Where Are They Now? Celtic’s 2003 UEFA Cup Finalists

Updated: April 13, 2015

1The 2003 UEFA Cup Final between Celtic and FC Porto is more often remembered as the advent of Jose Mourinho’s managerial career rather than the outstanding spectacle the match itself produced.

Everything happened in Seville that night; goals, extra-time, a silver goal, red cards and heartbreak. Porto won 3-2 aet having dominated proceedings throughout, though the plucky Buoys held on as they would continue to do so in future European contests.

Porto would go onto win the Champions League the following season whilst Celtic enjoyed fleeting nights to savour without any real success. Having failed to go down in history in Seville, Celtic’s squad slowly disappeared with many forgetting what a decent team Martin O’Neill had assembled.

Goalkeeper – Rab Douglas

The Scottish international was Celtic’s first choice at the time but his career at Parkhead slowly declined after that final. Magnus Hedman was on Douglas’ case every time he dropped a clanger, which would almost annually come against Rangers, and the Scot lasted just two more seasons at the club. Spells at Leicester, Millwall, Wycombe and Plymouth were short and unsuccessful before a return to Scotland with Dundee helped resurrect his career. Moved to Forfar in 2013, a club where he continues to play at almost 43 years old!

Centre-back – Joos Valgaeren

Injuries characterised the Belgian defender’s time at Celtic Park, and eventually his entire career as he retired in 2009. Moved on by Gordon Strachan at the same time as Douglas, Valgaeren played just 47 more times in five years at Brugge and FC Emmen, a real shame for a player once courted by Bayern Munich.

Centre-back – Bobo Balde

Dismissed in the final, Balde nevertheless received the Celtic Player of the Year award for the season. A tireless and popular member of the Celtic team, controversy appeared to follow Balde during his time in Scotland – perhaps due to his sometimes awry disciplinary record. Injuries disrupted his latter Celtic career as he left on a free in 2009 after eight years with the club. The Guinea international spent three seasons with Valenciennes and Arles Avignon before retiring in 2012.

Centre-back – Johan Mjallby

The Swede spent one more season at Celtic as injuries disrupted his career. Mjallby rejected a further year at the club to join Levante in Spain, but could play only three times, and once more in his entire career after rejoining AIK in Sweden. In July 2010, Mjallby returned to Celtic as assistant manager under Neil Lennon, and has since followed the Northern Irishman to Bolton.

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