Celtic great Peter Grant has touched on the controversial Mo Johnston snub that saw him sign for Rangers.
Back in 1989 after Celtic had sold Frank McAvennie to West Ham, they looked to sign former hero Johnston. However, in an incredible turn of events, the striker signed for Rangers instead. His spells in Scotland were split by a period in Nantes.
The signing broke an unwritten rule of Rangers not signing Catholics. But at the same time, it was a huge slap in the face for Celtic. It remains, to this day, one of the most controversial moments in Scottish football. It most definitely remains the most controversial signing.
At the time of the signing, Grant was part of the Celtic team to have just beaten Rangers in the Scottish Cup final before their barren run. And, speaking to Open Goal, the ex-Celt opened up on how the signing came about.
“After the cup final I was in the Scotland squad for the Rous Cup against England and Chile and we were at Turnberry and I seen big Billy [McNeill] down, sort of storming away. He was down to see Mo.
“So then we were going to train so Coisty [Ally McCoist] and Mo are on the bus. Coisty said ‘Me and the wee man are going to terrorise you next year, Granty’.
“I laughed and said ‘I know we are, Coisty’. Mo said ‘No Granty, I’m going to sign with Rangers’. I said ‘Away you go’ and I still didn’t believe him. That was, for me, what caused the next nine years of torture for Celtic. That moment.”
An incredible lack of class
It shows just how much money can sway a player’s mind. It’s clear that Johnston knew the financial advantage of signing for Rangers, and he showed his true colours by going through with it.
For Celtic fans, it’s never a move that’s been forgiven. Johnston’s name still makes supporters’ blood boil, and for good reason too. Johnston really did let the Celtic fans down massively.
There’s almost been an unwritten rule that you simply can’t play for both clubs. Granted, Kenny Miller was next to do so when he signed for Celtic after spending his youth days at Rangers. He, of course, went one better by going back to Ibrox for two more spells.
Youth players have also moved directly from one side to the other in recent times too. Dylan McGeouch went from Rangers to Celtic, whilst young Aidan McAdams swapped Lennoxtown for Murray Park back in 2017. McGeouch, in fairness, started in the Celtic youth ranks before eventually returning three years after initially departing.
Celtic even managed to nab a youngster from Ibrox in the summer in the form of Liam Burt. Granted, Rangers had agreed to release him, but Celtic were still his next immediate destination.
It doesn’t seem as though there will ever be a day when the senior sides start trading with each other. And, if you’re being honest, that’s exactly the way most of us like it too.