30 Day Challenges… Day 11
“A Player From Your Favourite Team.”
There’s a few I could pick from in the Celtic team at the moment, which given we completely overhauled the team at the start of the season says a lot for the current squad. It’s kinda hard to opt for just one of the new bunch, so I won’t. I’ll go for the one that’s probably been there the longest. Shaun Maloney.
Wee Shaun isn’t really one that springs immediately to mind for most, but he is a wonderfully talented player whose Celtic career has been hampered by two things – injuries, and sodding off to Aston Villa for a couple of seasons. He’s one that’s came through Celtic’s youth setup and it’s easy to forget that he’s been on the scene for ten years now! You think back to Martin O’Neill’s first season in charge, when Celtic went to Ibrox and won 3-0 after the league was won. He came off the bench and played a part in that victory.
I remember one game he was fighting with fellow young bhoy Simon Lynch over who was going to take a late penalty! Both of them had scored twice against Hearts and were on a hat trick. Shaun won the battle but then missed the penalty! Not that it mattered since the league had long since been won by then, but it did amuse us.
He was on the bench in Seville – even got to hit a late free kick to try and save the day. A bit much to ask for the young boy perhaps.
The first season under Gordon Strachan was his season though. We got the league back and he played a huge part in that victory. We also won the League Cup, and his goal against Rangers in that tournament is one of the best you’re likely to see. He just pings it from 35 yards out, right into the top corner. He rightly won player of the year that season.
Even his time at Villa was pretty good. He maybe never got the chance he deserved under O’Neill there but when he did he was one of Villa’s better players. But eventually he returned to Celtic after a year and a half in the Premiership.
Since returning, his injuries have held him back. He’s spent most of this season injured, although he did help us beat Hamilton at home at the start of October. He’s even been captain of Celtic at times.
I really like Maloney. When he’s fit, he’s an asset to the team. I just hope he’s finally over his fitness issues and we get to see what he’s capable of – just as we did the year he won player of the year.