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Fullname: Stephen McManus
aka: Big Mick
Born: 10 Sep 1982
Birthplace: Lanark, Scotland
Signed: 1 July 2003 (from Celtic youth ranks)
Left: 13 July 2010 (£1.5m to Middlesborough)
Debut: Hibs 0-4 Celtic, League, 21 Mar 2004
International Caps: 18 (To May 2009) [complete at end of career]
International Goals: 1 (To May 2009) [complete at end of career]
Squad No.: 44
|"If somebody had said to me as a young kid that I would have played for 10 minutes at Celtic Park, then I would have bitten their hand off to do it. To come through the ranks and to play in the first team, to win Old Firm games, to win the league, to win trophies, to play in the Champions League, to captain the club, it was an incredible feeling and one that will always stay with me."|
Stephen McManus on departing Celtic (Jul 10)
BiogStephen “Mick” McManus (born 10/09/1982 in Lanark, Scotland) was a product of Celtic’s Youth Academy who went on to be club captain. His preferred position was centre back, though he often deputised at left back in his early career.
The no-nonsense defender made his debut under Martin O’Neill on 21/03/04 in the 4-0 demolition of Hibernian at Easter Road. He went on to make a further 4 appearances that season, primarily at left back, as Celtic romped to the title.
The following season saw McManus score his first goal for the club in the 8-1 defeat of Falkirk in the CIS Cup, and also saw him make his Champions League debut in the disappointing 3-0 defeat away to Shaktar Donetsk. However a knee injury sustained during a collision with an advertising boards at Almondvale cut short his season, and the defender made only one further appearance under Martin O’Neill.
The 2005/2006 season signalled a dramatic upturn in McManus’ career. Rumoured to be on the verge of joining Livingston on loan, the disastrous performance against Artmedia Bratislava saw the 23 year old McManus pitched into the first team by new manager Gordon Strachan in the season opener at Motherwell. While Celtic drew 4-4, McManus retained his place and as the season wore on began to forge a formidable partnership with Bobo Balde. The rugged defender also proved to be a potent attacking force as he notched up an impressive tally of 8 goals for the season, including two last gasp goals to give Celtic a 3-2 win against title rivals Hearts at Tynecastle. By the end of the campaign McManus had collected his first senior medals, as Celtic eased to a league and CIS Cup double.
The absence of Neil Lennon through suspension on the opening day of the 2006/2007 season saw McManus captain the team in the match against Kilmarnock at Celtic Park. The 2007/2008 season saw McManus mature as a player and establish himself as first choice centre back for club and country. A number of solid performances in the Champions League enhanced the defender’s reputation as Celtic reached the last 16 of the competition, taking eventual winners AC Milan to extra time before succumbing to a strike by then 'World Player Of The Year' Kaka.
The departure of Neil Lennon to Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2007 left the position of club captain vacant, and on 31st of July 2007 Stephen McManus was officially unveiled as the new captain of Celtic FC. The season began rather inauspiciously with a flat 0-0 draw at home to Kilmarnock. Things soon picked up however with McManus seeing his troops through a tricky Champions League qualifier against Spartak Moscow and scoring his first Scotland goal in the 3-1 win against Lithuania at Hampden Park.
A number injuries to key players saw Celtic’s form dip dramatically, and come Christmas time the players and manager found themselves under serious pressure as Rangers pulled away at the top of the league. However the club’s trials were put into perspective on the 29th of December 2007 as ex-Celt Phil O’Donnell, Motherwell captain and close family friend of McManus, died on the pitch at Fir Park. Sadly this was not to be the only tragedy to befall the club during the 2007/2008 season.
The team’s erratic form saw Rangers pull further ahead in the title race, with a number of humiliating home defeats in the League and Cups seeing McManus’ leadership abilities being called into question. On the 13/04/08 McManus led his team out at Motherwell with the knowledge that anything less than a win would see their slim title hopes dead and buried. The team responded, with McManus scoring the opening goal in a 4-1 win. A further 4 wins, including two memorable home wins against league leaders Rangers, saw Celtic rise from the ashes to top the league. However on the 15th of May 2008, a week before the title decider, Celtic first team coach Tommy Burns died of skin cancer. His death rocked the club, with a number of ex-youth team players, including McManus, particularly shaken. Despite the great sadness that enveloped the club, the team went on to claim the title the following week away to Dundee United, with McManus dedicating the victory to the memory of Tommy Burns.
Season 2008/09 would see McManus lift the League Cup but his individual performances were increasingly put under the micro-scope as the Bhoys struggled to find their form and leaked several costly goals from basic set-piece plays. Many fans began to question once more the leadership qualities of the player. Indeed some questioned if handing such a responsibility to a relative youngster had actually hampered his own progression as a player. While always whole-hearted it was true McManus had not developed in the manner many had hoped. Celtic surrendered the title to Rangers and Mick's role in the team as well as that as skipper was now seriously questioned.
McManus and the defence were heavily criticised. Too many easy goals were being leaked, but it wasn't just the players' fault. Add in that in Europe we had repeatedly failed to win away from Europe, it showed that Gordon Strachan had a failing when it came to manage and define a solid defence. McManus took the flak for some of it but it was his partners also in. Some fans preferred the young and upcoming O'Dea in place of either McManus or Caldwell, but Gordon Strachan was a loyal man and stuck with McManus & Caldwell much to the chagrin of the support.
The arrival of new Parkhead boss Tony Mowbrary in June 2009 saw further fuel added to the debate when the manager said he would be reviewing the captaincy issue. With McManus missing out on pre-season games it looked likely that the 2009/10 campaign would be a make or break season for his Parkhead career.
It certainly was a disappointing campaign for McManus who sadly once more failed too often to convince when given the opportunity. Glenn Loovens and Gary Caldwell - Stephen's rivals for a starting berth - also struggled for form, yet it was the Caldwell and Loovens partnership which was the preferred Celtic centre-back pairing. This though changed repeatedly, and the central defensive partnerships was a merry go round.
Following this situation in season 2009-10, manager Tony Mowbray loaned McManus out for 6months at £500k cost to Middlesborough (managed by ex-Celtic manager Gordon Strachan). The loan to Middlesborough was a huge success, and the club made it a permanent move with a £1.5m transfer in July 2010.
Our captain had left the club. He was a good solid defender at his peak who needed a better centre-half partner (i.e. more experienced) in the defence to help out and teach him the ropes. Then we'd have had some player on our hands but he had to take on too much and act as the captain when he really wasn't so in age terms.
Regardless, he was a league winning captain for us and we shall remember him fondly. Must add that off the field he was the model representative for the club, willing to be polite and spend time with all fans. All spoke well of him as a person, and we all have the upmost respect for him.
We wish him well at his new club.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|Middlesbro||Loan: 29/01/2010 |
|16 (0)||1||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||01/07/2003||13/07/2010 ||Trainee||148 (2)||17||11 (0)||0||12 (0)||1||29 (1)||2|
|Totals||£0||164 (2)||18||11 (0)||0||12 (0)||1||29 (1)||2|
|goals / game||0.1||0||0.08||0.06|
|Celtic||UEFA Europa League||4||0||0||0||2||1||4||0||1||0|
|Scotland||World Cup Qualifying - UEFA||2||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0|
|Middlesbrough||English League Championship||16||0||1||0||5||2||15||15||5||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||6||2||0||0||0||0||12||5||1||0|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|2009/10 Season Totals||32||2||1||0||7||3||34||20||7||1|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||31||0||4||1||16||9||27||22||5||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||6||0||0||0||1||1||5||2||1||0|
|Scotland||World Cup Qualifying - UEFA||3||0||0||1||1||0||4||4||0||1|
|Scotland||European Championship Qualifying||8||1||1||0||4||3||5||3||1||0|
|2008/09 Season Totals||56||1||5||2||23||13||46||33||9||1|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||37||0||4||0||17||6||31||25||4||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||10||0||1||0||3||1||5||1||0||0|
|2007/08 Season Totals||50||1||5||0||21||7||37||26||5||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||8||0||0||0||1||0||15||0||3||0|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||31||0||2||0||4||1||17||9||4||1|
|2006/07 Season Totals||44||0||2||0||5||1||32||9||8||1|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||36||0||7||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2005/06 Season Totals||41||0||8||0||0||0||0||0||10||0|
|Celtic||UEFA Champions League||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish CIS Insurance Cup||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2004/05 Season Totals||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Celtic||Scottish Premier League||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
YC: Yellow Cards, RC: Red Cards, FC: Fouls Committed, FS: Fouls Suffered, SV: Saves, OF: Offsides,
W: Wins, D: Draws, L: Losses
Honours with CelticScottish Premier League
|MOTM Winners 2006-07|
|05-May-07||Rangers 2 v 0 Celtic||SPL|
|MOTM Winners 2007-08|
|03-Oct-07||Celtic 2 v 1 AC Milan||Champions League|
- 'Celtic have moved on an icon and a captain in the space of 24 hours'; Michael Grant, Glasgow Herald, 13th July 2010
Quotes"I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of so many great Celtic captains from the past and I hope that I will be able to achieve as much success as they have over the years," he said. McManus' decision to commit himself to Celtic long-term may have swung the captaincy his way. "I've come through the ranks here at the club and am proud to have played a part in the success we've had these past few seasons," he said about his contract extension. "Hopefully that will continue in the years to come, both in Scotland and in European competition as well."
McManus on becoming captain (Aug 07)
"It will be no bother to the Lanarkshire lads like myself,” McManus said. “I grew up playing on a red ash pitch at Blantyre Sports Centre, picking things out of burn marks on my legs after games, so plastic is easy."
McManus on playing on artificial pitch in Moscow v Spartak Moscow in Champs Lge Qualifier. (Aug 07)
"If somebody had said to me as a young kid that I would have played for 10 minutes at Celtic Park, then I would have bitten their hand off to do it. To come through the ranks and to play in the first team, to win Old Firm games, to win the league, to win trophies, to play in the Champions League, to captain the club, it was an incredible feeling and one that will always stay with me."
Stephen McManus on departing Celtic (Jul 10)
McManus agonised over Celtic exitThu, 15 Jul 11:49:14 2010
the most difficult of his career to date.
The 27-year-old central defender this week signed a three-year contract at
Middlesbrough after a successful loan spell on Teesside last season rather than
see out the final year of his existing deal under new Bhoys boss Neil Lennon.
McManus' move south brought an end to a long-term association with his only
previous professional club, and he has revealed he thought long and hard before
opting to play under Gordon Strachan at the Riverside Stadium.
He told Boro's official website, www.mfc.co.uk: ``It was something I thought
long and hard about over the summer with the new manager coming in as well.
``I have worked with Neil for a number of years and it was a really, really
``I had a year left on my contract at Celtic, I had been there for 12 years and
coming down here really opened my eyes to different things, not just on the
football side of it, but the way you can live your life as well.
``It's the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my career, leaving
Celtic. I had 12 wonderful years there from a kid when I left school.
``I went full time in 1998, and it was a really, really hard thing for me to
do, finally walking out of the door.
``Celtic will always be a part of me, it will always be my first love in
``But I am coming down here, it's a fresh challenge and I am really looking
forward to it.''
Celtic will always remain close to the heart of a man who fulfilled a boyhood
dream when he pulled on the famous green and white hooped jersey.
McManus said: ``If somebody had said to me as a young kid that I would have
played for 10 minutes at Celtic Park, then I would have bitten their hand off to
``To come through the ranks and to play in the first team, to win Old Firm
games, to win the league, to win trophies, to play in the Champions League, to
captain the club, it was an incredible feeling to do and one that will always
stay with me.
``It is something I can be proud of, and I loved every minute of being there.
``But the time was right for me to move on, for the club as well. It was the
right time for the club to sell me and it was the right time for me to move on.
``I wish everybody all the very best up there because it's a wonderful place
and it's a wonderful club.''
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