Bhoyhood Celtic Fans XI: Would these die-hard supporters have become Hoops legends?

Fletcher Celtic

From league champions to international centurians, these footballing stars can consider themselves very unlucky to never represent Celtic.

Fletcher Celtic

With Brendan Rodgers smashing records and closing in on a sixth straight Scottish Premiership title, the Celtic supporting community has rarely had it better.

But just imagine if these Bhoyhood fans had made their dreams come true. Rodgers may enjoy the benefit of a rather strong Celtic squad but we’re sure he could make room for Billy Bremner and co.

Subscribe

Shay Given

The Republic of Ireland international may have enjoyed a storied career at either end of the Premier League table but, despite making over 600 club appearances, Given was denied the chance to represent his boyhood club after being sent to Blackburn Rovers in his teenage years. Though he came tantalisingly close, appearing on the bench in an Old Firm derby.

“I was a Celtic supporter growing up,” Given told talkSPORT, explain his decision to join The Bhoys ahead of Manchester United in 1991. “My dad helped me make the decision, and he basically said: ‘you’ve got more chance breaking into the Celtic team’.”

Stephen Carr

A stable right-back for Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham and Newcastle, Carr has never publically declared his love for The Hoops but a YouTube clip of the now-retired defender belting out ‘Let the People Sing’ on the Parkhead terraces alongside the former Ireland team-mates Given and Damien Duff rather betrays his allegiances.

John Terry

Chelsea’s captain, leader, legend may be the Cockniest of geezers but that does not mean his affections are confined to the capital.

"You won't know this but I have always been a bit of a Celtic fan,” Terry said in quotes reported by the Irish Examiner. “There was only one reason I took to them. Like my brother, Paul, I followed Scottish football as well as English football when I was young. He supported Rangers and I wanted some atmosphere in the house, so I went for Celtic.”

Darren Fletcher

Even at the age of 33, former Champions League winner Darren Fletcher is still as sprightly and consistent as ever at the heart of the West Brom midfield. However, it was at Old Trafford where he made his name as a ferocious midfield enforcer though, despite all the silver, you wonder if he regrets turning down Celtic for the Auld Enemy as a fresh-faced youngster.

"I grew up going to Celtic with my uncle who had a box at Celtic Park,” Fletcher told Sky Sports. "He bought me a season ticket one year and I went along for two or three seasons.

"I had the opportunity to join Celtic but Rangers had a good youth set-up and track record of bringing through players, so I thought that was the best place to be.

"At Celtic that wasn't happening."

Talk about letting your head rule your heart. And, before you point it out, he played at centre-back once or twice for Man United during an injury crisis.

Kevin Kilbane

"It would be fantastic to play at Celtic Park," 110-time Republic of Ireland international Kilbane told Sky Sports during his spell at Sunderland in the early 2000s. "It is something that I have always wanted to do.

"Since I was a kid I have always supported Celtic.”

The versatile left-winger was never handed an opportunity to represent his beloved Bhoys but will forever be fondly remembered at each of his clubs south of the border from Everton to Sunderland, Wigan and Hull City.

Billy Bremner

With his name etched in both the English and Scottish Halls of Fame, not to mention a statue erected in his honour outside Elland Road, it’s fair to say Bremner remains a legend either side of the border.

A general view of the Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road before the match - Leeds United

The Leeds United legend may have achieved more than most in British football history but, when retiring in 1982, his dreams of pulling on the famous green and white were over.

“[As a child] I had always wanted to play for Glasgow Celtic,” Bremner said in quotes reported by Leeds United Monthly. “My father was dead against that because of all the religious conflict in Glasgow."

Barry Bannan

"I can’t deny that [I would love to play for Celtic]," Scotland international Bannan told the Football League Paper. "I dreamt of it as a kid and I still do.

"Professionally, you want to play at the highest standard you possibly can, but, deep down, who doesn’t want to play for their boyhood team?

Whether the Sheffield Wednesday playmaker is talented enough to don Celtic colours later in his career remains to be seen but you could hardly question his passion.

Robert Snodgrass

“The first thing I remember was going up to Celtic Park to watch Celtic, feeling the full effect of the stadium,” Snodgrass told the Daily Record. "When you see the players on the park for the first time, you get sucked in and it’s like a dream.

“I trained at Celtic when I was a kid. I used to train at Rangers as well. I wore my Celtic shorts underneath my Rangers shorts when I trained there!”

Hull City's Robert Snodgrass celebrates scoring their first goal

Thankfully, the current West Ham winger is still alive to tell the tale.

Eddie Gray

The Glasgow-born winger spent his entire 17 year playing career at Leeds United, even managing the club on two occasions in later life.

Yet, there’s one abiding memory that stands out across 69 years in the game – more so even than his historic wondergoal against Burnley in 1970, arguably the greatest strike in the club’s history.

"I had a good career – but my proudest moment was watching my son Stuart play for Celtic against Rangers,” Gray told the Yorkshire Post. “I was a Celtic fan as a boy.”

Ross McCormack

It’s fair to say Ross McCormack hasn’t enjoyed the finest season of his professional career, what with the lack of goals and broken gates and everything.

However, at least the Nottingham Forest loanee can take some solace in knowing that his boyhood club are running away with a sixth straight Scottish Premiership title – 35 points clear of former club Rangers.

“I'm a proud Celtic fan and always will be,” the Scotland striker told the Daily Record. “But Rangers were the team to come in for me and I enjoyed my time there. That's just how football works.

"I wanted to do well at Ibrox and did my best for Rangers. But I always supported Celtic as a kid and went to watch as many matches as I could."

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch