Wim Jansen – Murdo on BBC, Italian tributes, David Potter on “bare-knuckle ride that spring”of ’98 | OneFootball

Wim Jansen – Murdo on BBC, Italian tributes, David Potter on “bare-knuckle ride that spring”of ’98

Logo: The Celtic Star

The Celtic Star

Many people have paid their eloquent tributes to Wim Jansen who died yesterday, and he is indeed worthy of his place in Celtic history. He was with us for one season, and he did the job he was asked to do – to stop the horrendous possibility of Rangers winning the League ten years in a row. We could not have fought back from that for many years.

He started off with several disadvantages – notably that he did not understand the complexities of Scotland and Glasgow (how could he?), but he learned quickly using his Assistant Murdo MacLeod who certainly did understand Celtic.

But there was the other problem – that Celtic were not yet mentally strong, and did not always feel that they were allowed to beat Rangers. Indeed, on two successive Sundays in April, we blew up against Rangers when we seemed to be almost there, and it was his strength of character that pulled us through to that glorious day of 9 May 1998.

9 May 1998: Celtic Coach Wim Jansen and Murdo McLeod celebrate after a Scottish Premier League match against St Johnstone at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic won the match 2-0 to become the league champions. Photot: Shaun Botterill/Allsport

He did not start well. Defeats to Hibs and Dunfermline seemed to mark out the season as failure, and 10 in a row seemed inevitable, but the team rallied with two vital victories over Rangers in November and at the New Year, and crucially Jansen won the League Cup on 30 November 1997, something that restored to Celtic their belief that they could win something. It was a bare-knuckle ride that spring with so much at stake, not helped by the stories that he and Jock Brown were not hitting it off behind the scenes. Celtic’s self destruction seemed imminent once again – but we pulled through.

For that we must thank Wim Jansen. RIP

David Potter

“He was just not a quiet man, and he would always speak to people all the time, and the players just got on so well with him,” Murdo MacLeod reflects on his friendship with Wim Jansen on the BBC’s The Nine last night…

“You were our director who immediately believed in the possibility of stopping ten in a row …. thanks Wim. Rest In Peace,” Enrico Annoni has tweeted. And the Italian Celts have posted this.

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