Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Stephen Craigan: I would have played for Rangers or Celtic

Stephen Craigan says he would have relished the opportunity to play for Celtic or Rangers.

The Northern Ireland hero became a legend at Motherwell, playing almost 400 games in two spells at Fir Park, the second of which also saw him become caretaker manager for a short period.

Before retiring from the game in the summer, Craigan had opportunities to leave the club, but decided to stay, though admits had either of the Old Firm sides made a move for him, the temptation to turn out for the Glasgow giants may have proved too much.

“I'm big on loyalty. There were times when I could have moved on but Motherwell were loyal to me and I wanted to be loyal to them,” said Craigan. “Anybody in Scotland though who says they wouldn't like to play for Celtic or Rangers would be off their head. I enjoyed playing against the Old Firm in their stadiums, but imagine playing for them and having all those fans behind you. It must have been an incredible feeling.

“As a player not with Celtic and Rangers it was always a huge challenge to try and beat them and there was so much on the games with the Old Firm.

“In Scotland clubs outside of Celtic and Rangers found it hard to win trophies and for provincial teams they lived off beating the big two. It was difficult, they had the best players, the big stadiums and the finance, but when you did defeat them there was a great sense of satisfaction.

“At Motherwell we were a club which always punched above our weight. We had a small squad and a small budget and we were underestimated, but in my time we played in two Cup finals, lots of semi-finals and qualified to play in Europe. We also played some good football along the way and I really enjoyed my time there.”

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