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“Majic, Stan and The King of Japan”…Gordon Strachan’s First Season at Celtic by Matt Corr is out now…

The newly appointed manager of Celtic, Gordon Strachan May 31, 2005 (Photo by Getty Images)

In the summer of 2005, incoming Celtic manager Gordon Strachan faced one of the most difficult jobs in world football, charged with restoring the fortunes of the grand old club after a heartbreaking end to the previous season, which saw legendary boss Martin O’Neill and many of the stars who had delivered such incredible success in the early part of the new millennium take their leave. The end of an era.

But this is Celtic…and our nights are darkest just before the dawn. Soon we would witness the thrilling emergence of a team of exciting new heroes who would create their own magical history in those iconic Hoops, as the next chapter in the greatest football story of them all was written, roared on by that Celtic constant, a fanatical worldwide support.

John Hartson of Celtic celebrates scoring their first goal during the  Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park Stadium on November 19, 2005 . (Photo by Chris Lee/Getty Images)

And what a remarkable chapter it is…Celtic theatre at its rollercoaster finest with last-minute dramas, the tragic loss of another of our immortal Lions and the onset of illness of another beloved redhead with Celtic pouring through his veins, then ultimately title triumph as the Hoops battle through a season dismissed by many as being purely transitional to regain their mantle as Scotland’s Champions, the Celts once again the dominant football force in the land.

Artur Boruc – Celtic v Hearts, Celtic Park,  15 October 2005 Photo Allstar/Richard Selle

It’s a season full of characters befitting of any Celtic Story. From Poland came Artur Boruc, the eccentric but brilliant Holy Goalie, and Maciej ‘Majic’ Zurwaski, the international duo thrilling Hoops supporters at either end of the pitch.

Maciej Zurawski of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the Scottish Premier League match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on February 12, 2006. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

We had the perfect Irish Heartbeat in midfield, new skipper Neil Lennon joined by Roy Keane, the world-class Cork Bhoy fulfilling a lifetime dream by wearing those colours, the duo in their element as they dominate proceedings in a vital win at Ibrox. And the incredible, lung-bursting power of Stiliyan Petrov, Stan the Man, the Bulgarian captain with his trademark winning goals turning one point into three in Celtic’s relentless pursuit of the honours.

Stephen McManus celebrates after scoring during the Scottish Premier division match between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle on January 1, 2006,.Celtic won the match 3-2. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

It’s a campaign where the young pretender Shaun Maloney steps out of the shadows with a series of stunning performances to become Scotland’s Player of the Year, and where John Hartson ends his Celtic career by becoming the latest in a long list of striking superstars to pass the century mark of goals for our club.

06.08.2005 Photo- imago/Colorsport. Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic Glasgow v Dundee United

Finally, there is the genius of Shunsuke Nakamura, The King of Japan, commencing a Celtic career blessed with the most incredible footballing moments. Little known before his arrival on these shores but still revered two decades later. Technically perfect, he lights up Paradise.

It’s time to tell this story. To relive those goals. To remember those songs. When we had Majic, Stan and The King of Japan…

You can order your copy of “Majic, Stan and The King of Japan” which tells the story of Gordon Strachan’s first season at Celtic now, just click on the image below…

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email


  1. My dad Harry received the book yesterday and is absolutely delighted with it. He’s 82 now and doesn’t get to games anymore but still loves the Celtic and this book is bringing back some fantastic memories for him. Thank you so much Matt

  2. I may be wrong but I have a theory about the tones coming from Mordor regarding the postponements of the Dundee fixture vs theRangers. With Words like unprofessional and punishments being bandied around in a very public forum. If Dundee were to have the gaul and take something from the game this will go straight to the beaks at Hampden and theyll appeal the result. Of course if they win we’ll hear nothing more about it. Another point, If its an offence for a manager to give his views on any particular match referee’s poor performance then surely its an offence to publicly bad mouth or attempt to humiliate another club??