After a stuttering start to the season and a lousy home defeat to Rangers Celtic needed something different. This arrived on 13th September; Crosas was given his first start in a tricky away fixture at Motherwell. I say tricky, with Crosas pulling the strings in midfield and Samaras, Maloney and McDonald linking up superbly in attack the Bhoys were 4-0 up at half-time. It was a truly exhilarating performance and one of those games that had me thinking; “yes, that’s why I support Celtic Football Club.” Crosas’ prompt and accurate forward passing was something Celtic fans hadn’t seen for a while. On fire and with Nakamura and McGeady to return, Celtic’s season looked back on track, but Strachan had other ideas.
The following Wednesday Crosas was dropped as Celtic started their Champions’ League campaign with a shocking 0-0 draw at home against Aalborg. This would be the story of Crosas’ first season at Celtic; come in, do well, get dropped for Barry Robson, Paul Hartley or Gary Caldwell. This was truly infuriating. Over the rest of the season Celtic would win 88% of their matches which Crosas started. This compared to the 62% win rate across the season as a whole. Time after time the lad from Girona would do well and Celtic would win. Then he’d be out of the side and we’d again drop cheap points. We didn’t deserve to be champions.
Including a victory on penalties against Dundee United, Crosas appeared in a winning side on his first 11 starts as a Celtic player. This run included the highlight of the season; a 7-0 destruction of St.Mirren at Celtic Park where Crosas metronomically controlled midfield and also scored one of the best goals seen at Paradise in the last decade. I’m glad I was there the day Marc Crosas hit a 33 yard half-volley, in the style of a Colin Montgomerie fade, which nearly ripped a hole in the net. It was a wonderful goal.
The next season under Tony Mowbray Celtic were again stop-and-start. Crosas would play 22 more times and his best days were when paired next to loan signing Landry N’Guemo. They actually outplayed and outfought Rangers’ brutish midfield in January 2010. On an afternoon when the referee saw fit to disallow a fine Celtic goal and to not send-off Kyle Lafferty for the worst tackle I personally have ever witnessed. Al Pacino said football’s all about inches, except in Scotland where it’s about cheating officials. Who knows how Marc Crosas’ Celtic career would’ve shaped up if we’d earned our deserved victory that winter afternoon?
Alas, Celtic didn’t win and the club surged forth toward another revolution. Good players arrived and Crosas was forced down the pecking order. As I write the Hoops are doing very well. Our talented wee Spaniard couldn’t win back a place in the side, but there have been few complaints from him as Beram Kayal, Joe Ledley, Ki Sung-Yueng and Scott Brown continue to deliver on the park. But perhaps its off the park where Crosas’ legacy will last forever.
In these futuristic days of new media, no one more than Marc Crosas has worked to communicate with the Celtic support. His constant and sincere Twittering has bridged the gap between the fantasy world of the modern celebrity footballer and the fans desperate for information about their heroes. Even whilst not being in the starting eleven fans have witnessed Marc’s genuine support for his team-mates and our club. And oh how I loved him bating huns on Champions’ League nights. The Bhoy from Barcelona is truly one of us.
With this in mind there was very real regret today when reading his beautiful farewell letter on the Celtic website. Marc is off to restart his career in Russia with FC Volga – a club who now instantly have a sizeable new support across all of Celticdom. I hope it works out for Marc and he goes on to have a long a successful career. I sense he knows he’s welcome back in Glasgow any time. For Celtic he was the right player at the wrong time. It could have been a brilliant career.