Years ago, on the Celtic Park stadium tour, you used to be able to sit in the seat where Mark Viduka signed for the club.
Joining us from Dinamo Zagreb in December 1998, Viduka didn’t take long to capture the imagination. A stocky, physical striker, he was also blessed with fantastic technique. While he didn’t spend too long in Glasgow, he made a mark, with 30 goals in just 37 league outings [Celtic Wiki].
Did he cause dressing room issues? Yes. Did he leave Celtic under a bit of a cloud? Also, yes.
Perceived as a bit of a difficult personality to handle, Viduka was central in the John Barnes’ pitiful defeat against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. At half-time, he – in his own words – “lost it” with Barnes, who questioned his performance on the night [Daily Record].
Still, he scored plenty of goals, and he seems to look back on his time at Celtic with a degree of fondness. Asked by Sky Sports for his favourite three career goals, he talked about a sumptuous strike against Rangers:
Viduka said [Sky Sports]:
“I would start by saying the goal I scored against Rangers at home for Celtic.
“Eyal Berkovic put me through – it was a counter-attack. I was lurching behind one of the Rangers defenders, I think it was Craig Moore.
“It was an unbelievable pass from Eyal and I hit into the far left corner of the net, so that would be number three for me.”
Mark Viduka, a divisive Celtic figure
If you don’t remember Mark Viduka, it’ll tell you a lot that some folk nicknamed him FLB. The middle letter is “lazy”, and the rest isn’t for a family website.
Still, he proved his quality wherever he went, however temperamental he was as a player. His other two top goals include a vital strike for Leeds United against Arsenal at Highbury, and a bona fide peach for Middlesbrough.
It was perhaps too brief a spell at Celtic. While his attitude and work-rate were occasionally suspect, he did end his career with nearly 100 Premier League goals and 43 Australia caps.
Not bad going, really.