FORMER Hoops’ full back Mark Wilson is the latest Bhoy to sign up for the Celtic Legends’ squad ahead of the Jock Stein Charity Match sponsored by Direct Slating Supplies.
Wilson enjoyed a fruitful six-year spell at Celtic from 2006 to 2012, picking up numerous league and cup medals and proving to be a solid performer when deployed in the full-back role on either flank.
A lifelong Celtic fan, Mark Wilson spoke to the official Celtic website about his participation in the upcoming Jock Stein Charity Match and his excitement at playing with some of his heroes from the past.
He said: “It’ll be great, it seems a long time since I ran out in front of the Celtic fans, so obviously I’m looking forward to that and catching up with some of the guys who I used to play with as well as the players I used to watch from the stands.
“It’ll be good to put on the strip and actually play alongside them. I’m certainly looking forward to it and hopefully, it’ll be a great spectacle for a great man.”
As one of the younger members of the Celtic Legends’ squad, Wilson joked that he’ll have to do more than his fair share of running to compensate for some of the older legs in the team.
He said: “It did cross my mind that I’d have to do a bit more running, I caught up with Tom Boyd at the weekend and we spoke about the match and who was playing and I’ll probably be one of the younger ones there.
“I’ll enjoy it though, it’ll be good for me and my fitness as I’ve not played for a wee while but I’ll just play it like a normal game.”
He jokingly added: “Some of the older Bhoys might be tiring but I’m sure I’ll be okay to last the 90 minutes.”
A likeable and dependable figure during his time at Celtic, Wilson also reflected on his personal highlights and successes with the club.
He said: “Obviously, the day I signed was absolutely fantastic. Shortly afterwards, I played my first game against Rangers at Ibrox and we went there and won 1-0, that was always something I wanted to and I managed that quite early on in my Celtic career.
“European football was a huge highlight. Playing in my first match against Manchester United – who I’d probably consider to be my second team after Celtic – at Old Trafford was something I’d dreamed about and playing for Celtic gave me the opportunity to do that.
“As well as following that up with all the leagues and cups, it was really quite a remarkable time to play at Celtic.”
The former Celtic No.12 was spokeof his respect for Jock Stein and his personal pride at commemorating the legendary manager in this match.
He said: “It’s hugely important to remember Jock Stein. He is not only the best manager Celtic have ever had, he is probably one of the best managers Britain’s ever had and beyond that Europe and the world.
“So, it’s hugely important to remember what he achieved and as for Scottish football, he really put it on the map in terms of European success.
“Clearly, he was a man who was ahead of his time and I think that was proved throughout the years when many tried to replicate him and take his tactics and ideas on board.
“He was a remarkable man who achieved great things and it’s just a great honour to be asked to be part of such a great occasion.”
Celtic Legends’ Squad So Far
Manager: Murdo MacLeod
The Jock Stein 30th Anniversary Charity Match takes place on Sunday, September 6 at East End Park (KO 2pm).
Tickets for the match, priced at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions, are available ONLINE, by calling 0871 226 1888* or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office.
Matchday Hospitality is available, on a first come, first served basis, in the Purvis Suite at a cost of £45 per person, or supporters can upgrade to a pitch-side box for an additional price of £100 per person.
Proceeds from the day will be shared between Celtic FC Foundation and the Pars Foundation, the respective charitable arms of both clubs
*Calls cost 13 pence per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. For customer enquiries relating to existing purchases only, please call 0141 230 1967. Calls charged at standard rate.