Gordon Strachan’s First Season at Celtic – The Class of ‘05/06 – No.1: Artur Boruc
2005/06 appearances 40, goals 0
Poland was again the destination for Celtic’s next addition, this time the capital city of Warsaw.
Having failed to sign the Finnish international goalkeeper Antii Niemi, who had been outstanding in Scottish football with Hearts and was currently starring for Gordon’s old club Southampton, Strachan secured a year-long loan deal – with an option to extend – for Poland’s back-up keeper Artur Boruc of Legia Warsaw, to challenge David Marshall for the gloves at Parkhead.
On Wednesday, 13 July 2005, the ‘Holy Goalie’ arrived in Glasgow to start a love affair with the Celtic support which exists to this day. The confident Boruc was quite clear in his objectives, despite his rival Jerzy Dudek’s recent Champions League success with Liverpool in Istanbul.
“I want to be number one with Celtic and Poland and win myself a longer contract here. If I play well over here, then Jerzy Dudek will have a little problem in Liverpool.
“This is a big club, a great club and maybe we are going to be in the Champions League. I remember seeing one Celtic game on television – in Seville against Porto – and the one thing I remember was that there were so many supporters.”
The now former Legia Warsaw captain also acknowledged the presence of his international skipper Maciej Zurawski as a positive factor in his decision to move to Glasgow, Boruc having had offers to go to Turkey with Trabzonspor, or to London and Crystal Palace.
“For me, the acclimatisation should be a bit easier at a new club because I can speak English a bit. But I will have a Polish colleague too, which is very important.”
Life would never be quite the same for the brilliant but eccentric Artur or for Celtic.
We just hadn’t realised it yet.
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