Stan Petrov – A battler on and off the park

Stan Petrov is 44 today, oh how time flies. I can still remember him arriving in Glasgow as a fresh faced youngster who had just waved goodbye to his teenage years.

He was one of John Barnes first signings and came with a hefty near £3 million price tag hanging round his neck. He was under pressure from day one due to such a significant fee being slashed out on his services.

Stiliyan Petrov with Henrik Larsson and Bobo Balde after scoring. Photo by Barrington Coombs

It proved to be a difficult start to life at Celtic and Glasgow also as he didn’t command the English language that greatly. Settling into a new country and adapting to a new style of football would be difficult for anyone never mind a fresh faced twenty year old.

His endured a torrid first campaign in the hoops as he rarely made a start and when he did he was played out of position. The John Barnes era was a tough one for the most experienced pro never mind an inexperienced homesick youngster.

Stan came to the fore after the arrival of Martin O’Neill. Martin played him in his natural position and Stan never looked back. That goal against Rangers in the 6-2 game showed the supporters his capabilities and he scooped the SPFA young player of the year award in that treble winning campaign.

Even a horrendous leg break towards the end of that season didn’t deter him and much like Henrik larsson he fought back to be even better.

He would go onto play 311 games for the club scoring 64 goals while scooping ten honours and played in a Uefa cup final before reuniting with Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa in 2006 for a fee of around £8 million.

Stan was the complete midfielder, he could tackle, pass, and score. His athleticism made him the perfect box to box midfielder, he was the ultimate professional.

 17 09 2003 Copyright imago Ulmer Team photo Celtic Glasgow rear v left Bobo Balde Chris Sutton Henrik Larsson Stanislav Varga Didier Agathe Goalkeeper Magnus Hedman front Neil Lennon Jackie Mc Namara Stilian Petrov Alan Thompson John Hartson Stanislaw Mac MacNamara McNamara Petrov Vdig horizontal Team picture Goalkeeper Keeper Dianbobo 

Stan of course suffered a health scare when he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013. Just like his early days at Celtic he showed his fighting qualities as he beat the disease and fought back to full health.

He has helped raise much needed funds for leukaemia ever since, and of course played in the hoops once more in a tearful benefit match at Celtic park in 2013.

The Celtic supporters will always have a place in their hearts for Stan, a wonderful player and even more importantly a wonderful human being.

Happy birthday Stan, all the best.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy

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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.

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