UNSUNG HERO – MORTEN WEIGHORST

SEASON 1995/1996 CELTIC Morten Wieghorst in action.

In late 1995 Celtic moved to sign Dundee’s Danish midfielder, Morten Weighorst, in a deal which took young Celts’ full back, Barry Smith, to Dens Park in part exchange. Weighorst had made a fine impression at Dundee although it as still something of a surprise when Celtic manager, Tommy Burns, brought him to Parkhead.

Sadly, it took the Danish internationalist a while to break into the Celtic side and he found it hard to displace the likes of Paul McStay, John Collins and Peter Grant for a regular place in the Celtic midfield. However, when Wim Jansen arrived as manager in the summer of 1997, he gave Morten an extended run in the team. In the early part of 1997-98, Morten then found the form everyone had hoped he would show. In the League Cup final, Celtic comprehensively beat Dundee United 3-0 when he was voted as man of the match as reward for his direct running and creative play from midfield. This match was all the more enjoyable for Celtic supporters as it was played at Ibrox and the experience was enjoyed to the full by players and fans alike.

For the rest of the season Weighorst vied for a place on the left side of Celtic’s midfield with Phil O’Donnell and he replaced Paul Lambert late in the memorable game against St Johnstone in May 1998, on the day that Celtic won their first league title for ten long years. Morten played in the majority of the games in that memorable campaign although his contribution was often overlooked in favour of the more ebullient team mates such as Paul Lambert and Craig Burley.

The big Dane was injured for the majority of the 1998-99 season when Jo Venglos was Celtic manager, although he did return for the Scottish Cup final defeat to Rangers at Hampden in May 1999. When John Barnes took over in the summer of 1999, he was a regular starter in a controversial season. There was one delightful piece of skill that Weighorst performed against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in December 1999, which will long stay in the memory, when he performed a ‘Rabona’ to the back post for Regi Blinker to score a most spectacular goal.

Barnes’ reign did not last long and when Kenny Dalglish took over as caretaker manager Morten stayed firmly in first team contention. There was another memorable League Cup victory in March 2000 when Celtic won 2-0 against Aberdeen at Hampden. Morten created the opening goal for Vidar Riseth and performed impressively on the day.

The Celtic managerial merry-go round continued when Martin O’Neill replaced Dalglish in the summer of 2000.  Sadly, Morten became suddenly ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a very serious condition which attacks the immune system. He was in a critical condition, so much so that he confessed at a later time that he believed he was going to die at one stage of the illness. Happily, Celtic were able to provide top class medical treatment and Morten made a return to first team duty as soon as November 2001 in a League Cup tie against Stirling Albion when Celtic won 8-0.

Weighorst later scored against Alloa in the Scottish Cup in January 2002 but at the end of the season he decided to end his Celtic contract, which still had a year left to run. He then returned to his native Denmark to play and then manage several clubs.

At his best, Morten was a graceful player, with a lengthy stride and had a delicate touch for a big man who stood 6′ 3”. He wasn’t a prolific goal scorer but is remembered for scoring a few spectacular efforts from distance.

Written By
More from St Anthony

UNSUNG HERO – SHUGGIE EDVALDSSON

Celtic were in a state of disarray when Johannes Edvaldsson arrived in...
Read More