New Celtic boss Tony Mowbray has revealed his special bond with the club’s famous supporters helped make his mind up about a return to Parkhead.
The former Bhoys defender, the man who famously introduced the Celtic huddle to the club, has agreed a 12-month rolling contract as Gordon Strachan’s successor.
Mowbray has brought former Celtic star Peter Grant and Ipswich teammate Mark Venus with him to Glasgow from West Brom.
The Englishman was a Celtic hero when he lost his first wife Bernadette to cancer in the 1990s, and has admitted that his bond with the club is special.
“I am delighted, elated, and hugely honored to be sitting here today,” said Mowbray when he was unveiled as the new Celtic boss. “I can’t wait to get started.
“I played here for four years in the 1990s when the club wasn’t at its greatest heights, but I was overwhelmed by the great support the Celtic family gave me.
“I was engulfed by thousands and thousands of messages of goodwill when I left, and it leaves you with a warmth so when this opportunity arose for me I felt drawn.
“I had a decision to make this summer and the opportunity arose, and the more I explored it the more I knew it was right for me, emotionally and professionally as well, of course.
“The size of the support, the tradition, the history, all the things I hold true when I talk about footballing philosophies.
“Since the club started Celtic are a club that have generally tried to give their supporters entertainment, score goals, win trophies and play with a style and a panache about them.
“And it just felt right for me. I will try and put my stamp on the team and try and give the supporters something back.”
Celtic fans will look to Mowbray to wrestle their league title back from Rangers after a disappointing final season under Strachan.
The new boss is well aware of the challenge he faces now that he’s back in the Parkhead dressingroom.
“There are different ambitions of the clubs, different expectation of the supports,” added Mowbray.
“I am five years down the line in terms of my career and I understand the demands of Celtic, trying to win silverware and carry on the tradition of success.
“I also look forward to the challenge of European football, which is a huge challenge for me. The philosophy changes with the demands of the manager but it doesn’t change overnight.
“There is no magic wand to turn the team from one particular style of play to another. It takes time on the training pitch and that is what I’m looking forward to doing.
“What Celtic fans will get is an honesty and a humility and I hope those traits rub off on the players.”
Mowbray is already busy in the transfer market, with Celtic linked with Real Mallorca forward Juan Arango and Nancy striker Marc-Antoine Fortune among others.
However, midfielder Massimo Donati has reiterated his desire to quit Celtic and return to his native Italy.
And fans hero Shunsuke Nakamura is set to join Spanish club Espanyol after Yokohama Marinos in his native Japan failed to complete a proposed transfer deal.