Five Times When Celtic Players Have Lit Up The Euros

With the domestic season no longer being endured, many Celtic fans are now beginning to turn their attention to Scotland’s upcoming European Championships campaign. Steve Clarke’s 26-man squad has been announced and no fewer than four Celtic players feature. Meanwhile, many other Celts have been selected to represent their various respective countries.

With the Euros in mind, we decided to explore five times when Celtic players have lit up the competition over the years… here’s what we came up with.

5. Stiliyan Petrov’s free kick stuns Belgium – Euro 2004 qualifier

Bulgaria qualified for Euro 2004 in emphatic style, topping qualification group 8 comfortably. They may have lost all three games in the full competition, including being defeated 5-0 by Henrik Larsson’s Sweden, but in qualifying they were unstoppable. Multiple goals from Berbatov and Petrov ensured that the likes of Belgium and Croatia were defeated against all the odds. Petrov’s free kick, shown in the video above, sealed a 2-0 victory.

4. Aiden McGeady’s brace v Georgia – Euro 2016 qualifier

Ireland won’t be participating in this year’s Euros, but they enjoyed an exciting tournament last time around thanks, in part, to Aiden McGeady. The Scottish born Irishman scored a brace against Georgia in the opening game of the qualifiers. The boys in green finished third in a tough group, then overcame Bosnia & Herzegovina in a play off. Pitted against Sweden, Belgium and Italy at the tournament, Martin O’Neill’s side defied the odds to reach the round of 16. He, alongside another former Celt (Roy Keane), could be delighted with their players’ efforts, but ultimately France were a step too far in the knockout stages.

3. Paul McStay’s goal v CIS – Euro 92

Once upon a time, Scotland qualified regularly for major tournaments. 1992 was just one of many occasions that this happened, although they failed to advance from the group stage due to defeats against Germany and the Netherlands. Victory against CIS, who were a transitional side for the Soviet Union, restored some pride in the final game. Paul McStay’s outstanding strike from range sent the Tartan Army on their way, before goals from another former Celt in Brian McClair, and Rangers’ Assistant Gary McAllister, completed the job.

2. Paddy Bonner’s string of saves as Ireland beat England – Euro 1988

Ireland’s most famous victory is arguably the 1-0 win over England at Euro ’88. Understandably, Ray Houghton gets the credit for his winning goal that day, but Bonner played an important part too. Ireland dominated the first half, but the Celtic keeper made some magnificent saves in the second 45, including one towards the end of the above clip, when he thwarted Gary Lineker from close range.

1. Henrik Larsson’s goal of the tournament – Euro 2004

Following a campaign to bring Henrik Larsson out of international retirement, the King of Kings took part in Euro 2004 and scored this magnificent flying header, which was voted goal of the tournament. Larsson scored three goals in as many group games and converted his spot kick in the shoot out against Holland in the Quarter Finals. However, Sweden bowed out in that fixture, losing the shoot out 5-4.

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up on the English south coast with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were previously sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are now available on Amazon.

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