For someone whose shelf life at Celtic was clearly going to be of the limited variety, big Dion certainly seemed to get some people agitated.
Signed on a free from Leicester during the 2006 January transfer window as a squad player, some people seemed to take this as an affront to all things Celtic and a sign that the club was in terminal decline. If this was supposed to be the replacement for Larsson or Sutton then Gord help us!
Personally, I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about. In fact, my most recent memory of Dion Dublin until that point was from the pre-season friendly at the Walker Stadium when he and Mark de Vries had given Balde and Varga quite an uncomfortable evening.
On reflection, of course, that wasn’t exactly a glowing recommendation.
Like Telfer, Strachan knew what he was getting with big Dion. He got the experience, the professionalism and the enthusiasm and he didn’t have to pay much for it. He could come on as a sub when Hartson slowed down a bit (Are you trying to be funny here? Ed) or he could fill in as an emergency centre-half. It was always going to be a short-term arrangement and I don’t think we can quibble too much about what we got from him during the five months he was at Celtic Park.
He managed 11 appearances for Celtic in the SPL (only three of them were starts) and scored one goal, the fourth in a 4:1 victory at Rugby Park.
His only other goal came in the CIS Cup final, another tap-in to stoke the dying embers of the game and prove that all those years earning a living in the Premership were good practice for finally making the step up in Scotland.
He can also boast to his grandchildren that he played for Celtic against Rangers at Ibrox before they died. If he really wants the grandkids to have sleepless nights then he can give them nightmares by describing all the scary people he could see round three sides of the ground.
At the age of 37 big Dion was a given a chance to play a very small part in the history of a great club. He took it and he seemed genuinely delighted at having done it.