FORMER Celtic players have backed a new play which tells the story of a fan during the season the club stopped Rangers from winning a record ten-in-a-row.

Bend It Like Brattbakk was written by die-hard Celtic fan Jim Orr and stars well-known Scottish stage and screen actors Keira Lucchesi, Laurie Ventry, and James McAnerney.

It made its debut at the 200-seater Webster’s Theatre in the city’s West End, and since then the play has got the former Hoops alumni buzzing with Harald Brattbakk himself among the ex-pros to give it the thumbs up.

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“Murdo MacLeod heard about the show and came along. He loved it and came on stage. Then one of the players who was influential during the season the play is set, Jackie McNamara came as well and loved it,” explained Glaswegian actor James.

The Outlander star, who plays Kenneth MacIver, in the hit Starz series, continued: “The word spread among the ex-Celtic players about how much they enjoyed it.

“Lisbon Lion John Fallon then came to see it. He loved it so much he said to the writer that he would love to bring another couple of the Lisbon Lions team along with their wives.

“Jim had to knock him back to say it was completely sold-out. We couldn’t make an exception because of health and safety.

“We, therefore, knew there was a demand for the show and we had to take it a bigger stage.”

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Former players Tom Boyd, John Fallon, Scott McDonald, Danny McGrain, Frank McAvennie, Bobby Lennox, Tosh McKinlay, Enrico Annoni, Simon Donnelly, Jackie McNamara, Johan Mjallby and Stan Petrov show support for the play.  

That bigger stage is the Scottish Event Campus’ Lomond Suite where the play will debut at the venue on October 18 with several shows to October 20.

Set during the 1997/1998 season, Bend It Like Brattbakk tells the story of Tam Lyons and his daughter Maggie who are Celtic-obsessed. It explores the lengths one man will go to in order to stop his greatest rivals beating him.

James said: “It is about how much Celtic is involved in his life and what lengths he would go to stop Rangers winning ten-in-a-row.

“I play a character Nat Christie who doesn’t know much about football but he gets embroiled in this world of two absolutely fanatical fans that he has never experienced before. There is a massive twist in it with this character.”

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During the season the play is set, Brattbakk gained a well-deserved place in Celtic’s folklore after coming on as a substitute to net the Parkhead side’s second goal against St Johnstone which saw them clinch the league title and put an end to Rangers’ winning run.

Naturally, Brattbakk was curious after hearing from former players about a play named after him and was eventually put in touch with Jim who managed to persuade him to pose with a promotional poster for the production.

The Norwegian, who is now an airline pilot, even hinted he would love to see it someday.

James laughed: “The show is called Bend it like Brattbakk, but it is not really about him. He was just one of the players in the 97/98 team. He is only in the title because he scored the goal that sort of stop Rangers from effectively doing ten-in-a-row.

“The thought of Jim sending a poster of his play and having Harald hold it up is just a dream come true.”

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James is pictured by Bobby Petta.

Being part of projects like this is also a dream come true for James who is a huge Celtic fan.

With previous credits in other Celtic-themed productions including Tony Roper’s Celts in Seville, he has become a firm favourite for these types of plays.

He beamed: “To be involved in this play is the closest any Celtic supporting actor will come to being a player. The adulation you get at the end…”

Catch Bend It Like Brattbakk at the Scottish Event Campus Lomond Suit from October 18.

For tickets, click here