Ian Wright had a brief and somewhat under-the-radar stint at Celtic in 1999, which he joined as a short-term replacement for the injured Henrik Larsson.

Ian Wright
Reuters / John Sibley

This phase of Wright’s career came after his prime years at Crystal Palace and Arsenal and is often overlooked.

Wright’s move to Celtic, facilitated by then-manager John Barnes, his former England teammate, was part of a late-career journey that saw him transition between several clubs. At Celtic, Wright’s impact was limited; he scored only three goals. This period was challenging for Celtic, culminating in Barnes losing his job and Wright subsequently moving to Burnley.

The relative obscurity of Wright’s time at Celtic was highlighted in a television quiz show, where fellow football legends expressed surprise upon learning of his tenure at the Scottish club. Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender, and Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool icon, were among those taken aback by this lesser-known chapter of Wright’s career.

Wright described his move to Celtic as part of a late-career phase where he bounced between clubs.

After his brief time in Scotland, Wright finished his career at Burnley, where he achieved promotion, concluding his football journey on a high note.

In reflection, Wright views his varied career, including his time at Celtic and the eventual success at Burnley, as a “beautiful story”. Quoted by Football Scotland, he said:

Jamie Carragher was asked to list the clubs Wright played for. After Liverpool hero Carragher answered Celtic, astonished Neville turned to Wright and exclaimed: “You went to Celtic?”

Roy Keane chipped in: “He was up there… he didn’t play, did he?”

Wright replied: “I had a period of my career where I was bouncing from one club to another trying to finish in 2000.

“I played for Nottingham Forest for a month’s loan before I went to Celtic. So it was Palace, Arsenal and West Ham. Then Forest on loan, Celtic and Burnley. I had four clubs in one season, you can’t do that anymore. Me and Harry Redknapp didn’t get on so he blew me out at West Ham. I went on loan to Forest, then Henrik Larsson got injured so I went to Celtic.

“It all went wrong, Barnesy was there, then I went to Burnley to finish it off and we got promoted. It’s a beautiful story.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.