Victor Wanyama – I told Alistair to be ready to lift a lot of trophies

Victor Wanyama told Alistair Johnston to head to Glasgow and sign for Celtic as soon as he heard of his former club’s interest in his then teammates. Both me were employees of CF Montreal in the MLS and the Kenyan urged the young full-back to push for that move and also hit the gym so he could get used to lifting those heavy trophies!

07.11.2012 . Tony Watt and Victor Wanyama in action during the Champions League game between Celtic and Barcelona from Celtic Park.

In an interview with the Celtic View Podcast, our ex-midifelder insisted that Ally is a great individual and that he couldn’t be more happy at the move coming off and being so successful to date. On his former comrade who left North America just this past January transfer window, Victor said: “He’s a good guy, a very good guy and a brilliant human being. He asked me about Celtic and I told him that it’s the place to be. Since then, I couldn’t stop telling him about Celtic, so I pushed him there. I was happy that he made that move to Celtic and I’m also happy seeing him perform very well every weekend. I told Alistair to go to the gym so he can be ready to lift a lot of trophies!’ He was not used to that so now he has to get used to it and he needs more gym time to lift the trophies at Celtic.”

The African assured us all that he still holds a torch for his old club and he tunes in when he can to watch us strut our stuff, long after his departure from Parkhead. He said: “I still support the Bhoys, so I’m happy to see the Bhoys doing well. I try to follow every game and some of them are very early in the morning but I still try to watch and the boys are doing well.”

He also revealed that when he had the opportunity to sign for the mighty Glasgow Celtic, it was a chance he just couldn’t say no to and rejected other advances to ensure he got his dream move back in 2011 under our former gaffer, Neil Lennon. “There was a lot of interest and Birmingham and QPR and Celtic were the three teams, but when Celtic came into my mind I knew I wanted to be there. Growing up in Kenya I used to support Celtic. There was a team called Kibera Celtic and they used to wear the Celtic shirt and I went to their games. I didn’t want to hear anything else but Celtic and I couldn’t wait to join the team. I wanted to make history with the club in the Champions League and win trophies.”

The man who would go on to star in the English Premier League for Southampton and then Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t help but speak about the famous night we downed Barcelona at Celtic Park in the UEFA Champions League group stage to make history on the club’s 125th anniversary. “We thought we were in the group of death, but looking around the team everybody was confident and the manager reminded us this is a huge club and one that performs well in the Champions League and we should embrace the challenge”, he said.

“The manager was motivating us telling us how we could beat them and we worked hard in set pieces, especially corners, and in Charlie Mulgrew, we had a good set piece taker. Charlie crossed the ball perfectly at the back post and I got up to score the goal. I was trying to run to the corner and I looked up and saw the people coming down like they were going to fall onto the pitch, so I changed direction. It was a great moment and seeing that was just amazing – the crowd went crazy.

The magnitude of that night still resonates with a player that the Hoops bagged a fortune in profit on when he left the Scottish Premiership, as the Bhoys were only one of two sides to beat Messi and co. that particular season. He said of the giant killing back in November 2012: “Only Celtic and Real Madrid managed to beat Barcelona that season, so to score against that team that dominated Europe was great. It doesn’t matter who you are, when you come to Celtic you can get beat. The fans give you so much support and motivation and it’s enough to give you a 1-0 lead just from having them there.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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