3. Henrik Larsson [242 Goals in 315 Apps]
Larsson is remembered as one of the greatest Celtic players ever , playing 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 was a truly world-class player.
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 51 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. 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’.
Having completed seven very successful years with Celtic in Glasgow, after the end of the 2003/04 season he left the club for Spanish giants Barcelona.
2. Bobby Lennox [273 Goals in 587 Apps]
A remarkable number of goals in what was a very competitive time in the Scottish game yet he is generally overshadowed by some of his other colleagues from the Lisbon Lions. Bobby Charlton even included Bobby Lennox in his all-time greats team, much to the bemusement of many others who had little knowledge of this quiet man. Legendary Di Stefano also picked Lennox out for high praise.
Celtic signed Lennox from Scottish Junior team Ardeer Recreation on provisional forms in 1961 at the age of 18, and he made his first team debut the following March. He went on to score 273 goals in all competitions.
He won eleven League medals, eight Scottish Cup medals, and five League Cup medals and was a member of the 1967 European Cup winning Celtic team, known as the Lisbon Lions, who defeated Inter Milan 2–1 in the Estádio Nacional stadium in Lisbon, Portugal.
He was the last of the Lisbon Lions to play for the club, and at the end of the 1979–1980 season, he retired from football. It was the end of a great era for Celtic and Scottish Football.
1. James McGrory [472 Goals in 452 Apps]
James McGrory also tops our list in ‘Top 10 Celtic players ever‘. Born in the Glasgow Irish enclave of the Garngad in 1904 McGrory was to go on and rewrite the football record books with his unbelievable scoring feats for the club which he loved with all his heart. Signed by Willie Maley in June 1921 from junior side St Roch as an inside-right McGrory spent a season loaned out to Clydebank where he was switched to centre-forward before returning to Glasgow.
He made his Bhoys debut in a 1-0 league defeat at Third Lanark on January 20th 1923. Even although he was only 5 ft 6ins, he was renowned for his prowess and ability from headers. His trademark was an almost horizontal, bullet header, which he performed and scored regularly from and which earned him his nicknames, of the “Human Torpedo” and the “Mermaid”.
He burst into football folklore on April 11th 1925 when in the dying minutes of the Scottish Cup final at Hampden he launched himself at a cross and bulleted the ball into the net with his head to give Celtic a last gasp 2-1 triumph over Dundee. It was Celtic’s 11th victory in the tournament and took them past Queen’s Park then record haul, which was a pivotal moment for the club.
He is a legendary figure within Celtic’s history, he is their top scorer of all time, with 469 goals in 448 games and holds their record for the most goals in a season, with 57 League and Scottish Cup goals from 39 games, in season 1926–27.
In the summer of 1928 he turned down an offer from Arsenal to become the highest paid footballer in Britain because he could not bear to leave Parkhead. It latterly turned out that the Celtic board were banking on McGrory’s departure as a way of boosting the club’s bank account and so riled were they by his refusal of Arsenal’s offer (£10,0000 transfer) that they secretly paid him less than his team mates for the rest of his career. When he later discovered this dastardly deed McGrory simply said:
“Well it was worth it just to pull on those Green and White Hoops.”
Money meant nothing to McGrory. Scoring goals for Celtic meant everything.