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PersonalFullname: Charles Patrick Mulgrew
aka: Charlie Mulgrew
Born: 6 Mar 1986
Signed: 1 July 2010 (free from Aberdeen)
Position: Left-back, centre back, midfielder
Debut: SC Braga 3 - 0 Celtic, UCL, 28 July 2010
Squad No.: 21
International Caps: 1 [May 2012]
International Goals: 0 [May 2012]
Having progressed through Celtic's youth system, Mulgrew turned professional in July 2002. By January 2006 he had yet to make his debut for the club's first team, so in order for him to gain competitive experience he was loaned out to fellow SPL side Dundee United for the remainder of the 2005/06 season.
A successful spell at Tannadice saw him feature regularly, scoring 2 goals (both free kicks) in 14 appearances and being named SPL Young Player of the Month for February. He then returned to Celtic hoping to force his way into first team contention, but was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers shortly thereafter without ever appearing for the Bhoys.
Mulgrew joined Wolves in part exchange for left back Lee Naylor on August 23, 2006. He made his debut for the club on September 10, 2006, in a 1-0 win at Leeds United. However, injury kept him out of most of the campaign and he was unable to force his way back into first team contention afterwards.
He was loaned out to League One side Southend United at the end of the January transfer window for the remainder of the 2007/08 season, which saw the club lose in the play-offs to Doncaster. He scored his first goal for the club against Carlisle United, although Captain Adam Barrett claims he got a touch.
At the start of the 2008/2009 season he transferred on a free to Aberdeen and found a good deal of success with the Dons during his 2 year stint there. However he was not forgotten by the coaching staff at Celtic, and his Celtic time was have a second life.
After a successful spell for Aberdeen, newly appointed manager Neil Lennon made Charlie Mulgrew the first new signing (sic!) for Celtic of his managerial reign.
Said to have left Aberdeen in difficult circumstances after being jeered and harassed by some of their fans for having said that he "doesn't give a **** about Aberdeen", although this is likely apocryphal, and there is no evidence he said it. From his behaviour it does not seem characteristic of him.
Initially deployed as a left back, Mulgrew suffered a torrid start to his second spell at Celtic and soon lost his place with Neil Lennon first preferring to play Joe Ledley out of position at left back before Emilio Izaguirre was signed and made the left back slot his own with a series of swash buckling performances. For the rest of 2010 Mulgrew was limited to reserve team action and providing cover from the bench. 2011 started much brighter for Mulgrew, a combination of injuries and international call-ups (2011 Asian Cup), along with a desire from the manager to make the team much more solid, meant that Mulgrew made an unexpected start on the left hand side of midfield for the 2 January trip to Ibrox. Mulgrew put in a solid performance as Celtic ran out 2-0 winners.
Further injuries to the established centre back pairing of Majstorovic and Rogne during January and February 2011 meant Mulgrew was pressed into action as an emergency centre back. Mulgrew seized this opportunity with both hands turning in a series of assured performances, particularly being dominant in the air and providing excellent distribution from the back. Time will tell if this was a brief cameo during a purple patch of form, or is a sign something more to come. However at the very least Mulgrew has shown that he is valuable squad player able to provide cover in a number of positions. Mulgrew rounded out the 2010/11 season as a first choice central defender, and capped his breakthrough with the final goal in in the 3 - 0 Scottish Cup Final victory over Motherwell.
As a measure of his increased confidence and ability, he was not afraid of taking a chance at goal, and against Dunfermline he scored a screamer of a long-range shot from well outside the box that left the goal keeper flapping in his wake (22 Feb 2012). If he was a higher profile player, the goal would have been shown repeatedly worldwide via every forum.
However, there was more and his ability througout the whole 2011/12 season made him a firm favourite. This was no easy season with chopping and changing throughout the team every game, and Mulgrew himself being shifted between left-back, central defence and defensive midfield, but he played his part and did excellent with some cracking goals. The title winning match v Kilmanrock (6-0 win on 7 Apr 2012) was the Charlie Mulgrew show as he scored two and set up two others, and all the goals were excellent with great crosses. The only reason he wasn't involved in the other two goals was because he was subbed off by the time they happened. The crowd was in awe of this man.
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Honours with Celtic:
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Celtic sign Charlie Mulgrew from Aberdeen on a free24-year-old returns to Parkhead after a four-year hiatus... By Adithya Ananth (www.goal.com)1 July 2010
Celtic have signed full-back Charlie Mulgrew on a free transfer from Aberdeen, bringing the defender back to Parkhead after four years.
The 24-year-old originally came through the Bhoys youth academy and signed a professional contract in 2002, but four years without breaking into the first-team meant that he had to be loaned out to Dundee United in 2006 to gain some experience.
A successful time at Tannadice saw Mulgrew feature on a regular basis, scoring two goals through free-kicks, which were some of his earliest exploits on his way to becoming a deadball specialist.
The versatile left-back - who can also play as a left winger - then returned to Parkhead in the hope of carving out a place in the first-team, but was instead shipped away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on a permanent transfer that was part of the deal that saw Lee Naylor move the other way.
Ironically, it is now Naylor who has left the Glaswegian giants upon expiry of his contract, with Mulgrew making a return to his boyhood club.
He has now put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the Hoops.
Charlie Mulgrew caps fine season by being named Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the YearCharlie Mulgrew paid no heed to the adage that you should never go back – and on Wednesday his second spell at Celtic saw him scoop the accolade of Scotland’s Player of the Year, to be presented by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association at their annual awards dinner in Glasgow a week on Sunday.
Charlie Mulgrew caps fine season by being named Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year
By Roddy Forsyth
Mulgrew is also contention for similar reward from PFA Scotland this Sunday and, either way, the 26 year-old has enjoyed one of the most memorable passages of his career.
When he became Neil Lennon’s first signing as Celtic manager on July 1, 2010, Mulgrew returned to Parkhead and the club from which he had parted company two years previously, to join Aberdeen after loan spells at Dundee United, Wolves and Southend.
He scored his first goal for Celtic in the SPL at Rugby Park in October as the side recovered from an astonishing 3-0 deficit at half-time to draw 3-3 and begin the long unbeaten run which proved to be the foundation of their current title success.
As well as acquiring his first championship medal, Mulgrew cemented his place in the affections of the Hoops’ faithful with a spectacular bounced header to open the scoring against Rangers in Sunday’s 3-0 victory in the final Old Firm derby of the season.
The chances are that he would have enjoyed nothing like these highlights had he not accepted Lennon’s invitation to don the green and white jersey again.
“Who knows? It’s hard to say, but what I know is that when I went away I learned a lot and I grew up a bit,” said Mulgrew. “I don’t what would have happened to me if I hadn’t left but I think the fact that I went helped me.
“No-one said to me that I’d taken things too lightly but when I left here I realised that everything is handed to you and when you come through as young player at Celtic, everything is easy – and you take it for granted a wee bit. Then you go away and you realise how big a club this is and how well you are treated and you appreciate it.
“I wanted to go and make a career for myself and I had belief in my own ability that I could do well for myself, though I maybe never thought I would come back here – but it’s happened that way and I am delighted.”
Mulgrew’s prominence this season has not been the consequence of his establishment in a single position. He has featured at full-back, centre back and in left midfield although, when asked for his preference, dodged the question with a gag – “I would go in goal, you don’t have to run about as much” – before responding in more measured terms, while still keeping his options open.
“I don’t think versatility is a hindrance. If you can play in different positions, then there are three or four chances of getting into the team. It is a good thing and it teaches you the game,” he said.
“I look back on every game and I’m quite critical of myself. That’s just the way I am – I can’t help it. “
When it was suggested that he would find nothing to fret about in the manner of his spectacular header against Rangers, Mulgrew did manage to add a caveat. “Yes but before I got that goal, there bits and pieces I was not happy with – on the ball,” he explained.
As for the prospect of further development in what is a comparatively young Celtic team – the average age this season has been generally just above the 23 mark – Mulgrew declared that thoughts had already turned in that direction.
“Of course. You need to improve every season. We need to kick on again and look to make inroads in Europe - that will be the minimum requirement next year,” he said.
“We have got a great squad in there – including three guys, Izaguirre, Kayal and Commons, who didn’t play for us a lot this year, but who will be huge for us next season – and maybe the manager will bring one or two in. It is still a young squad, with everybody in their mid-20s or younger.”
And was that Kilmarnock game his finest moment of the season? The Mulgrew tendency to self-condemnation kicked in again when he said: “That was good, but I came off with cramps. I didn’t drink enough water!”
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