, both stars of that Celtic team.

And we have other guests to be announced later this week plus there’s live music from the wonderful Boolavogue. Tickets are selling fast for what is sure to be a wonderful night of Celtic conversation and music and you can order below…

About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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