In July 97, I was on holiday in Sorrento with my parents and trying in vain to keep up with the revolution Wim Jansen the new Celtic head coach was forging together back home.

This in turn meant a trip to the local newsagent to annoy the surly Italian behind the counter by reading his only copy of yesterday’s Daily Ranger from back to four pages in. One story that caught my interest was one of a mid 20’s dreadlocked Sweden who was currently plying his trade at Feyenoord with not much success. He was crying himself to sleep supposedly due to his clubs reluctance to let him go to the bhoys, and all this squabbling was down to only about half a mill.

Eventually he found his way to Paradise and i bought the copy of the Celtic view on my return where he was proudly hanging his arm over a giant crest. (I’m going with Swede Dreams!)

This lad could be a new icon I thought, foreign, a love for the hoops, and a distinctive accessory with those locks coupled with the fact we recently lost Cadete’s curly top & Di Canio’s colourful footwear.

Then he got onto the pitch…away to Hibs early in the season he came on late to influence a league game destined to end in a stalemate – and he did, by passing the ball directly to Hibs midfielder and Hoops fanatic Chic Charnley who unleashed an unstoppable strike past the helpless Gordon Marshall to give the Edinburgh club the spoils. Not quite calling for the bhoys head, but there were some uncertain grumblings from the faithful that the bhoy from Helsinborg may not make the grade. To Europe next and Celtic were at home to Tirol Innsbruck (still one of my all time favourite Celtic games)  and he scores..  .an own goal.

Away to St Johnstone at Perth and what looked like a tricky game on paper ends up in a two nil win – started with one of the most sublime diving headed goals you will ever see by the Hoops number seven, a green and white dreadlocked superman!

Shortly after this I meet the man and his wife in Sainsburys up in EL, I say meet but a meekly wandered up to him starry-eyed with a leaflet about car insurance for him to sign. He was a true gent ,but it was unfortunate this was my only meeting with the magnificent seven as I would have loved to rhyme of superlatives about his immense contribution to the Celtic cause and my own upbringing through those joyous years.

Back facing St Johnstone on the last day of the season on a scorching May afternoon at Paradise and Henrik and his merry mob have taken us to within stroking distance of the elusive league title. Our appetite for silver was whetted somewhat at castle greyskull late in 97 ,when a deflected shot from Larsson over the porn stars head put Celtic on their way to a Coca Cola league cup over Dundee United.

As came to be the norm, Henrik drifted in from the left-wing, evaded a player and curled a delightful shot past Alan Main which put Celtic on their way to the league title – their first since the centenary year.Mass week long celebrations ensued following Harald Brattbakk’s winner but everyone knew the Sweden had been the catalyst for the glorious season which fans had seldom been accustomed to. Henrik’s following years were of mixed fortunes and the fans could no longer take for granted his status as lynchpin
of the Hoops……..


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