It’s Magic Stan with a hat-trick – Bulgarian powerhouse turns match-winner

It’s Magic Stan with a hat-trick -Bulgarian powerhouse turns match-winner…

Artur Boruc was in his usual place on Sunday, 22 October 2005, up against a young and hirsute partnership of Kris Boyd and Steven Naismith as Celtic travelled to face Jim Jeffries’ Kilmarnock.

Shaun Maloney replaced Alan Thompson, whilst top goalscorer John Hartson once again had to be content with a spot on the bench, Gordon Strachan sticking with Craig Beattie and Chris Sutton up top. The English striker was involved in the only goal of the game, midway through the first half, Sutton holding the play up perfectly for the marauding Stan Petrov to dash between two defenders and dink the ball over Graeme Smith in the home goal.

Just as it had been that title-winning day back in April 2004, the midfielder’s goal would be enough to clinch the three points at Rugby Park.

Stan Petrov Glasgow Celtic V Hearts Celtic Park, Glasgow 15 October 2005 Photo Allstar/RichardxSelle

The Bulgarian powerhouse was on fire in midweek, as an unchanged Hoops line-up began the second round of League fixtures against Terry Butcher’s Motherwell at Celtic Park, on Wednesday, 26 October 2005. Petrov opened the scoring within 15 minutes after a delightful through ball from Shaun Maloney, before the new Scottish international midfielder made it 2-0 soon afterwards, Maloney bringing a crossed ball down on his chest before firing home at the far post.

Just before the interval, a tremendous Stan Petrov drive from the edge of the box crashed into the Motherwell net off the post for a glorious third, but the highlight of the evening was Celtic’s fourth goal, a wonderful free-kick from Shunsuke Nakamura which flew into the postage stamp corner with former Rangers keeper Graeme Smith a helpless onlooker. As an aside, it can’t be too often that you face two different goalkeepers in successive matches with identical names!


The biggest cheer of the night was then nipped in the bud by a linesman’s flag, after Neil Lennon had scored what appeared to be his first goal in five years, but a fifth Celtic strike would soon be forthcoming, Stan Petrov completing his hat-trick with another trademark run and finish, after Chris Sutton had delightfully dummied a through ball on the right of the Motherwell penalty area.

This was the first night I recall Celtic Park reverberating to the chant of “One Gordon Strachan!” after a really weird introductory three months, his side on the up whilst Alex McLeish’s Rangers appeared to be in freefall. The struggling title-holders lost a two-goal lead in the second half to draw at Almondvale, Hoops-daft Robert Snodgrass with a double for Paul Lambert’s Livingston.

The Celtic manager was fulsome in his praise of his own Bulgarian scoring star in his post-match comments.

“[Stiliyan] has got everything, and he showed us his range of skills from the middle of the park. I was delighted to get five goals and the manner in which we got them was very pleasing. We started slowly but our imagination and variation of play was excellent. Everyone played their part.”

Matt Corr

Match Highlights…

A short extract from Majic, Stan and The King of Japan –  Matt Corr’s new book, available now via Celtic Star Books, all Celtic FC stores and on Amazon.

Click on the image below to get a copy signed by Celtic legend John Hartson and also the book’s author Matt Corr…

Click on the image above to order your signed copy – both Matt Corr and John Hartson will sign your book!

Order your signed and personalised copies signed by both the author and also John Hartson HERE.

Please note that the book is now also available via Amazon Kindle from the link below…

Read the Majic, Stan and the King of Japan Book Review by Celtic book collector Peter Marshall HERE.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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