Henrik Larsson: King of Kings

Despite my unshakeable life-long devotion to the cause of Alloa Athletic I’ve always had a large soft spot for Celtic. Definitely my second team (with Hibs being the third).

In all the years I’ve watched The Bhoys there hasn’t been a spell I’ve enjoyed as much as the seven seasons Henrik Larsson played for the club. 242 goals in all competitions means Larsson will forever enjoy legendary status at Paradise. Not for nothing is he revered among the Parkhead faithful as The King of Kings.

There are those who sneered at his achievements; a big footballing fish in the tiny bowl of the Scottish game, they said. How wrong such people were. Scoring against his old side in the Champions League for Barcelona, the class, dignity and character of the man was plainly in view when, clearly stricken, he refused to celebrate his goal, only to be met with a standing ovation from moved and appreciative sections of the Celtic fans.

On a three-month free loan to Man U in 2007, his goals against Aston Villa in a third-round FA Cup tie, plus Premiership and European strikes against Watford and Lile OSC, prompted a delighted Alex Ferguson to remark, “He’s been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he’s done has been excellent. We would love him to stay but, obviously, he has made his promise to his family and Helsingborg and I think we should respect that – but I would have done anything to keep him.”

But it wan’t just the goals. Larsson was the complete footballer with one of the sweetest first-touches you’ll ever see. Even Huns boss, Dick Advocaat was forced to say, “Larsson is one of the best strikers in Europe, maybe the world. If you watch Batistuta, he is sometimes not seen for 90 minutes but then he scores two goals. Larsson has even more, because, besides being a good player and goalscorer, he has a tremendous work rate.”

So here, then, are all 242 goals the Swedish King scored in his seven-season stay at Celtic. Watch and enjoy. I doubt you’ll spend a more pleasurable fifteen-minutes all day.