PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland

so farewell then...

david fernandez

Adios then David Fernandez, another of the under-achievers that the club seemed to attract in O'Neill's later years.

Fernandez was one of the Spaniards Steve Archibald brought over to Airdrie during his time in charge there (Broto was another). They all impressed, but couldn't prevent the Lanarkshire club sliding into the abyss.

When Fernandez left Airdrie it was to join Livingston, still at that time a 1st division club. James Traynor was outraged - seething that the player had shown a distinct lack of ambition by joining a club outside the top league when several SPL sides had been interested in signing him. But, as it turned out, Fernandez had made a wise choice; Livi basically built the team around him and won promotion to the SPL, where they more than held their own.

During season 2001-2 he impressed against almost every team he played and thus Martin O'Neill paid 1m for him in the summer of 2002. The idea seemed to be that he would replace Lubo. He had a quiet pre-season that year, finally appearing in the first team as a sub in a 5:0 demolition of Dundee United.

He made the final goal for Henrik Larsson. Gathering the ball in the his own half he ran all the way into the United box before crossing to provide an easy finish. It looked a pretty good start, but it also marked, to all intents, the end.

It looked as though MON simply didn't rate him and this had an adverse effect on the player's influence when he did play and his attitude. When he got a start against Thistle in the league cup his one contribution was a neat little drag back out on the wing. That aside, he had a thoroughly anonymous 120 minutes (Celtic eventually lucked through on penalties).

His weight seemed to balloon and he certainly didn't look like he was fit enough to make the Celtic first team.

Then there were the constant injuries, a seemingly never ending stream of small knocks that always had him on the verge of first team action.

For season 2003-4 he was loaned out to Livingston, on the proviso that he didn't play against Celtic, a clause which caused him to miss the Scottish Cup semi (much to the chagrin of the press). He even managed to win a trophy that season, the league cup, against Hibs.

His return to Celtic Park wasn't exactly eagerly anticipated, but it was hoped that he might be able to do a job. Yet again the injury fairy paid him a visit, this time with a crocked shoulder that kept him out for the entire season as far as first team action was concerned.

Whether MON would have used him is another matter eniterly.

He leaves to join Dundee United where, no doubt, he will have a great game every five or six matches, but asides from that will be anonymous.

AB MURDOCH