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PersonalFullname: Peter Grant
aka: Pointer, Pope
Born: 30 August 1965
Birthplace: Bellshill, Scotland
Signed: 27 July 1982 (turned pro from youths)
Left: 22 Aug 1997
First game: Rangers 0-1 away 21 April 1984 league
Last game: Saint Johnstone away 1-0 27 August 1997 league cup
First goal: Airdrie away 4-0 27 August 1984 league cup
Last goal: Raith Rovers home 4-1 4 May 1996 league
International Caps: 2 caps
International Goals: 0
BiogPeter Grant was a die-hard Celtic fan who displayed his pride in the club like a badge of honour.
The Bellshill-born Bhoy was a schoolboy signing for the Hoops and turned professional with the club in July 1982. The blonde midfielder made his first team debut as an 18-year-old in a 1-0 defeat at Ibrox in a league clash on April 21st 1984. A tenacious ball winner, if limited when in possession, it took Grant a couple of seasons to really establish himself as a regular first team starter, being in competition with the likes of Paul McStay and Murdo MacLeod for a central midfield slot.
His greatest season in the Hoops came in the club’s memorable Centenary season (1987-88). With MacLeod now moved on to Germany, Grant slotted into the central midfield beside the outstanding McStay and the pair formed a formidable partnership. Grant revelled in his role as ball winner, with McStay using his superb vision and peerless passing ability to destroy defences.
But Peter was also showing glimpses that there was more to his game than being a midfield work-horse. He looked much more comfortable and confident on the ball and his play was neat and effective. He also scored one of the most memorable goals of that ‘Double’ winning campaign with a 30-yard howitzer past a stunned Andy Goram as Celtic beat Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road.
A broken foot a month before the end of the season couldn't ruin what had been a great campaign for the player. Scotland caps and a Scottish Cup winners medal followed during the next term but those waiting for Grant to continue his progress would be disappointed. Grant’s form and confidence dipped as Celtic seemed to stagger from one crisis to another.
Despite transfer talk his passion and commitment remained although those attributes could not disguise the failings in his game. A string of trophyless seasons Celtic under Liam Brady and Lou Macari hurt Grant as much as it did any Celtic fan so it was a sweet moment for both player and supporters when the Hoops ended their barren run by lifting the Scottish Cup of 1995. The 1-0 final victory was no classic but Peter Grant was outstanding. Despite carrying an injury he played through the pain barrier and was at his tigerish best. The shock League Cup final defeat to Raith Rovers was fresh in the memory and Grant more than anyone ensured their would be no repeat of that debacle. His part in this victory cannot be overstated, he was everywhere. Hunting every ball, giving his all and busting a gut. Some even dubbed the match as the "Peter Grant Final" afterwards. He deserved the plaudits and praise.
That magnificent performance would be his last significant contribution to the Hoops cause.
He was awarded a Testimonial against Bayern Munich on 22 January 1997 which was much deserved, especially after all the years and the mayhem in the barren trophy days of the early 90s.
He would depart during season 1997-98 for Norwich but he was back at Parkhead for the last game of the season when the Bhoys would clinch the title and end Rangers’ bid for 10-in-a-row. It would have been fitting if he was still at the club when we won the league title, but maybe it was his departure with that of others that led to the fresh outlook that led to the title victory.
What must be said added about Peter Grant is his absolute love for the club. He never hid it, and could express it too often (in the papers etc) which for whatever reason won him the novel nickname from the fans of 'The Pope'. However, he was better known by the support as 'The Pointer' mainly due to his knack for telling colleagues what to do and where to go by pointing all the time, nickname was all in humour. The support loved him but no doubts that despite their love for him and his for the club & support, the truth was that he was not a great player. His enthusiasm and work-rate papered over some of the cracks, but when it all came together he was more than worth in gold.
One episode clearly illustrates the good & bad side to Peter Grant's commitment to Celtic. In a match v Rangers, since dubbed the St Patrick's Day massacre match, Peter Grant conceded a free-kick not far outside our box which earned him a yellow card. Adrenaline, stupidity or whatever else then led him to not hold his place in the wall and he charged down the free-kick which earned him a second yellow and red card! Worse was that it was early in the game when this occurred. Luckily, some Rangers players got sent off later and Celtic won out the day. However, it was Peter Grant's enthusiasm & blind-love that got him the daft red card. In general, this genuine love for the club he had could blind him in his decisions and remove the level headedness sometimes needed. On a number of occasions, his commitment was really valued and made a positive difference (such as the 1995 Scottish Cup final), other times it was a handicap for himself.
In truth, he may not have had the great natural talent or skill as many other midfield players we have had in our ranks, but you need a mix in a squad. Peter Grant never hid and despite not convincing all the supporters (and he had plenty of critics) he never let anyone get to him and ploughed on. Winning the ball, playing a role similar to a holding midfielder were his best aspects, and he did his best. Must add that the club were badly managed for a large spell in his time at the club. After, the centenary season, McNeill was in decline and Liam Brady was a poor coach, whilst Lou Macari was a disaster (with Peter Grant openly berating him straight after Macari's sacking). In that environment, few if any players are going to develop well to their full potential. In that sense, Peter Grant suffered as much as did some of the more illustrious names we had in the midfield (like Collins & McStay).
Regardless, the support is lucky to have had someone like him in our ranks. He'll always be a Celtic man and we'll always respect him.
Post-Playing CareerGrant would later become a coach at Bournemouth and West Ham and had an unsuccessful spell as manager of his old club Norwich. Grant then joined West Bromwich Albion as first-team coach, joining forces with former team-mate and then manager Tony Mowbray. After an unsuccessful season in the Premier League, Grant left the Baggies to make an emotional return with newly-appointed Celtic manager Tony Mowbray to Paradise at the start of the 2009-10 season.
It was a very disappointing and unsuccessful stint for Celtic, and Grant got it in the neck as much as all else. Stories abounded that Peter Grant had difficulty with popular coach Neil Lennon, and this never helped his case publicly . When Tony Mowbray resigned from Celtic on 25th March 2010, Peter Grant followed. It was a sad end for Grant. He is 100% committed to Celtic and loves the club, and his failure again is something that he will likely have taken hard.
Sometimes it just doesn't work. Tommy Burns was similarly a died in the wool Celtic fanatic but was an unsuccessful manager for us. Peter Grant knew him very well and can recognise that also. For all Peter's efforts at Celtic, as both a player and as a coach, he has deserved to achieve much more at the club, and some ways he has not matched what he could have. No matter what, he will always remain a true Celt at heart and the support will always remember that.
We do wish him well.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Bournemouth||01/07/2000||01/07/2002||Free||14 (1)||0||0 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||1 (0)||0|
|Reading||20/08/1999||01/07/2000||Free||27 (2)||1||0 (4)||0||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0|
|Norwich||22/08/1997||20/08/1999||£200,000||64 (4)||3||2 (0)||0||4 (1)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||27/07/1982||22/08/1997||Youth||361 (1)||15||34 (4)||1||40 (3)||3||27 (0)||1|
|Totals||£200,000||466 (8)||19||36 (8)||1||49 (4)||3||30 (0)||1|
| ||goals / game||0.04||0.02||0.05||0.03|
Honours with CelticScottish League Championship
Quote"He has a commitment to the club that is second to none."
Paul McStay, Celtic's captain and Grant's lifelong friend.
"I remember Paul McStay saying to Krankl, in very clear English, ' You're a cheat'. The bottle had landed 20 yards away from their player."
Peter Grant, 2003, on the Rapid Vienna fiasco. Krankl was Vienna's captain.
"I don't remember any fist fights when I was at Celtic, but there is always aggression when you have Peter Grant in your team!"
Pierre Van Hooijdonk, Feb 09
"Scoring the winning goal in that final and seeing the joy and happiness of the fans and players made me realise how important it was for Celtic after six years without a trophy.
"I remember everything about the goal. A ball was kicked away and it ended up at the feet of Tosh McKinlay who put an early cross in towards the back post. I jumped just a little bit higher than my opponent and headed a diagonal header into the ground and it went into the far corner.
"The moment when I really realised what it all meant was when the game finished and I saw Paul McStay and Peter Grant, two real Celtic men, crying on the pitch and hugging each other for 10 or 15 minutes, that´s when I realised what this club meant."
Pierre Van Hooijdonk (May 2013)
Anecdote"On the night Celtic won the league against Dundee in the Centenary season, Peter Grant, leg in a stookie, came down to London to the No.1 supporters dance. He stayed all night, got photos taken, got on stage and sang a song (for which some tosspot grassed on him, probably the only person in the entire place that night who didn't enjoy the old Jungle standards). There are players today who would have used any excuse not to be there...Won the league? Feck it, I'm not going. Broken leg? Feck it, I'm not going. Grant could quite easily have not turned up, but he knows the importance of the fans to the club, unlike today's primadonnas who get pissed off playing on bumpy old Barrowfield and then pissed off driving so far to leafy Lennoxtown. You could count on the finger of one finger those who would do what Grant did. Too many of today's 'superstars' don't have a clue what makes the club tick."
TC67 of KStreet Forum
The "fish phobia" mythDuring team-mate Paolo Di Canio's first preseason tour with Celtic, the madcap Italian recalled how he baited Peter Grant, his new captain.
Di Canio recalled: "By sheer chance, I discovered Peter had a phobia about fish. I decided to exploit it for my own amusement."
So one night, he sneaked down to the hotel kitchen and found a huge, fresh salmon head.
Di Canio put the head in a plastic bag, went back up to the room where Grant was lying down and tossed the fish casually on the bed.
Grant ran to the other side of the room, yelling and staring at the salmon with terror. Di Canio pretended to play dumb even though it dawned that Grant's horror wasn't an act and eventually started chasing him around the room with the fish until Grant found sanctuary by locking himself in the bathroom, from where he shouted 'Di Canio, you're a f***ing madman'.
Di Canio was laughing so much there were tears in his eyes but when he realised Grant wasn't prepared to come out of the bathroom, he tried a different tactic, insisting he'd got rid of the fish while actually having hid it under Grant's duvet. When Grant was persuaded the room had been cleared, he went to his bed, pulled back the duvet and "let out a blood-curdling cry".
"He was so shocked, he just lay there, breathing really fast. Eventually I got rid of the fish but it was a while before Peter spoke to me again. Despite this incident, we became very good mates."
“I’m aware of what Paolo wrote [in his autobiography] but the truth of the matter was that it was more like a shark’s head he’d put in my bed. I think most people would have been a bit startled by it. But I don’t have a fish phobia, I’ve got no problem with fish at all.”
So there you go... the story is a load of pollocks!
(by David Potter, from KeepTheFaith website)
Celtic fans always love a trier, and no-body tried harder for Celtic than Peter Grant. It was Peter's misfortune to be at Celtic Park at a turbulent and unfortunate time of the Club's history. It was his further misfortune to suffer many injuries, often at crucial points of seasons, and injuries which kept him out of key games. But it was his privilege to be loved and adored by the fans who loved him and whom he loved back.
“He wore his heart on his sleeve.” “He played for the jersey.” Such clichés do not in fact do justice to the service for Celtic that Peter gave over 12 or 13 years, serving a variety of managers – Davie Hay, Billy McNeill, Liam Brady, Lou Macari and finally his erstwhile team mate Tommy Burns.
He made his debut as a substitute in a 0-1 defeat to Rangers in 1984, just as that awful season was about to reach its nadir in the loss of the Scottish Cup Final to Aberdeen. His best position was in midfield. Celtic were rich in midfielders, for Peter's career coincided with that of Paul McStay and (later) John Collins. In truth, Peter lacked the class of McStay, but made up for it in commitment, at a time when commitment to the Celtic Cause was not always a conspicuous feature of Celtic players. Peter, for example watched Murdo MacLeod, Brian McClair and worst of all the odious Maurice Johnston leave the Club, when the Club obviously needed their talents.
But Peter stayed. He would not have been true to himself otherwise. In later years, after he retired as a player, Peter worked for Norwich City and Bournemouth and now West Ham, but always worried about Celtic. No doubt, like the rest of us, he knew that sensation gnawing away at his vitals. This is caused by feelings of being far away when one's beloved Celtic take the field and one is unable to do anything to help. Love of Celtic is of course a congenital and terminal illness. One will never lose it. Peter knows that. So do we all.
Peter will be proud of his part in the two League Championship victories of 1986 and 1988. He was a substitute, but on the field at Love Street on the day that Albert Kidd and BBC Radio Scotland did the job for us, and he was more or less an ever present in Billy McNeill's Centenary Season League Championship – until near the end when an injury compelled him to miss the last few games and the Scottish Cup Final. But he was one of the first on the field at the end of the Cup Final (looking very smart in his suit that day), after Celtic beat Dundee United in the last minute.
He played in two successful Cup Finals (as well as the dreadful one of 1990 against Aberdeen, which was resolved by a penalty shoot-out). In 1989, he played against Rangers in the 1-0 victory and was outstanding in the second half as Rangers became ever more desperate. On one occasion, the TV cameras seemed to catch Peter laying one on Mark Walters – an optical illusion, of course! But they also showed the gritted teeth, the sweat, the preparedness to die for the Cause, if necessary, which was the hallmark of Peter Grant.
But his best Cup Final was the one against Airdrie in 1995. A decade down the line, it is difficult for youngsters to imagine what that Cup Final meant to the Celtic community, which had suffered so much in the recent past. Peter had been injured a week or so before the game, and was widely believed to be out of contention for a place. But Peter was determined. Pain meant little to him, as he tackled with ferocious determination the Airdrie players who might just have denied Celtic. Repeatedly himself fouled by cynical men who knew exactly how to foul and get off with it, Peter kept his calm and dignity with one particular tackle earning the unanimous approval of the Fourth Estate in the Press Box. His joy at the end was shared by us all.
The desperate days of the early 1990s were awful for Peter. He suffered as much as we did as the grand old team were under-funded, betrayed and cynically manipulated by a family dynasty who talked a lot, but cared little other than for their own position and privilege. Peter was employed by them, so had to hold his tongue, but there was little doubt what he was thinking.
More than a few times Peter was in trouble with referees. On occasion, he seemed to overdo his commitment to the Cause, but that was simply Peter's nature. When off the field, he is a gentleman, articulate and clear thinking, and polite and gallant as he proved when he shook hand with Royalty before the Airdrie Cup Final, at the time when the Celtic fans were singing of their true allegiance in “The Soldiers' Song”. Now and again, the Jungle would sing ‘politically incorrect' in tribute to Peter Grant, but it was a mark of the affection in which he was held.
Indirectly, proof comes of his love for the Cause in the interviews that Rangers used to do in their programme. They would pick a fan, often Neanderthal and primitive, from the back streets of Larkhall or Belfast and ask him his favourite food, etc. The food was always something like “True Blue Pies” or “Orange Juice”, but when it came to the pet hate, it was almost invariably Peter Grant. Occasionally Mike Galloway or Tony Mowbray got a mention, but Peter usually won.
Peter won two caps for Scotland in 1989. He is proud of them too, but for Peter, Celtic came first and foremost. He will be rightly happy in the success of Martin O'Neill. What a pity that he couldn't have been part of it on the playing field!
A green letter day; June 2009 The SunJUST the thought of wearing the Hoops for the first time was enough to make Peter Grant cry with joy.
And while a debut defeat to Rangers at Ibrox made him want to shed tears again, he'll always cherish the moment he became a Celt.
April 21, 1984. A green letter day.
Twelve years after a heartbreaking exit from Parkhead you wonder if he's welling up again.
For former idol Grant's poised to become a homecoming Bhoy - this time as a coach for the club he'll never stop loving.
Over the last fortnight he's been on tenterhooks as the deal to make Tony Mowbray the new Celtic manager has hung in the balance.
Now, though, West Brom trio Mowbray, No2 Mark Venus and first team coach Grant look set to be announced on Wednesday.
And it will rank as great a moment for him as the day Davie Hay broke the momentous news that he was being blooded against Rangers.
Grant - also with Norwich, Reading, Bournemouth and West Ham over the last decade - poured his heart out on a Celtic TV special about what the club means to him.
The ex-midfielder, who made 365 appearances in the Hoops, said: "I got the opportunity to go onto the groundstaff at 15.
"I was just cleaning the boots for absolute legends.
"Guys I stood cheering on the terracing, all of a sudden I was going into the dressing room and taking their boots.
"The likes of your Danny McGrains and Tommy Burns - people I just adored.
"To be able to go into the dressing room and pick their boots up and to clean them was an HONOUR for me. Some people would look on that as a hindrance.
"But for me it was an honour and a privilege.
"Then I went through the youth ranks. I was the captain of the team that became the first ever winners of the BP Youth Cup at Celtic.
"In that season I got the opportunity - a fantastic opportunity - out of the blue to play in the first team.
"People always say 'If I got that chance once I would be delighted'.
"Fortunately for me that chance came against Rangers at Ibrox, which was a major, major surprise to say the least.
"I remember we were going to play Airdrie reserves.
"I always used to go to mass first thing Saturday mornings just to make sure I kept away from injury.
"I went back and my mother said to me 'You've had a phone call from Celtic Park, you've got to go in early'.
"I just thought the game had been changed. I went into Celtic Park and I remember two absolute legends walking past me - Bobby Lennox and Jimmy Johnstone - and looking at me.
''They said to me: 'Peter, you'll get your first breather tonight about nine o'clock'.
"I just started laughing because I was more nervous about these guys talking to me more than anything else.
"I remember somebody saying to me that I had to go to the physio's room, that Davie Hay wanted to speak to me. I went in and Davie was sat there.
"He said: 'Granty, you're playing over at Ibrox today. If I didn't think you could do it, you wouldn't be playing'.
"Then he just walked out and that was it. That was the way he spoke to me. When Davie left I actually started CRYING with excitement. I just couldn't believe it.
"I hadn't even travelled with the first team or anything. I was actually gobsmacked.
"I must have done OK in the game. We lost 1-0 and that's always rankled with me.
"But to go on and play in, somebody said to me, over 50 Old Firm games was amazing.
"If I'd played 50 games for Celtic I would have been delighted.
"But to play in 50 Old Firm games was something else for me."
Grant, 43, was a Celtic first-teamer for 13 years and got a richly deserved testimonial against Bayern Munich shortly before he bid farewell to Paradise.
And the day he left was so emotional he couldn't bring himself to look back at the stadium he worshipped.
Grant said: "I thank God every day for the opportunity I got. I was very, very fortunate.
"I've been away from Celtic now near enough 10 years, but people always remember me as Peter Grant of Celtic. It's something I'm very, very proud of.
"People say that playing at Ibrox must have been the happiest day of my life. And it was a fantastic day, nobody can ever take that away from me. But at Celtic Park the following week, we played Hibs and won 3-2.
"Now my dream had been to run out at Celtic Park, with the Celtic fans singing 'Walk On'.
"That was me, I was happy as Larry. If someone had put me in a box then and taken me to Heaven then I would've been happy.
"THAT was the one dream I did have - to run out at Celtic Park, nowhere else, just once, in front of the Celtic fans singing 'Walk On'.
"Forget all the trophies we won and lost, the disappointments and the great times. That's a memory that sticks in my mind.
"Driving down London Road and turning up into Kerrydale Street and seeing the sign 'This is Celtic Football Club'. I just thought it was fantastic.
"The only time I didn't look was on the way out when I was going down to sign for Norwich City. I was driving away with my big friend Raymond Sparkes and I wouldn't look back.
"He said: 'What's the matter?'
"I just said: 'I'm not going back there as a player. Let's just go.' "
The pain of enduring Rangers' unrelenting march to nine-in-a-row was the most acute hurt for Grant at Celtic.
But it also helped shape his never-say-die character - perfectly illustrated in the 1995 Scottish Cup triumph over Airdrie when he played through a knee injury.
Grant said: "The nine years were very difficult. It was the culmination of us not being good enough, the culmination of losing the likes of the Raith Rovers League Cup final.
"That period of time wasn't good enough.
"It's part of Celtic's history now, but the club moved on, Fergus McCann came in and the rest is history.
"Tommy Burns came back and put something in place. We had a fantastic footballing side people loved to come and watch.
"I think we were the only team that ever got clapped off at the end of the season without winning anything."
Fans will second that devotion
The Scotsman 22/01/1997HUGH KEEVINS
THE bond between a club and its supporters will rarely be better exemplified than by the size of the attendance at tonight's testimonial match for Peter Grant.
There will be as many of the player's detractors in the expected crowd of 35,000 to see Celtic play Bayern Munich as there will be those whose admiration for Grant is undiluted. The vote of thanks from the fans in the stands will be unanimous, however, because there is a universal recognition that, for better or worse, he is one of them.
Grant has shown sufficient forbearance in the face of adversity in a variety of forms, on and off the park, to vouch for his devotion to the club he joined 15 years ago. Long service medals will not be able to be struck in future as a consequence of the Bosman ruling and the arrival of a meaningful freedom of contract. Tonight's game may even be the last testimonial match ever given to a Celtic player.
The contest falls within a glut of competitive games but, against the odds, it will be a noisy celebration of a career based on honesty and application.
Nobody, least of all Grant, would claim that his was an underestimated talent. But there is enough there for him to be, from the age of 17 until today, a first-team choice for five managers at Celtic Park. Scotland also bestowed the highest playing honour on Grant twice during the late Eighties.
"He has a commitment to the club that is second to none," says Paul McStay, Celtic's captain and Grant's lifelong friend.
When the pair were much younger, a night out led to McStay, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, temporarily losing his angelic image and Grant demonstrating the fearless side of his personality.
Innocent horseplay involving a supermarket trolley led to the former being given a dressing down in his local police station. Grant was a late arrival on the scene, loudly suggesting that a Celtic player might know what kind of justice to expect in Larkhall.
The player's garrulousness is legendary. When his colleague Paolo Di Canio gained notoriety through stating that 90 per cent of referees in Scotland were Protestant and openly biased against Celtic, Grant was immediately placed under suspicion of having prompted the Italian.
The charge was denied when Grant said, with his tongue in his cheek, that he would have told Di Canio the correct figure was 100 per cent.
On the day that Fergus McCann launched Celtic's Bhoys Against Bigotry initiative, tonight's honoured guest was the butt of good-humoured innuendo.
It would all have been a source of mystery to Jurgen Klinsmann, whose presence will help swell the numbers tonight, even though he once had a Rangers supporters club dubiously named in his honour.
The German, though, can understand the affinity between the Celtic supporters and Grant. "Peter must always have felt that he was part of a family at Celtic. I admire that," he said.
"I think supporters more readily identify with players like him than those who stay for two or three years and then go away again."
Tommy Burns, Celtic's manager, threw his boots into the crowd on the night that he played for Celtic for the last time. He understands the emotional toll that has been taken of someone like Grant at a club where a once plentiful supply of success dried up nine years ago.
"This night has been a source of worry for Peter for the last 12 months because he thinks nobody will turn up and he will be considered a failure," he said.
"But he has shown a level of dedication that has been above and beyond the call of duty at times and has learned more about himself in adversity.
"If I had to sum up his contribution to the club in a few words, I would say he has been a wholehearted servant."
It is probably the only epitaph Grant would want.
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