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  • James McClean: Celtic, Celtic, that's the team for me

    James McClean: Celtic, Celtic, that's the team for me

    By: Mark Henderson on 14 Dec, 2017 15:01

  • JAMES McClean wears his heart on his sleeve and that includes his affection for his boyhood heroes, Celtic.

    The Republic of Ireland internationalist grew up supporting the club in his home city of Derry, and his passion for the Hoops has never diminished as he has forged a successful career in English football at Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and, currently, West Bromwich Albion.

    Despite his professional commitments, he attends games at Celtic Park as much as possible and he never hides his backing for the Bhoys on social media. When Brendan Rodgers’ side clinched a sixth successive league title last season on their way to becoming Treble Invincibles, the 28-year-old donned the Hoops and posted a picture on Instagram to express his delight.

    These visible shows of support and his inspirational displays for his country during the recent World Cup qualifying campaign have increased his popularity among the Celtic fanbase, particularly the Irish-based supporters. 

    His lifelong ambition is to run out in Paradise and play for the club of his dreams but, at the moment, he is fully focused on helping the revive the fortunes of West Brom, who recently appointed Alan Pardew as manager after a disappointing run of results.

    Taking his time out of his busy schedule, the winger was delighted to speak exclusively to the Celtic View and chat at length about his lifelong Celtic love affair...

    Where does your love of Celtic stem from?
    Growing up where I did, there is a massive Celtic influence. Where I am from, you are born into it and you grow up with it and ever since then, it’s been a love affair. It’s a club that I grew up supporting as wee boy and I have taken that on. It’s a club that means a lot to me. You’re born into it and grow up with it. You have your Man United and Liverpool fans but where I grew up is predominantly a Celtic area. You’re taken to the bars and watch the games, like the Glasgow derbies. You take a love to it and it’s pretty special.

    What is your Celtic highlight?
    Being a Celtic fan, it would probably be last season and the club doing the unbeaten treble. It’s incredible to do any league season unbeaten, but to do it with the cup games and win the treble is very special, and the unbeaten run is still going. There was the European run under Martin O’Neill and getting to Seville, but last season, in terms of going the season unbeaten and winning a treble was pretty special. As good as Martin O’Neill’s treble in his first season, it was eclipsed by last season, for me, because of the unbeaten run.

    Is it still an aspiration for you to wear the Hoops one day?
    It’s always been a dream of mine. If I retire from football and never get to pull on the green-and-white jersey and run out at Celtic Park, it will be a massive regret for me. It’s a dream I have never shied away from expressing. If that dream did come true, which I hope it does, it would mean a lot to me and fingers crossed it can happen.

    Find out who James McClean's Celtic hero was growing up, and why he and Kieran Tierney have become friends. The full and exclusive interview with the Derry Bhoy is ONLY in the Christmas issue of the Celtic View. On sale now.

    To download a digital version of the magazine, click ont he banner below.

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