Something about Henrik Larsson

Chris Sutton travelled to Sweden to interview his former Celtic teammate Henrik Larsson for a Sky Sports special that was broadcast before and after the remarkable Glasgow Derby at Ibrox that ended in a 3-3 draw.

Fabio Silva dives inside the Celtic penalty area and cons a penalty from Alistair Johnston, referee John Beaton initially booked Silva for simulation but reversed the yellow card and awarded theRangers a penalty kick after a VAR sent an edited clip for review. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

That results keeps both sides with the Scottish Premiership title in their own hands but for Celtic the task appears slightly easier with four home games and two away compared to theRangers who have five away match and only two at Ibrox.

Betting on Henrik Larsson Being 1st Goal Scorer

Ibrox held a special memory for Henrik Larsson as he scored his 50th goal of the season there in April 2001 on the way to a grand total for the season of 53 goals.

And of course he played a significant role in Celtic winning a remarkable treble, the first won by the club since 1969. Meanwhile back home in Sweden plenty of Larsson admirers would have been enjoying their returns on first goalscorer in Celtic matches on with Henrik piling up their krona winnings.

Incidentally, that goalscoring feat won the Swede the UEFA’s Golden Boot as European football’s leading scorer. What a player Henrik Larsson was!

Henrik also spoke with great fondness and admiration for Wim Jansen who initially scouted him in Sweden for Feyenoord then after a difficult few seasons in Dutch football, offered the Swedish forward a chance to press the re-start button in his career at Celtic Park.

Henrik talked about his debut at Easter Road when he started as an outside left and got an assist. The only problem for Larsson was it set up Chick Charnley for a goal for Hibs! Shortly afterwards Jansen decided that Henrik was going to play through the middle and not as wide-man and the rest as they say is history.

Barcelona, SPAIN: Barcelona’s Henrik Larsson (R) celebrates after scoring a goal with his team mates Deco (L) Ronaldinho (C) and Samuel Eto’o (down) against Betis during their Spanish League match at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, 18 February 2006. (Photo CESAR RANGEL/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think he moved me up as a striker because we had some injuries,” Henrik told Chris Sutton. “We had a very thin squad the first few months when I came to Celtic, and there were like, I think it was six, seven new signings that year as well.

“So everything was put in place (to go to Celtic), but there was no promise you will be playing, or you will play as a striker. It was purely, come over here, and we can see if we can get your career started again.

Henrik Larsson celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Group B match between Sweden and England at the Stadium Cologne on June 20, 2006 (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“I used to drift a lot to the left and out to the right when I played as a striker, and he said to me, ‘Henrik, if you want to score goals, you need to be in the box’, or if you’re drifting out here you need to make sure that you come back into the box.

“He was right; he was so clever in the footballing department, I think, and he got the best out of the players; that’s how it started.”

In a wide ranging, hour long interview Larsson spoke with great affection about his seven remarkable seasons at Celtic with highlights for him being the victories over Liverpool and especially Blackburn Rovers on the road to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in 2003.

Photo imago/Miguelez Sports Foto Celtic Glasgow v. Porto Bobo Balde, Neil Lennon, Alan Thompson, Chris Sutton, Joos Valgaeren, Johan Mjällby, Didier Agathe, Stilian Petrov, Henrik Larsson, Robert Douglas

However the manner of the defeat in that final was too much for Larsson to bear and he admitted it took him YEARS to even watch clips of the game – where he scored two brilliant goals – but has never been able to watch the full match.

The Swedish superstar talked about his move to Barcelona and being upset at the Champions League draw that meant he’d had to return to Celtic Park just months after leaving.

The mixed emotions of scoring against Celtic at Paradise certainly affected the Swede but the memories of coming off the bench in the final in Paris against Arsenal to turn around the match and win a Champions League medal certainly made up for his Seville disappointment.

Henrik Larsson in Paris after winning the Champions League with Barcelona. 17.05.2006 : imago/Ulmer

The love for Larsson in Glasgow has never faded despite the passage of time. Two decades later and Sutton describes Henrik’s popularity as akin to a member of the Beatles. Almost modest, Larsson appreciates his enduring appeal in the city, as Henrik talked about the Larsson’s loving their time in Scotland where they lived in Bothwell.

The interview is still available on Sky Sports on demand and no Celtic supporter will want to miss this conversation between Chris Sutton and the King of Kings, Henrik Larsson.

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