Paul Elliott – One of the finest defenders I’ve seen playing for Celtic

Paul Elliott was signed by Billy McNeill from Serie A side Pisa in 1989 for a fee of £650,000. The former Luton Town and Aston Villa man didn’t have the best of times in Italy, but the experience he picked up in the then best league in the world made him a better all round player.

Two of them most notably against Rangers although we did lose both games, one of them the league cup final of 1990. Paul like a few players at that time suffered by playing in a poor side, and deserved much better. He along with Paul McStay and John Collins had far better quality than the rest of the team.

Paul Elliott sadly only spent two seasons at the club and left due to personal reasons, which was a shame as he was the best central defender to play for the club in that era. He would have graced any Celtic side, he was that good.

He signed for Chelsea in 1991 for £1.25 million much to the disappointment of the Celtic support. But Paul was homesick and wanted what was best for him and his family so a move back to his native London made sense for him and the supporters bear him no grudge.

Big things were expected of Paul in England but sadly his career ended after sustaining a serious knee injury after a tackle by Liverpool’s Dean Saunders in September 1992. He typically battled to come back, but two years later he sadly had to announce his retirement from the game at the age of 30.

24/03/91 PREMIER DIVISION CELTIC V RANGERS (3-0) CELTIC PARK – Celtic defender Paul Elliott (2nd right) and Richard Gough have to be separated by Judas and referee George Smith.

Paul Elliott will always be fondly remembered by the Celtic supporters who had the pleasure to see him in the Hoops, and I am certainly one of them.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy


About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. If I remember correctly Paul Elliot took Dean Saunders to court over the tackle that ended Paul’s career. Can’t remember what the outcome was though

  2. Quality CH, as you said, I’ll paraphrase, one of our best defenders in that decade, a bit like VVDyke in that he had confidence to spare and could back it up, didn’t realise he’d had to quit at 30, that’s a terrible shame. Oh and my auntie had a huge crush on him and during his time with us my auntie suddenly didn’t mind giving money to huns for tickets to the bigotdome, previously she wouldn’t set foot in the place, no sure maybe she thought Elliot might need her help.

  3. To me he was a fantastic player and added some stability to a weak defense but only blemish was him stealing limelight away from pat bonnar at his testimonial game when it was rumored that Elliott might be leaving were released just before the game the fans sung for paul Elliott rather than the guy who had given around 12 year service to the club especially when Elliott was lifted up by other players at the jungle after the game.

  4. One of the best defenders I’ve ever seen live, with his performance on the night maybe the best I’ve seen live. Can’t believe how little Celtic attention he gets, could have been up there with the very best Celts ever perhaps, if life hadn’t intervened. Can’t speak highly enough of his ability in a Celtic shirt.