When on the topic of cult heroes at Celtic Park; one would be foolish to overlook the Celtic fans “King of Kings.” The prolific Swedish hitman Henrik Larsson.
The swede was signed by then Celtic boss Wim Jansen in July 1997 for a modest fee of £650,000. On his debut away to Hibs at Easter road, Larsson inadvertently passed the ball to Chic Charnley who scored giving the hibees a memorable victory. Few could’ve predicted what was to come next from the striker.
It is hard to summarise the swedes’ career at Celtic as it is essentially a highlight reel of excellence and grace. In his seven years at Celtic Park, Larsson won four league titles, two Scottish cups and two league cups; whilst also guiding Celtic to a European final in Seville scoring 2 goals in a 3-2 defeat to Mourinho’s Porto; Celtic’s first since that memorable afternoon in May of 1967.
Henrik bagged 174 league goals in 221 appearances for Celtic. In short he was just prolific, scoring belters against arch rivals Rangers with sublime chips and elegant finishes. The swede also represented Barcelona and Manchester United towards the later stages of his career winning the champions league and league titles respectively. Celtic fans knew how good he was, so it was refreshing to see other fans revel in his mastery.
It is hard to put into words how good the striker was, one would simply need to sit down and watch clips of him, even then it still doesn’t do justice as to how good he really was. Forming formidable partner ships with front men Hartson, Sutton and Moravick, Larsson brought the best out of all three and raised the roof of expectation to any Celtic player who is ever lucky enough to pull on the famous hoops.
On a personal note, Henrik Larsson for me was the best player I’ve ever seen in the flesh; He was a player who made me fall in love with the beautiful game. To this day I still beg, “please don’t take my Larsson away.”