Celtic’s best ever XI highlights their rich history perfectly
March 8, 2017
From the Lisbon Lions of 1967 to Martin O’Neill’s 2003 nearly-men, Celtic’s rich and storied history has helped them amass one of football’s largest and most fanatical fan-bases.
Whilst many pundits south of the border will take any opportunity to sneer at the standard of football practised in the Scottish top flight (sometimes it’s not without some basis: Leigh Griffiths hits the sort of numbers Lionel Messi woul be proud of), Celtic have also had players capable of gracing any team – in any era.
Brendan Rodgers is busy writing his own chapter in the Parkhead history books (which, we presume, will be outstanding) but he’s got his work cut out if he wants to get any of his current batch of players onto our best ever Celtic XI.
Here are the XI players we’ve chosen (along with five subs).
Simpson was over 30 when he joined Celtic from Newcastle in 1964, but that didn't stop him playing a key role in the 1967 European Cup-winning side. Image source: Twitter
Aside from being one of the leading right-backs of his era, McGrain also recovered from a fractured skull he sustained aged 21 to play well into his late 30s. Image source: Twitter
One-club man McNeill spent his entire career at Parkhead, where he captained his team of local lads to the European Cup in 1967. Image source: Twitter
Mjallby, a classy ball-playing centre-half, was the other Swedish guy who played for Celtic in the late 90s to early 2000s. Image source: Twitter
Gemmell (another Lisbon Lion) scored more than 60 goals for Celtic - from left back. Roberto Carlos, eat your heart out. Image source: Twitter
Well, who are we to argue with the Celtic faithful? They voted Johnstone - an "outside right", a position for which there isn't really a modern equivalent (so we'll stick him on the wing) - their greatest ever player. Image Source: Twitter
English fans will remember Petrov for the time he spent with Villa in his twilight years - but, in his pomp, he was an all-action, goal-getting midfielder. Image source: Twitter
The Scottish Paul Scholes played nearly 700 games for Celtic between 1981 and 1997 (and he could have easily made a name for himself elsewhere on the continent). Image source: Twitter
Yet another Lisbon Lion (are you noticing a pattern?) Lennox was a nimble outside left with a devastating goalscoring touch. Image source: Twitter
You know a player is a bit special when they are in the running for best ever player at two of Europe's biggest clubs. Image source: Twitter
Larsson showed at Barca and United his performances at Celtic weren't just because the SPL was supbar. He was simply a classy striker - and the club would kill for another like him. Image source: Twitter
Pickings are surprisingly slim when it comes to goalkeeper. Forster's Champions League performances earns him the spot as our No.2. Image source: Twitter
Virgil Van Dijk
Many Premier League teams had their doubts about van Dijk, but his form at Southampton is proof he wasn't just a big fish in a small pond. Image source: Twitter
Lambert joined Celtic as a Champions League winner from Dortmund in 1997, and became a key figure at the base of midfield. Image source: Twitter
Pierre van Hoojidonk
Hoyadonk? Hoojidink? You know, that guy. The Dutch forward netted more than 50 goals for the Scottish giants in a brief spell during the mid-90s. Image source: Twitter
Harton's time as an SPL goal-scoring sensation was over-shadowed by Larsson - but his record was nothing to be sniffed at. Image source: Twitter
SEE ALSO: Leeds United’s greatest ever Premier League XI
Jokes aside, Rodgers’ young side have won an impressive 26 times in 27 games so far this season. The likes of Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and (if City allow him to stay another season) Patrick Roberts could lead Celtic into an exciting new era. The key, however, is carrying their excellent domestic form into Europe next term.