Former Celtic striker Ian Wright says his only experience of the Old Firm derby was not one he’d ever want to repeat.
The Arsenal legend signed for the Hoops in 1999 and played in a 4-2 defeat to Rangers. Asked about the game, he said it was the first time he had felt real fear whilst playing as a professional footballer:
“I’ve never played in a game where I’ve gone on there feeling apprehensive in my stomach. My stomach was all weird, but you get on with it. But then you’ve got Rangers players just smashing into you, so you didn’t feel like it was a fair place to be playing.”
“It wasn’t like, ‘oh my God one thing I’d love to do again is play in the Old Firm derby’… no not at all, it wasn’t a nice atmosphere to play football in. I would go as far as saying I was afraid.”
It seems the derby atmosphere wasn’t something that Wright enjoyed but, it should be pointed out, that he didn’t last long enough at the club to experience one at Celtic Park.
The former England international made only ten appearances for the Scottish club, scoring three goals before he moved back to English football. He spent the closing months of the 1999/2000 season with third-tier Burnley, helping them to promotion before giving up the game entirely.
Perhaps if he had arrived at Celtic earlier in his career, he would have liked the fast and furious nature of Scottish football a bit more.