The “Maestro” was well named. In all his years at the club from his debut in 1982 until he limped off the field at Stark’s Park in 1997, there was no-one who could really challenge the claim that he was Scotland’s best player.
What a pity it was that it was his misfortune to come at the wrong time when Celtic were in the doldrums both on the field and more particularly in the Boardroom. Had he been around when Jock Stein or Martin O’Neill had been Manager, what a difference there would have been!
It wasn’t that he didn’t have success – three League Championships, four Scottish Cups and one League Cup – at Celtic and 76 caps for Scotland speak for themselves – but it could have been an awful lot more. A visionary passer, a passionately hard worker, an ability to take a goal, he was a very complete player for the only club that he ever wanted to play for.
He played for no-one else, and will always be Paul McStay of Celtic. Once at the end of the 1991/92 season he threw his jersey into the crowd as if he were leaving, but he changed his mind. Like Jimmy McGrory of old, he couldn’t really have played for anyone else.