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  • Charity the winner as Paradise rocks to Larsson's treble

    Charity the winner as Paradise rocks to Larsson's treble

    By: Mark Henderson on 09 Aug, 2011 21:51

  • IT was the friendliest of games, where the final outcome was never important, but, in many ways, the events at Celtic Park tonight will be remembered as one of the uplifting episodes in the club’s history. 

    The final score in the Legends Match between Celtic and Manchester United read 5-2 to the Hoops but the important end result was the difference being made to millions in a desperate situation. 

    This game raised much-needed funds for Oxfam’s East Africa Famine Appeal. And through the incredible show of support from the Celtic faithful, many lives will be saved.

    Remarkably, a near-capacity crowd crammed into Paradise, creating a carnival atmosphere under the early-evening summer sunshine, and given the charitable ethos behind Celtic’s formation, it was a sight which would have made the club's founding fathers very proud.

    And while there was a serious side to the night, those in attendance certainly enjoyed themselves as well.

    They heard the strains of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ tune being aired three times, as Henrik Larsson demonstrated his legendary goalscoring prowess once again, they bowed in adulation as Lubo Moravcik performed his old tricks, and they roared in appreciation when current manager, Neil Lennon, showed there was no diminution in his insatiable will to win on the pitch. 

    The sight of former managers Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan in opposing dugouts also won a tremendous ovation. And the cheers rang out for former favourites including Chris Sutton, John Hartson, Alan Thompson, Johan Mjallby, Didier Agathe, Frank McAvennie, Packie Bonner and Roy Keane. 

    A host of celebrities including Gerard Butler, Steve Collins and Nicky Byrne had also lent their support for the event, whilst achieving a lifelong ambition of wearing the Hoops.

    The match had been initially organised, in part, as a testimonial game for former Celtic defender John Kennedy. Beforehand, the former Celtic defender had won universal acclaim for the magnificent gesture of donating his share of the gate receipts to Oxfam Appeal. And he managed to play the opening 10 minutes, going off to a fitting and emotional farewell.

    The event began on a high note with singing star, Russell Watson, treating the crowd to a rousing rendition of the Puccini classic, Nessun Dorma. And it set the tone for the rest of the evening.

    Played in a competitive yet friendly spirit, Larsson raised the roof by scoring a hat-trick, with Bobby Petta bagging a brace to seal the Hoops' Legends victory.

    And as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ reverberated around the stadium at the end, with the Legends taking their final bows of the night, the famous song had a special resonance. 

    You can text a donation of £5 to 70442* or you can donate online by clicking HERE

    Reg Charity No. England and Wales 202918, Scotland SC039042.
     
    Just £5 can provide clean, safe water for 35 people for one day.
     

    *Texts cost £5 plus 1 standard message. T&Cs @ITV.com/terms


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