PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland

so farewell then...

craig bellamy

When you consider some of the players Martin O'Neill signed on lucrative contracts and others, like Bobby Petta, he got to sign contract extensions, it makes it all the more difficult to understand why he didn't get the Jackie McNamara deal sorted out a long time ago. In recent times McNamara has been one of Celtic's more consistent performers and by the sounds of things wouldn't have been too difficult to deal with. Apart from anything else there are a few in the queue before Jackie I'd see dangling before allowing them to sign on the dotted line.

Alas, it wasn't to be, and he bows out as Celtic captain, the longest serving player at the club and with a shelf full of medals. Oh, I nearly forgot about the testimonial. Talk about timing!

Leaving aside this unfortunate coincidence, McNamara has been a great servant to Celtic ever since he was signed from Dunfermline by Tommy Burns way back in 1995 for the princely sum of 600,000. Who can say the club haven't had their money's worth there?

Under Burns he was a regular for two seasons, used in tandem down the right wing with Simon Donnelly to some effect. But that particular side never quite fulfilled its potential and it wasn't until Wim Jansen arrived that he won his first championship medal.

The managers came and went at a rate of knots but jackie survived them all - which itself says something about his utility to the club - until it looked as if he was finally about drop out of the picture with the arrival of Martin O'Neill. To his credit he played his way back into the first team yet again until becoming an important part of the squad which reached the final of the UEFA Cup. He didn't start that match but came on as a sub towards the end.

When used in midfield - or even pushing on as a wing back - he's even managed a few goals. They're quite rare, but pretty spectacular when they do come around. One in particular that springs to mind is a superb volley he scored at Easter Road on a day when he bagged a couple.

He can also boast that he has scored in a Scottish Cup final as well, also against Hibs.

On the down side Jackie was a player whose limitations were sometimes exposed when he made the step up to Champions League level, and he was never really cut out to be a Celtic captain in my opinion. Fir Park closes the book on that case.

He has been pretty much a fixture in the side for the last couple of seasons and while it was obvious that the team needed some freshening up it's fair to say that McNamara was definitely not one of those who would have been at the top of most people's list.

He has retired now from football and gone to join Wolves. We wish him all the best for the future.