New Celtic signing Scales inspired by history as he picks famous number

By Euan Davidson

September 10, 2021

New Celtic defender Liam Scales was inspired by history to take the historic number 5.

Some Celtic greats, including Billy McNeill, Huddle starter Tony Mowbray, Alan Stubbs and Virgil van Dijk have all worn the famous number. So, too, have fan favourites like Joos Valgaeren and Jozo Simunovic.

With that in mind, Scales insisted on having such a symbolic Celtic number adorned on his shirt. Similarly, Giorgos Giakoumakis has received the number 7, another historic shirt number in the Celtic canon.

Having already spoken about his admiration for Liverpool man van Dijk, Scales said of his new number [Daily Record]:

“Just to wear such a famous number, it does inspire rather than become daunting.

“Obviously it’s a massive number here and it’s a number I’ve worn before in my career as a defender.

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“I had a part in choosing it. I noticed historically the players that have worn it who have had great Celtic careers.

“Hopefully I can do the same. At the end of the day I think any number that I chose I was always going to do as well as I could and work as hard as I could to get in the team and to be successful here.”

New Celtic defender Scales showing excellent attitude

Of course, not every number 5 has been a roaring success. Poor Rami Gershon only made 3 Celtic appearances with the famous shirt number [Transfermarkt].

Nonetheless, it’s a bold decision. To many, squad numbers can be seen as something light and superficial, but there’s clear ambition from Scales here. He’s right; in the majority of cases, big-name players have worn the 5 on their back and shorts.

In more recent seasons, the number has been defined by Jozo Simunovic and Virgil van Dijk.

For the former, there was a moment in Celtic history that will live long in the memory. In the first game after Billy McNeill’s passing, Simunovic scored from a header on the 67th minute, wearing Cesar’s shirt number [BBC]. It seemed like fate.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Van Dijk, meanwhile, has gone on to be Ballon D’Or nominated. He raked in £75m for Southampton [BBC], and has won a Premier League and Champions League at Liverpool.

So, there’s both sentiment and ambition there. It’s what you love to see from a new Celtic signing.

Can Scales be the next famous 5?

Read more: Report: Celtic star Kyogo could miss around 7 games with knee injury

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