In an extensive interview with HITC, Gianni Capaldi spoke in-depth about his love affair with Celtic, his views on Old Firm rivals Rangers and the growing financial divide between English and Scottish football.
Born in Motherwell to Italian parents, Capaldi went to his first Celtic game at a young age, and recalls it being a big decision which Scottish giant to follow at that time. He went with the green and white of Celtic, and more than three decades on, his love for the Bhoys has gone from strength to strength.
Capaldi told HITC that he was glad to see Rangers back in the SPL, but doesn't expect them to finish in the top two, believing a third placed finish behind either Hearts or Aberdeen to be more likely.
Capaldi is expecting a third placed finish for Rangers
A talented player himself, Capaldi played for Motherwell until under-18 level, and he also told HITC that he didn't think Rangers did enough as a club to contribute to the Scottish national team and Scottish football as a whole.
Capaldi cited the prevalence of non-Scottish players and signings in the current Rangers squad as testament to this. "How many Scottish players have Rangers actually got now?" Capaldi posed as he made his point. Fourteen is the answer, although only 5 of their most recent starting XI were Scottish, and only one of their 9 summer signings was a Scotsman.
Conversely however, the actor feels Celtic are an excellent farming ground for young players, although admittedly not all Scottish themselves. Moussa Dembele is a player Capaldi feels has excellent potential but needs time and some pressure taken from him. He feels he is better than any of Rangers summer recruits.
The actor praised Celtic's summer signing Dembele
Capaldi is also a big fan of Kolo Toure, believing him to be a shrewd recruit by Brendan Rodgers. One man he gave a less glowing assessment of was Efe Ambrose, the much-maligned Celtic defender.
"He's a great guy, but he'd be an even greater guy if he didn't play for Celtic," according to Capaldi, who also described him as "calamitous".
In the actor's eyes, Celtic need three key additions; defence, a future replacement for Scott Brown and a creative attacking midfielder. He believes Brendan Rodgers was the right man to take charge of the Bhoys, but has to be given the funds to turn his plans into a reality.
Capaldi described Celtic's Ambrose as "calamitous" at times
The actor, who now divides his time between the States and Europe, says he feels it is inevitable that Celtic and Rangers will one day join the English Football League system, in the same way the likes of Swansea and Cardiff have.
Capaldi is also of the opinion that with the extra financial incentives of being in the Premier League, twinned with their large fan bases, the Old Firm giants would be very competitive in England's top flight.
When asked who he supports/would support if Scotland met Italy in international football, Capaldi said he would support his native Scotland unless it was a knockout game, in which case he'd back Italy due to their greater chance of going on to win the tournament overall.