Gordon Strachan’s First Season at Celtic – The Class of ‘05/06 – No.2 Paul Telfer
2005/06 appearances 42, goals 1
The problem full-back slot was addressed the following morning, Gordon Strachan going back to his former club Southampton for veteran defender Paul Telfer. The once-capped Scot had also played under him at Coventry City and although now aged 33, his proven versatility was seen as key as the European transfer deadline approached. The Edinburgh-born Telfer signed a two-year deal to become the sixth Celtic signing of the close-season.
Strachan was relatively philosophical about the challenging situation.
“It’s too late now to get anybody in for the first European games but I hope that we can do a bit more before the season starts. We have tried to bring in young players, but they cost money and like Adam [Virgo], he [Telfer] brings many options. They can both play in many positions and that’s what we need. This is a small squad, and we need more quality, but those players can play in various positions.”
The new Celt himself was thrilled with his somewhat unexpected move.
“I am delighted to sign with a club like Celtic at this stage in my career. I look forward to working with Gordon and Garry [Pendrey] again and hope to be part of a team which brings much success to Celtic and its supporters.”
Paul Telfer got an immediate opportunity to impress his new fan-base as Celtic took on Leeds United the following day, a final home friendly before the commencement of the European campaign in midweek. Youngsters Stephen McManus, Michael Gardyne, Paul Lawson, Ross Wallace and Craig Beattie all started, as Gordon Strachan gave some of his senior players a rest before the imminent journey to the continent.
The visiting Leeds support took the opportunity to show some love and respect to their title-winning captain from 1992, now sitting in the home dugout. Despite a spirited showing by his young team, the match ended goalless, as Strachan’s Celtic rang up a fourth successive draw and third blank in front of goal, not the ideal preparation for Europe.