On This Day in 1996: Paolo Di Canio joins Celtic

On This Day in 1996, Celtic signed Paolo Di Canio from AC Milan. The player, who is constantly followed by controversy due to his antics, was an integral part of Tommy Burns’ exciting team back in 1996/97. It is quite impressive that a player with such a reputation only spent one season in Scottish football.

Di Canio left under a cloud after a contract stand-off with Fergus McCann. The Italian, then 27, refused to travel to the Netherlands for pre-season in 1997. This sped up the process, especially with Tommy Burns leaving and Wim Jansen coming in. Di Canio would later admit regret at the way he left the club.

In 37 appearances for Celtic, Di Canio scored 15 goals and whilst he did not win anything as Tommy Burns’ side came agonisingly close to knocking Rangers off their perch. Di Canio left for £4m in a deal that took the Italian to Sheffield Wednesday in August 1997. Although he was a top player, Celtic stopped ten in a row the season Di Canio left and replaced him with a £650k signing from Feyenoord, who didn’t turn out to be too bad.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

1 Comment

  1. Ahh the bad old days!

    Murrays millions had ‘them’ dominating Scottish fitba, which spelt the end of clubs being able to compete for the league title on an even playing field, and ultimately destroyed competitive football in Scotland…weird how things came full circle!

    *Before Murray bought Rangers in 1988, Scotland had a really competitive league, where the title was up for for grabs for any one of a number of clubs, a decade(1980s) which saw Aberdeen win 2 European trophies, the first of which came by beating Real Madrid in a final, and Dundee Utd regularly making the latter stages of European competition and come close to winning a European trophy themselves, but were beat in the final after knocking Barcelona and “some German team” out on route to it!

    Then after several years under the cosh of a club spending a rich benefactors money chasing Lions, another equally wealthy bunnet wearing man appeared out of nowhere, bought a club he loved and saved them from financial ruin, and implemented a revolutionary business structure to a football club that would see them slowly rise to the top again!

    This man took no prisoners, he dealt with those challenging his astuteness by removing them, and promoted the deserving, and his genius idea of running a football club like a business was adhered to when he passed the reigns on, paving the way for future generations to enjoy the club he loved and its many successes!

    Fergus ‘the bunnet’ McCann was a visionary, a man who not only saved and ensured the longevity of our club, but also inspired other clubs and international governing bodies to follow suit and live within their means and promote financial fair play!

    …of course some clubs ignored this sensible approach, continued chasing Lions and ultimately died as a result of their foolish endevours!