10 Greatest Foreigners Ever To Play For Celtic FC

Celtic are one of the biggest and most followed clubs from Scotland. They have a massive fanbase around the world. In their rich history, many great players have donned the Celtic jersey and today we will have a look at some of the best foreigners to do so.

Considering players outside of Scotland ,here are the 10 greatest foreigners to play for Celtic.

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10. John Hartson

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Nationality – Wales

Hartson joined Celtic from English club Coventry City in 2001. The highlights of Hartson’s time at Celtic would be scoring against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League to earn them a draw or more importantly scoring a belter of a goal against Liverpool away from outside the box in a two nil win on the Road to UEFA Cup final.

In April 2005 he shared the Scottish PFA Players’ Player of the Year award with Fernando Ricksen and a short time later in May he was voted the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year. Due to the close bond Hartson felt with both Celtic Football Club and their fans, he has a tattoo of a large Celtic crest on his upper arm with the words ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ underneath in honour of the song which Celtic fans sing ahead of big games.

9. Alan Thompson

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Nationality – England

Alan Thompson was bought for a sum of £2.75m from Aston Villa, one of Martin O’Neil’s first signings, and a bit of an unknown name for most. His appearances at Aston Villa were limited due to injuries, so coming to Celtic to have a fresh start.

A stalwart in the golden era under Martin O’Neil, he more than played his part in guiding the club back to respectability, scoring 51 goals in his appearances for the club, and playing a strong role in Celtic’s campaign in the UEFA Cup 2003. He also scored the winning goal against Rangers in two separate Old Firm derby matches and seven against Rangers in all. Thompson scored the only goal in the 2005 Scottish Cup Final for Celtic against Dundee United to give the outgoing O’Neill his seventh trophy whilst in charge of the club.

8. Sean Fallon

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Nationality – Ireland

Sean Fallon’s love affair with Celtic started when the son of the Celtic legend Jimmy McMenemy saved Fallon’s sister, Lilly, from drowning at Lough Gill. Fallon invited Joe McMenemy back to his house and the Scot returned the compliment by sending Sean presents of a Celtic shirt and Willy Maley’s book “The Story of the Celtic”.

He realised his ambition when he made his league debut for Celtic, away to Clyde, in the last game of the 1949–50 season. At that time, Celtic were still drawing themselves away from the doldrums which had almost saw them relegated. The following year, Sean had helped them to win The Scottish Cup in the McPhail Final against Motherwell.

Within a year he had helped the team win the Scottish Cup, beating Motherwell 1–0 in the 1951 Scottish Cup Final. In 1952 he was made Captain of Celtic. Two years later Sean would also have a cup final goal to celebrate as he scored in the 1953 Scottish Cup Final, against Aberdeen. Sean Fallon’s performances for Celtic earned him the nickname of “The Iron Man”. He once assessed his own talents as a player by saying – “I was just an ordinary player with a big heart and a fighting spirit to recommend me.”

7. Stiliyan Petrov

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Nationality – Bulgaria

Petrov was signed in the summer of 1999 by John Barnes for a fee of £2.8 million. He was to be given the curious accolade of being the only good signing that came during the John Barnes era. Stan took a big step personally coming to Celtic, admitting that he knew next to nothing of the language.  Eventually, he improved his English by working in a friend’s burger van. This hard work and determination to fit in showed in his performances for the club.

In his first season ,Celtic won the Scottish Premier League and both major domestic cups, and Petov was to play a large part in this. Transformed from a defensive player to an attacking central midfield role, he was to come to the fore of his game and to the notice of all the support.

As a measure of his value, Petrov was voted 2001 Scottish Premier League Young Player of the Year, despite a period out the game following breaking his leg at McDairmid Park in March. He was back from injury by August, and was a regular starter in Celtic’s 2001/02 UEFA Champions League campaign, with Celtic retaining the league title the same year. The 04/05 season also saw Petrov becoming the third player to win the Celtic Player of The Year award. Overall ,he won four Scottish Premier League titles and three Scottish Cups titles with Celtic.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Celtic Players Ever


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6. Neil Lennon

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Nationality – Northern Ireland

Signed by Martin O’Neill from Leicester City in 2000 as a holding midfielder, his presence on the pitch was meant to bolster the defensive aspect of the team and cover for the more attack minded players and do the unglamourous defensive roles in the middle of the park.

His first season saw Lennon pick-up three winner’s medals as Celtic swept to a domestic treble, winning the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup. It was also a measure of his dedication to the side. The next four seasons at Celtic saw Lennon win a further two league championships and two Scottish Cups. He was also an integral part of the Celtic side that reached the UEFA Cup Final in 2003, losing 2-3 to Porto after extra time. As a reflection of his importance to the team and the club, he was made captain of the side in 2005, a well-earned accolade.

5. Bertie Peacock

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Nationality – Northern Ireland

The immensely popular figure of Bertie Peacock was a huge favourite of the Celtic fans of the 1950s. He signed for the Bhoys in May 1949. A very hard working player – he was nicknamed ‘The Little Ant’ due to his amazing workrate and his wee size – Bertie was a driving force within the Celtic team and his energy and tenacious tackling inspired team-mates and supporters alike. His excellent close control, good dribbling skills and cool head allowed him to dictate the play from deep and his fitness and stamina were second to none.

He would go on to become captain and a club legend. During his time at the club he won one league title and two Scottish Cups. He also won two League Cups – including being skipper of that legendary team that thrashed Rangers 7-1 in October 1957, and was there for all the success over that brief golden period over the few years from 1953-1957. He left Celtic in 1961 to rejoin his hometown club Coleraine.

4. Charlie Tully

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Nationality – Northern Ireland

While the history of Celtic has featured many great characters, it is doubtful if many others have been as colourful as Charles Patrick Tully. Blessed with a rare abundance of skill Tully was the darling of the Hoops fans for over a decade and his cheeky approach to football has made him one of the best loved Celtic icons of all time. Tully moved to Parkhead in June 1948 from his hometown side Belfast Celtic where he had been idolised by the support.

Charlie’s skill quickly earned him the reputation as a Celtic great after an outstanding performance against Rangers in a 3-1 victory at Celtic Park where it was reported ‘Tully dribbled about almost at will.’ ‘..The miraculous Irishman bewildered, badgered…. mesmerised Rangers..’ He played a total of 319 matches for Celtic, scoring 47 goals, throughout his career, which spanned 11 years.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Celtic Managers Ever


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3. Patsy Gallacher

Nationality – Ireland

After a number of trial games Gallacher was eventually signed by Willie Maley on October 25 1911 and made his full competitive debut at Parkhead in a 3-1 league win over St Mirren.

Within six months he secured his first winner’s medal, scoring once in the 2–0 victory over Clyde in the 1912 Scottish Cup Final. He revitalised Celtic’s team, which had slipped to fifth place in the league in 1910–11 as the great team of Jimmy Quinn, Davie Hamilton and Jimmy McMenemy which had won six successive league titles began to tire. With Gallacher added to the lineup, Celtic won six Scottish First Division Championships, four Scottish Cups, four Glasgow Cups and eleven Glasgow Charity Cups.

He went on to play for Celtic for 15 years from 1911 to 1925, featuring in 491 games in all competitions. In 464 games in major competitions Patsy scored 195 goals.

2. Packie Bonner

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Nationality – Ireland

The big keeper joined Celtic in 1978 from his local side Keadue Rovers and somewhat appropriately made his debut on St Patrick’s day 1979 in a 2-1 win at home to Motherwell. Brave, athletic and a superb shot stopper, Packie was to become a mainstay of the Celtic team throughout the 1980s and the early years of the 90s. Notably he was Jock Stein’s last signing for the club.

Bonner went on to play 642 times for Celtic, with 483 league appearances. In total with Celtic, he won four League Championship medals, three Scottish Cup winners’ medals and a League Cup winners’ medal. His last appearance for Celtic was winning the 1995 Scottish Cup final under Burns.

1. Henrik Larsson

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Nationality – Sweden

Larsson was signed in July 1997 by Wim Jansen for a fee of £650,000. In his first season at the club, he played a crucial role in stopping Rangers winning ten league titles in a row, which endeared him to the fans. However, he suffered a leg break in 1999 in a UEFA Cup tie against Lyon. Despite this, Larsson came back stronger and in the 2000–01 season, he netted 53 goals, which saw him claim the European Golden Shoe. Larsson went on to win five golden boots at Celtic and four league titles in seven years.

A Celtic legend, he played a central part in the revitalisation of the club as it once again dominated Scottish football having been in the doldrums for much of the previous 15 years. He broke domestic scoring records and was the talisman to take the club to the UEFA Cup final in 2003.  He failed to win the 2003 UEFA Cup Final against Porto despite scoring two goals. However, his 242 goals in 315 matches will make him be remembered by Celtic fans as ‘The King of Kings’.


 Checkout : 10 Best Old Firm Games Ever


A sports addict! @subhamchaurasia

2 thoughts on “10 Greatest Foreigners Ever To Play For Celtic FC

  • December 15, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Alan Thompson but no Lubo? Are you kidding me?

  • June 2, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    I think Moravcik, Nakamura, Sutton and Mjallby deserve to be on this list

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