Only a fraction of football clubs really place significant importance on squad numbers.
However, with Celtic, the no7 is known as the pinnacle, only to be bestowed upon those who are truly worthy.
Today, the club have confirmed that new signing, Giorgos Giakoumakis, will adopt the hallowed strip, with the number proudly worn previously by the most high profile and exclusive legends of the side.
Jimmy “Jinky” Johnstone, Lisbon Lion and the man still known by all Celts as the Parkhead club’s greatest ever player, was the first to portray a level of significance to the number. Johnstone was renowned all over the world as he was the most influential player in Celtic’s best ever side. Incredible performances against the world’s best, including a memorable display against Real Madrid in Alfredo di Stefano’s testimonial, proved that Johnstone truly was a global superstar.
Henrik Larsson was brought in at Celtic’s time of need by his former Feyenoord colleague, Wim Jansen. The Swede was crucial in stopping Rangers winning 10-in-a-row and then led the side into a new era which included a remarkable treble and a Uefa Cup final. With 242 goals, Larsson remains unquestionably the club’s best player this side of the millennium. After seven years at Celtic, the King of Kings moved to none other than the Nou Camp with Barcelona where he won the coveted Uefa Champions League.
The two aforementioned heroes highlighted that the Celtic no7 jersey cannot go to just anyone, as has been the understanding over the last twenty years.
Polish striker Maciej Zurawski took the jersey in 2005 and played the role well in his two year spell in Glasgow. Fan favourites such as Scott McDonald and Patrick Roberts both briefly adopted the no7 after initially wearing 27 for the Hoops. Holywood signings Robbie Keane and Freddie Ljungberg were both given the shirt for their respective 6 month spells with differing results while disappointing periods from Miku and Nadir Cifcti have left the no7 vacant for three years now.
It is now up to Greek hitman Giakoumakis to carry his form over from Dutch football and rise to the Scottish challenge. Let’s hope he is remembered in the same was as Jinky and Henrik, and less so in the same was as Miku and Cifcti.