SEPTEMBER’S A Match for Cancer charity match, sponsored by Dafabet, will see Martin Compston take to the pitch at Celtic Park for a fourth time, but pulling on the Hoops and playing in front of his fellow Celtic fans will never get old for the Greenock-born actor.
Star of hit BBC drama series Line of Duty and films such as Sweet Sixteen and the The Wee Man, Martin’s career has seen him line up alongside some famous faces from television and film, however, playing alongside his heroes is fast becoming second nature to him.
Martin has previously graced the hallowed turf of Celtic Park on three occasions, having played in 2013’s Stiliyan Petrov tribute match, 2014’s Maestrio match and last year’s Henrik’s Heroes v Lubo’s Legends match.
He also played his part among a team of Celtic Legends at East End Park back in 2015 for Celtic FC Foundation’s Jock Stein Charity Match, but it’s the thrill of playing at Paradise once again that has Martin truly excited.
Speaking of his excitement ahead of the match, he said: “Every time I play in one of Celtic FC Foundation’s charity matches it’s like a dream come true for me. So to have the opportunity to play at Celtic Park for a fourth time is absolutely amazing.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have played alongside Stiliyan a few times already and it’s a great honour to have been asked to play in his team for this match.
“I grew up following Celtic as a boy and can remember some tough times but Stiliyan was among the guys who helped to bring back the good times, so he was a hero of mine.”
Martin recalls the special atmosphere during the #19 Legends´ charity match in 2013 and is sure that A Match for Cancer will be another truly memorable occasion in Paradise.
He added: “The last game for Stan was very emotional. You could feel the connection that he had with the fans and being out there that day while the whole stadium sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, is a moment that will stay with me forever.
“He has been a real inspiration in the way he has battled back through illness and the fact that his Foundation is now helping others through difficult times is fantastic.
“I know that the funds raised from the match will be put to great use by Celtic FC Foundation, The Stiliyan Petrov Foundation and The James Milner Foundation and I’m just absolutely delighted to be involved.”
Having received acclaim for his performances in previous charity matches, Martin also joked about his eagerness to get on the scoresheet this time round.
“I’d love to get a goal of course. I missed a sitter in one of the previous games and I’ve had another couple of chances but it’s not happened for me yet.
“I was desperate to score in the game last year and I was probably actually trying too hard but hopefully if I get a chance this time I’ll take it.
“I’m naturally more of a holding midfielder anyway and I’ve never been the best finisher, so to score really would be something else.
“Just playing is these games though is an incredible privilege and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity once again.”
Martin Compston will join a host of famous figures from the worlds of football and entertainment, with Joos Valgaeren and Paddy McCourt already announced to play in the charity match, and many more to follow.
Tickets are now on general sale, on a first come first served basis – maximum of 10 per person – priced at £14 for adults and £6 for concessions*.
Tickets are available to purchase online at www.celticfc.net, by calling 0871 226 1888** or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office. The lower tier will be on sale in the first instance and Rail Seating does not apply to this match.
Premium tickets (£30) and corporate packages (£135) are also available by calling 0871 226 1888** (Option 4) or emailing [email protected]
Celtic FC Foundation will also be hosting a fundraising dinner – An Evening with Petrov and Milner – the night before the match, on Friday, September 7. This will take place in the Kerrydale Suite at Celtic Park.
Joining Stiliyan and James on the night will be a host of representatives from both charity match squads. Guests will enjoy an excellent three-course meal, auction, prize draw and after-dinner entertainment, in the company of a number of football and celebrity greats. The age limit is 18+.
Tickets are priced at £700 for a table of 10 or £70 per person and can booked via email [email protected] or telephone 0141 551 4321.
Mirroring the match, net proceeds of the dinner will be devoted to tackling cancer through Celtic FC Foundation (SC024648), The Stiliyan Petrov Foundation (1154131) and The James Milner Foundation (1146768).
* Concessions 65+/Under 16s.
** Calls cost 13p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. Booking fees apply online and via our sales line.