JOHN COLLINS has revealed that he almost joined Rangers before deciding to join Celtic because of his dad. The Scottish midfielder was at Hibs when Glasgow’s big two came calling in 1990 and despite being a Celtic supporter growing up in Galashiels, Rangers attempted to lure him to Ibrox.
Celtic completed the signing of Collins for £1m becoming the Parkhead club’s first ever million pound signing as the biscuit tin was rattled that day. Speaking to BBC Sportsound, the former Celtic midfielder and assistant manager said that he was offered the chance to sign for Rangers on a number of occasions but he decided to follow his father’s advice, who was a Celtic supporter as well.
“I had a couple of opportunities to sign for Rangers. One before I signed for Celtic I was talking to Rangers as well.
“My dad was a Celtic supporter so you always follow your father.”
During what were dark times, McStay and Collins were a bright spark in the central midfield for Celtic but sadly in that period only had a Scottish Cup in ’95 to show for his efforts. He left the club in controversial circumstances in 1996 when he left on a free transfer for Monaco.
Following his retirement, Collins returned as No.2 to Ronny Deila and helped with three trophies in his two years in Paradise before Deila resigned. Collins was praised for his rigorous fitness regime which helped transform Virgil Van Dijk before he was sold to Southampton.
Back in 2016, Van Dijk – who has now won both a European Cup and a Premier League title – paid tribute to Collins for the effort he put in to improve the Dutch defender.
“I trained every single day with John Collins and we would often do extra work together. He has a drive that impressed me, to get the maximum out of every player, every single day.
“He knows his football and helped improve aspects of my game during the one year I worked with him, no doubts about that.
“I’m gutted he is leaving Celtic because he is an excellent coach and a fine human being. I’m certain he will go on to new adventures in football, and I wish him well.