Mulgrew has come on leaps and bounds under the Celtic management

Celtic fans all over the country felt Neil Lennon had brought in a mere squad, bit-part player in the summer of 2010 when they signed  Charlie from Aberdeen. Nobody could predict what happened next..
Charlie turned pro after being in the youth academy at his boyhood club , in July 2002 . He started off as a centre back but was transferred to left back as the club had shortages in that position. He signed for Dundee United in January 2006 ,making 14 appearances in which he scored 2 goals, both from free kicks. His good performances earned him many plaudits and lead to him being named SPL Young Player of the Month for February.
When he returned to Celtic Park, he failed to make a single appearance and was shortly shifted off to Wolves in part of a exchange in the Lee Naylor deal. Lee Naylor had a wonderful first season at Celtic and there was talk of an England call up. Meanwhile at wolves Mulgrew had an injury and struggled to get back into the first team and left the club after only 6 matches in the first team.

Mulgrew then spent 5 months on loan at Southend . He then was due to sign for Swindon Town before he pulled a u-turn at the last minute at came back to Scotland with a move to Aberdeen.
One of Charlie’s best performances came at Celtic Park, where it all began, as he scored a volley and a free kick but the home side ,courtesy of two late goals, won the match.  The media was very much on Mulgrew after the game, praising his ability from dead ball situations. Although it wasn’t this that he is most remembered for at his stay in the Granite City.
On 16 May 2009, in the final game of the season, Mulgrew was closed down by Kyle Lafferty as Mulgrew tried to clear his lines .

Lafferty dives and gets Mulgrew sent off

Both players went head to head and Lafferty dived in front of the Ibrox crowd getting the former Celtic man sent off which was later on rescinded. He rejected  a contract extension the following season and Celtic snapped him up for free in the summer of 2010 making him Neil Lennon’s first signing.

Celtic fans remained doubtful about him but would take anything to replace the shambles of the squad that  Tony Mowbray left behind. The less said about him the better.
In a time where the Celtic fans, squad , and board were low in an all time low in confidence, Neil Lennon had to find quality players to revitalise the team & Mulgrew has been central in doing so.
Mulgrew had played a hand full of matches for Celtic in his first season but made an impact at Ibrox when everyone was surprised to see him  start at left mid.  He was one of the best players on the pitch in a 2-0 win. There was a real comfort about Mulgrew after this match, knowing that he could play anywhere on the left side and could play in the biggest match on the calendar. Later that month, Mulgrew scored and was trusted at centre back against Aberdeen, his former club, and scored in that match as well as being solid for 90 minutes. Celtic would go on to lose the final to Rangers, but won the Scottish Cup, with Mulgrew scoring in the final.
After losing the title on the final day, this season was filled with even more drive and determination by the Celtic players.
After a poor start to the season and being 15 points behind Rangers, Celtic now find themselves 20 points clear after ten points were deducted from Rangers for entering administration , although Celtic had a 4 point before the deduction which was a phenomenal turn around. One of the key players for Celtic this season, if not the best, has been Charlie Mulgrew. As the fans sing week in week out he can play left mid, left back , or centre half and he is never slack.
After being 15 points behind Rangers, and the death of his father , you could forgive the defender for taking some time off or being off the boil. However Mulgrew has since improved and has focussed on his game and has been brilliantly professional. Adding goals, assists and passion to his game he has made himself a fan favourite at Paradise , not to mention great performances in Europe. A recent call up to the Scotland squad has ticked one of the final boxes in Mulgrew’s career to do list. Winning the league, will most likely be done in March or April, and to qualify for a major tournament with Scotland is a real possibility. Scotland’s biggest problem is lack of leadership in the absence of Fletcher and composed centre backs. Mulgrew will give the national team both. For me, Mulgrew is a shoe in for future captain of club and possibly country. His versatility , deadly crosses, precision & threat from set pieces and commanding presence have got him playing for his boyhood club and his national side and I for one hope that his career continues to excell with the rate of progress it has over the past 2 years.

By Simon Bienkowski
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