Talking Celtic With… GUN

Talking Celtic With... GUN
GUN... Shooting the breeze (Img: Wattie Cheung)

Glasgow rockers GUN return on July 9th with Break the Silence, their first studio album since 1997, so to celebrate Football Burp caught up with the band’s guitarist Jools Gizzi for a jolly good natter about his beloved Celtic some 48 hours or so before Gary Hooper’s five-goal final day salvo against Hearts. Check out the title track from the new record below, and click here to download the song “Last Train From Central” for free…

Word has it that Neil Lennon will announce after the Hearts game the six players who will leave Celtic this summer. Do you have an inkling of who they might be? Alternatively, who would you like them to be?

I’ve got a rough idea. I think Efraín Juárez, the Mexican boy, will be one of them because he just hasn’t featured at all. He showed a lot in his first three or four games, great on the ball, but he fell away. Mark Wilson is another – he’s been a great servant for Celtic over the last six years but he’d only be a squad player now and I think Mark will want to play as much football as he can for the rest of his career. Definitely those two will go.

I don’t know what’s happening with Daniel Majstorović – it’ll be him or Glenn Loovens, one of the central defenders. There are a few other players that haven’t featured too. There’s quite a big squad at Celtic and they do need to cut it down. I think there might be a few clubs sniffing about Gary Hooper.

Hooper seems to polarise opinion amongst the fans…

I think he’s a great player. When he’s focused in a game I think he’s probably one of the hardest players to mark because he’s so fast and so clever. I think he’s a fantastic player but sometimes I get from his body language, especially when we’re playing the lower teams, that he doesn’t want to be here. He could even go to the Championship and play at a much better level of football. He’s a young guy and he’s great in the big games, like against Rangers or Hearts – I really hope we keep Hooper.

Do you worry about the potential knock-on effect that Rangers’ plight might have on Celtic, in terms of weakening the SPL as a brand?

Yeah, big time. As much as we like to gloat – and they’d do the exact same – I would be furious if Rangers were relegated a few leagues. I don’t think Scottish football is great at all at the moment – it hasn’t been since the likes of Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson were playing for Celtic, and players like Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne at Rangers. They were great teams that had a lot of money spent on them, but now I think the SPL is in dire straits – it’s not great football at all.

If Rangers have to go down then I just think that all the other clubs are going to suffer – teams hike up the ticket prices when they’re playing at home to Celtic or Rangers because they know that the fans will bring in that revenue. For the recent game at Kilmarnock where Celtic won 6-0 to win the league, they gave Celtic fans three stands because of the demand. It was like a Celtic home game at Kilmarnock.

Also, there’s no way that Sky’s going to pay to watch just one team winning the league all the time – I think their deal’s worth £80m over the year, which is a lot of money for Scottish football. It would also be bad for Scottish football not to have the Old Firm game – we love the bragging rights when we’ve beaten Rangers in an Old Firm game, just as they love it when Rangers beat Celtic. I have good banter with my Rangers-supporting mates about it. I couldn’t imagine not having the Old Firm game. Rangers have to be penalised, but I really hope they don’t go down. I hope that people see sense because Celtic need Rangers as much as Rangers need Celtic. I hate them, but we need them!

Onto matters more positive, who would you name as your player of the season for Celtic? And what would be your goal of the season?

The guy who got the Players’ Player of the Year up here was our player Charlie Mulgrew, who can play left-back, central defence or central midfield. We let him go to Aberdeen a few years ago, then signed him back and he’s been phenomenal this season – the goals and assists he’s chipped in with from a defensive position has been incredible. He’s got a great left foot on him and his free-kicks have been fantastic. He deserves all the accolades this year, but there’s also a young boy called Victor Wanyama who’s only 20 but, my god, what a tank he is. He’s so strong, upper body strength, runs with the ball, great feet and it’s very difficult to get past him. He’s a great holding midfielder and I think he’s been absolutely amazing so he’d get my vote as well.

As for my favourite goal, there’s been a few but one that springs to mind is Charlie Mulgrew’s where he came out of defence, took on two or three players and hit a rocket from 35-40 yards that went right in the top corner, left the ‘keeper with no chance. That was an incredible goal, and you could actually hear how hard he hit it when he put his foot through the ball. It was a ‘screamer’, as we say! I can’t remember who it was against though. Football Burp says: This goal against Dunfermline?

Do you remember the first game you ever went to?

I don’t think I could remember the first game but I can remember going to Parkhead when I was 7 or 8 years of age – I think my dad took me before that but it’s round about then that I remember going to Parkhead to see Celtic and I thought it was amazing. Celtic had some amazing European nights under Jock Stein back then, and I can kind of remember some of those amazing nights against Liverpool, Leeds United and Inter Milan, Atlético Madrid, all those kind of teams. I wasn’t able to go as much when things started getting busy with the band but I always look out for the scores and stuff. If I’m here then I go every weekend.

Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of the current Celtic squad, who would you pick?

Fraser Forster, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Scott Brown and Hooper.

Jools Gizzi, thank you.

GUN’s new album Break The Silence will be released on July 9th 2012. For more information, please visit www.gunofficial.co.uk

Click here to read Jools talking to Rocksucker.co.uk about GUN’s new album and forthcoming European tour with The Cult!