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The Greatest Ever Celts

The Greatest Ever Celts in the History of Celtic Football Club: ; Freemantle Video/ Celtic FC; 122 minutes approx; 14.99 (DVD £19.99)

Last month it was The Ultimate Celtic Album (see review) and now it's The Greatest Ever Celts. In terms of marketing this year's Christmas offerings the Commercial Department seem to have gone all out to package the superlatives for us.

If you're looking to buy one of them as a present for Uncle Tim, at least in terms of its subject matter The Greatest Ever Celts is the one least likely to trouble Trades Descriptions Act officials. The title itself is a bit misleading, of course. It should be called "The Greatest Ever Celts in Living Memory", since the players elevated to this lofty status were voted for by the fans.

Alternatively, "The Greatest Ever Celts Since Football Became Widely Televised" might suffice, as the 60s is as far back as it goes. Consequently, the likes of Alec McNair, Jimmy Quinn, Patsy Gallacher, Jimmy Delaney, Bobby Evans and Charlie Tully are airbrushed out. Even the incomparable James McGrory (472 goals in 445 appearances for Celtic - still staggering whichever way you look at these numbers) doesn't rate a mention. It's understandable, given the necessity to come up with the footage of the players in action and also the nature of the voting system, but the achievements of the aforementioned could have at least been acknowledged.

That said, there can be few arguments about those included in the final pick, albeit they are all from the modern era. From the 60s we have Simpson, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Auld, Johnstone and Lennox, the 70s is represented by Dalglish and McGrain and we are brought somewhat more up to date with the inclusion of the Maestro and Hanrik Larsson.

They are all given equal attention in the film (about nine minutes each) which means that it runs to about two hours, so set aside plenty of time to watch it.

The team members are all introduced by mine host, Tony Roper, then, as well as doing interviews themselves about what playing for the club meant to them, they're given due tribute by their peers - mainly fellow nominees - and by Bob Crampsey. Martin O'Neill also gets to say quite a lot about players from the 60s and his contributions are among the wittiest in the film, even though some of his opinions are admittedly based on what he used to see on Football Focus on a Saturday morning.

It's difficult to criticise this video, if only because of the subject matter, but it's equally hard to enthuse about it either. The languid pace allows you to relish the memories (if you're old to enough to have memories of that era) and allow yourself to wallow in the whole nostalgia number.

At the same time, it's a bit too long and too much footage has been seen before. The fact is that each of the players involved is worthy of a video on his own.

MANFRED LURKER

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