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PersonalFullname: Gary Caldwell
aka: "Heid" (!)
Born: 12 April 1982
Birthplace: Stirling, Scotland
Position: Defender, Centre-half, Central-Midfielder (occasionally)
Squad Number: 5
Signed: July 2006
Left: 13 Jan 2010
International Caps: 33 (June 2009)
International Goals: 2
Scotland international Gary Caldwell (who in time was to be christened by the support as "Heid!") signed a pre-contract agreement with Celtic in January 2006 which allowed the defender to leave Hibernian for the Bhoys that summer. The Easter Road skipper began his career at Newcastle United but it was at Hibs where he really made his name, winning a Scotland cap while on loan in Edinburgh in 2002.
After returning to St James Park a season long loan spell at Coventry followed before Caldwell moved to Hibs on a full time basis following a free transfer in January 2004.
His move to Celtic under-whelmed many in the Hoops support who believed the player was not of the standard required. Caldwell however was rated by the one person who really mattered, manager Gordon Strachan, and from his earliest days at Parkhead the centre-half was a first team regular.
He picked up a league winners medal in his debut season without really impressing. His form towards the end of the 2007/08 season was excellent although up until that point he was the most criticised player in the squad (with the exception of Lee Naylor).
Despite the manager’s loyalty Gary would remain a player to split opinion and his cause has not been helped by costly mistakes in key matches against Benfica and Barcelona in the Champions League. A spell at right-back was also less than impressive. For many his performance against Barcelona, where after attempting to play the ball on the ground he ended up gifting a chance to the opportunity to the opposition who duly scored, it seemed all over. Too many were frustrated with him.
Caldwell however never offered anything other than his all to the Celtic cause and for the most part, over the course of next two full seasons, his defensive displays were more frequently solid. Although his doubters in the stands remained.
Despite Gary's many critics Strachan kept faith with him. Following that nightmare against Barca he never put a foot wrong again for the rest of the 2007/08 campaign and was the unsung hero in the two games v Rangers in the title run-in, setting up the two goals that helped win both games and ultimately the title. His pass to Nakamura for his incredible goal was as good as Nakamura's shot, picking up brilliantly the player to get the goal. He'd become a cult hero for some. It can't be understated what he did in that great last run. He put aside any lofty ambitions, and he helped to pull a Celtic side way behind Rangers to record a miracle league title win with seven wins in a row recovering from behind far behind Rangers. He was good in defence and turned things around.
Caldwell was much more consistent in season 2008/09. The once commonplace errors were all but eradicated and he appeared a significantly more assured performer. While Celtic may have lost the title race, Caldwell was one of very few players to emerge with their reputation enhanced. This improved standing however would not last long, and the boo boys were on his back and others, as the defence leaked goals and the best central defender was deemed to be the one longest currently out the side (and so on...).
With one year remaining on his current contract Caldwell - with a renewed sense of self-worth following his improved performances - seemed hesitant to sign a new deal at Parkhead. New Hoops boss Tony Mowbray made it clear he was eager for the centre-half to extend his stay but the rumour mill seemed to suggest Caldwell was holding out for a greater amount (which was later confirmed in a newspaper report).
This dithering over a new contract allowed the player's critics to raise their heads once more and they were fed plenty of ammunition by Caldwell's early season performances for both club and country. His displays were littered with costly individual errors - including an own goal in the Champions League defeat at Parkhead to Arsenal - and his standing among the Parkhead support threatened to slump to a new low. In total he was unfortunate to have scored three own goals in the Champions League (against Celtic), not an enviable achievement. He was easily found out in Europe but not necessarily all his fault and the team tactics & coaching was also to blame.
Off the field, Caldwell was a bit of a diddy in PR terms. For some reason he was a mouthpiece for the press giving them the column inches to make a mile from. Usually they were just the usual football banter and other times the upbeat bravado but on occasion they backfired. Claiming that we could go all the way in the Europa League in 2009 was an embarrassment as we tripped up and stumbled fast in the group. A personal set of tabloid dramas (out with of discussion of this review) very much blackened his name with some but we don't know the full details and it's not our business.
However the worst in Celtic terms was likely when he was quoted claiming that he was due a pay rise to 20 grand a week. This was at a time when we were out the Champs League and he'd just been red carded in a Scotland game which effectively saw the national side out the World Cup (although must be noted that in no way was it his fault alone but he had to carry the can). We'd come runners-up in the league and the defence wasn't sorted. It was all bad timing and it was too late to turn it around as it got a large number of the support irked and he became a figure much lampooned. Satirised as being narcissistic, he has the honour of having the first mock twitter Celtic feed made about him (and surprisingly humourous it was to). It became the benchmark for most others but it was never nasty more just tongue-in-cheek.
Don't get too much of the wrong impression, arrogance can be a good thing and maybe it helped his game. Others complained that likely he thought too much of his ability which was a weakness, believing he was a Beckenbauer style player. Maybe part of the problem was the inability of the previous manager to coach and find an effective defence. Under a more defensively astute manager than Strachan, possibly his game would have come on better and he'd have been more respected. He wasn't a bad bloke just could be his own worst enemy on occasion. In many ways his biggest mistakes were always following when he was simply getting stuck in (something supporters do like). He was a raw rather than cerebral type of player and that showed. The chants of "Heid Heid Heid" as he went in for challenges from the Celtic support highlight that no matter the criticism from some quarters the support did like his ability to get stuck in.
After a brief period on the bench Caldwell regained his place in the starting line-up in the 2009/10 season. His presence did little to improve standards within the Hoop's backline though as Celtic were consistently let down by a leaky and error prone defence. Consequently the criticism began once more to pelt down on Caldwell and his defensive colleagues, although no one person alone is responsible for this. The coaching staff were more than culpable for the problem.
Against this backdrop Celtic entered the January 2010 transfer window with most supporters demanding changes, and on 13th Jan 2010 Gary Caldwell departed to Wigan for around £1m (despite interest from Middlesborough managed by his old manager Gordon Strachan).
We hope him all the best. A bit of a character and welcome back any time.
Statement on Celtic website (13th Jan 2010)GARY Caldwell has completed his move to English Premier Leagueside Wigan Athletic and the defender, who joined Celtic back in 2006, thanked the club and supporters for their backing throughout his time at the club.
Caldwell made 151 appearances for the Hoops over the past three-and-a-half years, scoring seven goals, and he helped the club win two league titles, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup.
Speaking today, the defender said: “It’s a massive wrench for me to leave a club like Celtic but I want to thank the club and all the fans for the support they’ve given me in my time there.
“But I’m a Wigan Athletic player now and I can’t wait to get started in the Premier League.”
Everyone at Celtic thanks Gary for his contribution to the club and wishes him every success in the future.
Quotes"It used to be bigger, the heid, believe it or not, but my body's grown into it."
Gary Caldwell, nicknamed 'Heid'
|Season||SPL||League Cup||Scottish Cup||European||Total|
|total||105||1||4||8||0||0||7||1||2||28||1||0|| 148 || 3 || 6|
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Middlesborough||13/01/2010|| ||£1,000,000|| || || || || || || || |
|Celtic||01/07/2006||13/01/2010||Signed||105 (1)||5||7 (1)||2||8 (0)||0||27 (1)||0|
|Hibernian||30/01/2004||01/07/2006||Free||87 (1)||5||8 (0)||2||6 (0)||0||2 (1)||0|
|Derby||08/08/2003||08/10/2003||Loan||6 (3)||0||0 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Coventry||03/07/2002||05/05/2003||Loan||36 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Hibernian||01/02/2002||31/05/2002||Loan||10 (1)||0||0 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Darlington||20/11/2001||20/12/2001||Loan||4 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Newcastle||01/08/1999||30/01/2004||Trainee||No appearance data available|
|Totals||£0||248 (6)||10||17 (1)||4||19 (0)||0||29 (2)||0|
| ||goals / game||0.03||0.22||0||0|
Honours with CelticScottish Cup:
|MOTM Winners 2008-09|
|21-Oct-08||Man Utd 3-0 Celtic|| Champions League|
|05-Nov-08||Celtic 1-1 Man Utd|| Champions League|
| 2008 ||***2008-09 European Player of the Year***|
|07-Feb-09||St Mirren 1-0 Celtic|| Scottish Cup|
|09-May-09||Rangers 1-0 Celtic||SPL|
|May-09||May 09 Player of the Month|| |
- International Appearances: Scottish FA Website
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, Apr 13 2013, 6:10 AM EDT
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Keyword tags: celtic fc Celtic football club defender football club Gary Caldwell Heid kerrydale street Kerrydale Street FC
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