Celtic's top 30 players - Number 24

Celtic Stands

We continue our countdown of the greatest 30 players to have worn the famous green-and-white stripes.

Following 1970s goal machine John Deans at number 25, our countdown of the greatest 30 players to have turned out for Celtic continues with a man who is now more renowned for shouting at football matches that only he can see on Sky Sports than playing the game himself.

However, Charlie Nicholas modern-day on-screen rants should not detract from how talented a player he was in two spells at the Scottish giants, either side of time with Arsenal and Aberdeen.

A boyhood Celtic fan who had joined the club as a child, Nicholas turned professional in 1979 and made an instant, explosive impact at Parkhead by netting 13 goals in his first 12 senior matches.

A skilled, classy player who could beat a man and finish well with both feet, the forward scored 28 goals in his first full season in the first-team, including netting twice in a 3-1 win over Rangers and the lone goal in the effective title-clinching Old Firm win at the back end of the campaign.

After missing almost a full season with injury he returned stronger than ever to net an astonishing 48 goals in all competitions in 1982-83, winning both the Scottish players and writers' Football of the Year awards.

Tipped as the greatest Scottish prospect since Kenny Dalglish, it was not long before Nicholas was snapped up, and in 1983 he moved to Arsenal and the bright lights of London at the age of just 21.

His time at the Gunners was less successful, where he struggled to settle into life under Terry Neill and Don Howe, and his off-field exploits earned him the tabloid nickname 'Champagne Charlie'.

After four years at Highbury and a spell at Aberdeen, Nicholas returned home in 1990 at the age of 28, and despite having lost some of his youthful vigour and arrogance, he still stood out in a poor Celtic side at the start of the 1990s.

In total, Nicholas scored 125 goals in 249 games for Celtic, but had he been able to live up to his start to life as a professional footballer he would have been granted a far higher place on this list.

As it was, however, the move to England took all the early pace out of his career, and the supremely talented player is perhaps a warning sign of how potential must be managed in order to be fulfilled.

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