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PersonalFullname: Stéphane Mahé
Born: 23 September 1968
Birthplace: Puteaux, France
Signed: 30 July 1997
Left: 1 Aug 2001
Position: Defender, Left-back
Debut: St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic, League, 23 Aug 1997
BiogMahe was a well liked player at Celtic. Coming into the side as a full back, he was immediately competing for a place against with Tosh McKinlay for the left-back role, and in time made himself a regular place on the teamsheet. Prior he had a difficult career and in France with Auxerre & PSG, and came to Celtic to try to kick-start things. He was the first Frenchman to play for the first team.
Despite being a defender, defence was not necessarily his best point, his forte being more the increasingly important wing-back. However, he was competitive and hard working, giving his all in every match, something that all the support could admire. Hard tackling and no half-measures given were part of his game, albeit at the cost of unnecessary yellow cards at times. Mahe made no apology for wearing his heart on his sleeve nor for his love for Celtic and their fans (although sometimes that can just be an excuse for poor play but not in his case).
Mahe made his debut for Celtic on Saturday, 23 August 1997 in a 2-0 away victory over St Johnstone in the pivotal one-in-a-row season. He played his role in the double winning season under Jansen and was one of the most dedicated players in the squad. Overshadowed by various colleagues but nonetheless just as important. It stopped the Huns winning ten-in-a-row and we can be ever thankful for Mahe’s role in this.
However he'll be best remembered by some for a couple of matches v Rangers more than any other, having been sent off in two of the matches (including in his debut against them). The first red card is adjudged harsh by many, one being due to the diving Dane and the other was an unfortunate/unavoidable handball. Pathetic but that’s another injustice.
His next red card v Rangers was in the controversial May 99 game. Mahe was sent off by Hugh Dallas (who was woeful) after a retort following a heavy challenge from Hun player McCann. Mahe had a tantrum after the red card (not surprisingly), and was eventually led off in tears from the pitch, and in truth many sympathised with him. The referee made a mess of it all, and Mahe later had to release an official written apology (by some Celtic mandarin) to dampen matters down.
Don't get the wrong impression . He may have received more than average number of yellow cards but he was a defender who did his job, and outside the matches against Rangers he only received ever just one red card in all his years at Celtic. Actually, compared to many other defenders he was by no means any worse by any means and definitely not a hammer thrower by any stretch. His reputation as temperamental is thus unfairly stamped on him due to the Hun matches and little bit of cliché (i.e. French temperament etc). For that infamous last Red Card against Rangers, he’d actually only received received just the ONE yellow card in any other game over the past six months (that was actually against Rangers also). Hardly again indication of a difficult character. In truth, his unfair reputation meant that referee's were too trigger-happy to give him a card than any benefit of the doubt. Unfair bias against him. The media painted him wrongly, and it was cheap and pathetic.
To give a true picture of Mahe, referee Jim McCluskey stated: "Stephane Mahe? I've never had a moment's trouble with him. He's a wholehearted player and sometimes he does dive in too quickly, but more often than not he comes out with the ball. I'm impressed with his ball control going forward."? This was the same referee who in an interview with Tom Campbell refused to give Celtic a penalty at Ibrox when Mahe was blatantly tripped in the box by Rangers' player Kanchelskis in the box. The ref admitted he was wrong.
It wasn't all easy going for the combative player, and injuries blighted his Celtic career, but he came back each time and gave his all and was increasingly admired each time.
He left for Hearts as new manager Martin O'Neil was reshaping the squad and Mahe wasn't to be a major part of the new era, playing just a paltry number of games under the new manager but enough to get him some medals. Those sympathetic to him would have wished that he'd be given more involvement in the memorable treble season at least.
Overall a good player who managed to play under a multitude of managers (five in total!) at Celtic and played his part well under each.
A much respected player through some great and difficult days.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish Cup||League cup||Other|
|Hearts||01/08/2001||01/07/2003||Free||43 (3)||2||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||30/07/1997||01/08/2001||Unknown||73 (3)||4||9 (0)||1||12 (0)||0||12 (0)||0|
|Rennes||01/08/1996||30/07/1997||No appearance data available|
|Totals||£0||116 (6)||6||12 (0)||1||14 (0)||0||12 (0)||0|
|goals / game||0.04||0.08||0||0|
Honours with CelticScottish Premier League
Football: Mahe joins Celtic's foreign revolution31 July 1997 (Independent)
Celtic yesterday unveiled their new French defender Stephane Mahe who becomes the latest foreign recruit by their Dutch coach, Wim Jansen.
The 28-year-old comes to Parkhead from Rennes looking to relaunch a career which, by his own admission, has stumbled in recent times. The former Auxerre and Paris St-Germain player has signed a three-year contract.
He has been heavily criticised for his recent performances, but believes that under Jansen's guidance, and with the support of the Parkhead faithful, he can show his qualities and rebuild his reputation.
Mahe, signed for a figure believed to be around pounds 500,000, becomes the first Frenchman to play for Celtic and, if he can put his personal problems behind him in Glasgow, should play a key role in improving the club's occasionally suspect back line.
Mahe said: "This is a big opportunity for me to re-launch my career and prove to my critics I can return to my best at a big club. I had a very happy time at Auxerre at the start of my career but at Paris St-Germain I had a few personal problems which held me back.''
Celtic general manager, Jock Brown, said: "Stephane can play in a traditional left-back role or as a modern wing-back depending on the tactics Wim Jansen wants to play.
"He is a player of considerable experience at a high level and we have tracked him for some time and are delighted to make him our fourth signing of recent weeks."
Fergus McCann, Celtic's managing director, added: "The board is pleased to support this continued process of restructuring of the side and delighted to obtain a quality player of international standard as Wim Jansen continues to reshape our squad in line with his plans."
Hibernian have made their second foreign signing in 24 hours with the transfer of experienced French defender Jean-Marc Adjovi-Boco from Lens. Jim Duffy, the Hibs manager, beat off competition from Premier Division rivals Motherwell and Kilmarnock to clinch Boco's signature on a two-year deal.
The move adds further strength to a Hibs defence already reinforced by yesterday's arrival of Icelandic international goalkeeper Olafur Gottskalksson from Keflavik. Both will go straight into the squad for Sunday's opening match against Celtic at Easter Road.
Boco, who can play as a full-back position or as a defensive midfielder, has played more than 200 games for Lens in six seasons of top-flight football in France.
He is now looking forward to the challenge of adjusting to the different demands of the Scottish League.
"The game here is much quicker and more physical than I am used to, but I think I can be a success in this sort of football," he said.
CELTS: MAHE'S BACK STEPHANE: NO I'M NOT; Defender and club at odds.
Stephane Mahe last night shot down Celtic's claims that he could be back in action in three weeks.
The Parkhead star revealed that doctors had confirmed his worst fears ... that he's out of the title run-in.
Celtic claimed the 29-year-old French defender - carried off with knee damage against Hearts - could be back by the time the club face Motherwell on April 18.
A club press release stated: "Following careful examination by specialists we are pleased to report that the injuries sustained by Jackie McNamara and Stephane Mahe are not as bad as first thought.
"Stephane has sustained knee ligament damage, which is not serious enough to require surgery. It is expected to keep him out for 2-3 weeks."
But Mahe said last night: "No, no, I will be out for six or seven weeks.
"I don't think this is right. I saw Dr Paul Duffy and our physiotherapist, Brian Scott, today and they told me I would be out for approximately six weeks or more.
"But even if we beat Rangers in our Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday I won't have the chance to win another medal.
"I think the season is finished for me. Now it's just treatment."
Mahe had expected the bad news after admitting on Sunday night that he feared he would not play again this season.
The absence of Mahe, who has been one of the club's most consistent performers, will be a serious blow to Celtic as they gear up for the league run-in and Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Rangers.
But Celtic believe McNamara could face the Ibrox men at Parkhead on Sunday. Their Press release said: "With intensive treatment, Jackie has a chance of playing."
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scott
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