Hay hails the return of McCann to Celtic

CELTIC saviour Fergus McCann will get a far warmer reception when he unfurls the league flag next season than the last time he performed the honour.

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Fergus McCann can expect a warmer welcome than the last time he unfurled the flag at Parkhead
Fergus McCann can expect a warmer welcome than the last time he unfurled the flag at Parkhead

That was the confident prediction from Hoops legend Davie Hay today as he reacted to the news McCann had been invited back to Parkhead.

The businessman has been asked to be guest of honour at the 60,000- capacity stadium he helped to build on the opening day of the 2014/15 season.

McCann is flying back to Glasgow as it is now 20 years since he rescued Celtic from the brink of extinction.

And, with Neil Lennon's team 21 points clear in the SPFL Premiership, it is a virtual certainty the United States-based businessman will be asked to unfurl the league flag.

The last occasion the 72-year-old did that was on the opening day of the 1998/99 season before a game against Dunfermline - and he was BOOED by the Celtic supporters.

But SportTimes columnist Hay, who worked at the club during McCann's tenure, feels he will be greeted like a hero given what has happened in Scottish football since then.

The man who became known as "The Bunnet" - due to his distinctive choice of headgear - laid the foundations for the on and off-field success Celtic have enjoyed since.

Their Old Firm rivals Rangers, meanwhile, have suffered badly due to the financial mismanagement of some custodians.

Hay said: "The last time Fergus unfurled the flag he wasn't greeted with the best of receptions.

"On reflection, when you see what is happening in the football world financially now, in Scotland in particular, I am sure the fans will give him a different reception.

"Fergus set Celtic on a sound business footing that was badly needed. They are still reaping the rewards of that now.

"Celtic fans always remember what somebody has done for them. If you give service to their club in some way then that will not be forgotten.

"I think it is fitting that Fergus is being invited back to Celtic 20 years on from his takeover. It is typical of the club.

"I definitely think Fergus will get a far warmer reception from the Celtic fans than the last time that he unfurled the league flag."

Celtic manager Lennon welcomed the new that McCann would be returned to the club he helped to save.

He said: "It is absolutely right that we show our respect and gratitude to Fergus McCann.

"Fergus showed tremendous foresight and, indeed, courage to tackle the situation the club was in.

"No-one can deny that Fergus absolutely delivered."


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