PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland

so farewell then...

eyal berkovic

And so to the sorry tale of the Israelite.

Signed amid much hype in the summer of 1999, this was the man, we were told, who would open up defences. Fans with long memories were somewhat concerned by the fact that these exact words had previously been uttered by Liam Brady when referring to ... Stuart Slater!

A promising beginning was made as Celtic under Barnes made a goal frenzied start to the season, with Berkovic and Lubo at the heart of most of it.

On wide, smooth pitches we ran amok. In wee tight grounds with cow fields we struggled, badly. Unfortunately there are plenty of the latter in the all singing all dancing SPL.

It also became apparent fairly soon that Eyal didn't fancy tracking back much. Not what he was signed for etc. etc. This what not a philosophy likely to go down well when you have the likes of Henrik Larsson slogging his guts out week in week out while Eyal was waiting patiently for the perfect pass to his feet.

With him and Lubo in the midfield we were always liable to be over run by a physically bigger midfield, and so it was at Ibrox. Despite leading 2-1 we were simply no match for their strength in that department especially after Albertz had trampled all over Paul Lambert's head.

Having said all that it must be pointed out that he is a special talent. During the infamous Inverness game he opened up their defence 9 or 10 times, but none of our strikers had the skill to finish. Toward the end of last season he scored some fine goals, and played some good games, but when it came to the crunch he simply went missing.

The writing was on the wall for Berko the day O'Neill arrived at Celtic Park. This is a manager who bases every thing on the work ethic, the team ethic, and, no matter how hard he might try, the fact is that Berkovic is not a team player.

He started the early games under O'Neill, and tried to look as if he was doing his bit tracking back. But it was clear that this just wasn't going to work and he soon dropped out, appearing only in League Cup and European games.

His petulant performance while turning out for one of the youth teams was as clear a gesture to O'Neill as the Berk's infamous goal celebration was to the fans that his future lay elsewhere.

His biggest fan in British football, the Beast, has taken him to Blackburn, where he will probably become a star. It's a shame he couldn't do it with us, because he really is a unique talent.