Charlie Mulgrew: It’s an honour to be asked to play in Foundation Legends Charity Match

Ask any of Charlie Mulgrew’s team-mates and they will always describe him as ‘a funny guy’. The former Celtic defender had a reputation as the joker in the pack, but that reputation only tells half the story.

In one respect, it is an illustration of how much Mulgrew enjoyed life as a professional footballer, whether that was in the dressing-room or out on the pitch.

But if there was also a supplementary question levelled to former team-mates as to who took their profession absolutely seriously and who showed total commitment to that job day in, day out, then Mulgrew’s name would also feature high in their answers.

And as the former Celt prepares to return to Paradise for the Celtic FC Foundation Legends Charity Match on Sunday, May 26, those aspects of his character and approach to football will be on show.


He is looking forward to reuniting with friends from his time at the club, while also wanting to put in a good performance and win the game against Borussia Dortmund.

Speaking to the official Celtic website, Mulgrew said: “I’m absolutely buzzing for it. As soon as I got the text, all the memories came flooding back of playing at Celtic Park and all the occasions, so a lot of excitement for me to come back there and be involved in it. It’s an honour to be asked and I just wait for the game.

“I did love playing, and it’s the old saying – if you do a job you love, you’ll never work another day in your life – and that’s truly how I felt about football. I loved going in every day, training with the lads, and then playing games.

“I was speaking to my son about it recently and he said something about all the sacrifices that footballers have to make, and is it worth it?

‘I said, it’s amazing. Being on that pitch and being involved in it is something that I dreamt of since I was a kid – to be at Celtic and play for them.’

“I didn’t enjoy it if it wasn’t serious when you crossed that white line, or if training wasn’t serious, and if ever there was a day in training – which was very rare – where maybe it wasn’t as serious or people in your team weren’t as serious, or there was a moment in training when things weren’t right, I hated that.

“It wasn’t as enjoyable. When you do it right and do it professionally, you do it properly, that’s the most enjoyable way to play and train, and after that you can laugh and joke – always being aware that you’re a professional but also enjoying it as well.

“That’s really important – making sure it’s always bang-on when you step over that white line. That’s the only way to enjoy it as well, because when you’re doing it properly, you’re doing it well and that’s how you enjoy it.”

Charlie Mulgrew is the first to emphasise that every player has their own journey, with its own highs and lows, and in his case, he had to show incredible resilience and strength of character to bounce back from the disappointment of being released by Celtic at the age of 20 after coming through the club’s Youth Academy.

Four years after that disappointment he rejoined the club he had always supported, and over the next six years with Celtic, he would win five league titles and two Scottish Cups, making 208 appearances and scoring 29 goals.

“If I could give any quality to a young player coming through now, it would be resilience,” explained Mulgrew, “because even with the smallest disappointments or the biggest disappointments – it’s how you respond to them which is going to make your career or make you a Celtic player.

“Every single player’s journey is different, but what’s the same with every single player is that they have their setbacks and they need to be resilient, so resilience is a huge thing.

‘There is no clear way to the first-team, and when I look at my journey, once I got back to Celtic at 24-years-old, I couldn’t believe it.’

“I dreamt of playing for Celtic all my life, it was something I wanted to do, and I came back there, and the journey back to Celtic was one that I never ever saw that to be the journey, but it just shows you that it can be any way and I was really appreciative to be there.”

Mulgrew’s football journey took him to a number of other clubs in Scotland and England over and above Celtic, as well international recognition, with 44 Scotland caps to his name.

Yet, he will always be ‘Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic’ when people reflect on an illustrious career that has not long come to an end.

And it will be the Celtic supporters who cheered him during his years with the club who will do so again he pulls on the Hoops for the Foundation’s Legends Match against Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, May 26 (KO: 2pm)

“To be part of that game and part of that atmosphere, and get back there again is amazing,” Mulgrew said, “but also to see those people who you came through with, who you had relationships with and played big games with.

“I still keep in touch with a lot of them so it’ll be great and we’re all looking forward to it.

“Celtic have always been amazing with their charity work, and the Foundation does amazing things in the community, and further afield, so it’ll be great to be a part of raising that money for the Foundation with this game. It’s a real honour.”


The Legends Charity Match promises to be a fantastic occasion for all the family and tickets are on general sale now, priced at:

  • Adults – £15
  • Concessions – £7



A range of Matchday Hospitality packages are available for the Legends Charity Match at Celtic Park, starting at just £30 per person.

You can register your interest in these packages here or check regularly for the latest updates.


Funds raised through the match will focus on feeding people in need of support, to reflect the heritage of the club and respond to the current cost of living crisis, which is overwhelming so many families and individuals.

This will include continuation and development of Celtic FC Foundation’s Paradise Pit Stop project at Celtic Park. In addition, we will look to secure new locations for food provision with local partners in Inverclyde and Lanarkshire, plus London and Ireland to complement our current delivery of key projects in those areas.

With Scott Brown set to captain the side, we’re delighted to confirm that a donation will also be made to Dundee Cancer Centre at Ninewells Hospital, in memory of his sister Fiona, who sadly passed away in 2008 aged just 21