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Monday, 16 April, 2001, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
How good is Henrik Larsson?
Henrik Larsson: The greatest Celtic striker ever?
Celtic striker Henrik Larsson broke the post-war Scottish scoring record for a single season previously held by Charlie Nicholas.

It has led to a debate about how good Larsson really is and how he compares to past greats of goalscoring at Celtic and in Scottish football.

Is he the best or are his 49 goals merely the result of a lethal partnership with Chris Sutton?


Henrik Larsson set a new post-war scoring record for Celtic with his two goals against Dundee United in the Glasgow side's 3-1 victory in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

It places the Swede firmly in the history books and, with six games to go before the end of the season, he is destined to reach the half-century and beyond.

But does this qualify him for legendary status? Does it make him the best striker ever in Scottish history? Does it even make him the best striker ever to don the Hoops?

Celtic have had some great strikers down the years - Charlie Nicholas, Jimmy McGrory, Kenny Dalglish, Charlie Nicholas, Joe McBride, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Willie Wallace, the list goes on ...

How does Larsson compare?


Larsson is a very good striker. However he play's in Scotland. Name me five world class defenders he plays against. If he is as good as people in Scotland think, then how come no major club (who are better judges of talent than us mere supporters) has come in for him? A striker strives on confidence, and Larsson knows he plays against weak defenders so he his in heaven. Did he not admit he would not be good enough for Real Madrid recently after being linked with them?
Pritesh Patel, England

For anyone to say that Larsson cannot be judged because he is playing in a inferior league has a screw loose. Mark Viduka who is not half the player Larsson is has been terrorising English and European defenders all season. If they are quoting 15 million for Viduka then Larsson really must be worth 30 million. I am also glad the English pundits who have been slating Scottish football have now recognised Henrik as world class. Anyway they will never realise the full quality of the man until he becomes the top scorer in the champions league next year.
Chris Mclauchlan, Scotland

How good is Larsson? Very good indeed; he is a beautiful touch player with skill, speed and, above all, a superb footballing brain. Why not link him with Sutton; football is a team game, isn't it? Did anyone try to take away Shearer's achievements with Blackburn, when he was with Sutton? Celtic are a good team on the way up with two in-form strikers who are prepared to stay with the club as it embarks into Europe.
Peter Colledge, UK

Larsson is without doubt the best striker in British football at the moment. All this talk of poor leagues obscures his talent, ability and form. Comments from his own Swedish coach who reckons he would be worth 30m in todays transfer market together with Dick Advocaat's statement of "better than Batistuta" tell you all you need to know. Without doubt the best Celtic striker since McGrory.
Brian Tolland, USA

Henrik Larsson is a phenomenal player
  Todd Baker, England
I'd just like to remind Andy Best that England was the league where Sutton scored his biggest goals tally in a season. I think Larsson goal scoring record this season is unbelievable, and his all round play and effort has been superb. I admit the Scottish league is not exactly world class but Larsson is, and he is clearly the second best player in Britain, after Keane. However if his true quality is to be tested he should play in the Spanish or Italian leagues, not the Premiership.
Simon Fraser, Sweden

Let me be quite blunt with the facts here. It is very rare that football produces a player of the calibre of Henrik Larsson. Quite simply he is world class and is a special talent. He could play for any team. To utter his name in the same breadth as Kevin Phillips and Hasselbaink is ludicrous because they could not lace his boots. We Celtic supporters know that he isn't playing in as strong a league as Serie A, say, but we know football and we know players.
Peter Dunne, Scotland

Henrik Larsson is a phenomenal player. He is fast, has skill and scores some great goals. Surely he rates alongside Charlie Nicholas and others he has probably been Celtic's best buy for a long time
Todd Baker, England

The greatest thing about Henrik Larsson is the way he conducts himself. Celtic fans are used to being let down badly by idols who turn out to have feet of clay. Larsson doesn't just talk about loving the club, he shows it.

Anyone in England who thinks that he only looks good because he's playing in a poor league need only look at the examples of Di Canio, Viduka and Johansson in recent years to see that this isn't true. People in Scotland know that the SPL isn't the greatest but we can admit that, unlike the English people who let themselves believe that English football is the best around. If the Premiership was so good, how come Tore Andre Flo, who is undoubtedly a talented player, hasn't performed well so far. In fact, the SPL has been more competitive this year than the Premiership has.
Ciaran Carey, Scotland

A lot of the comments made seem to reflect the petty rivalry between the English and the Scottish rather than deal with the talents of Larsson. The Dutch league has not been particularly good over the past 2 years, but I do not hear many people say that Van Nistelrooy plays in an inferior league. I think team for team the Scottish league is about on par with the Dutch. As for Larsson, I think he is a great player who not only scores but also creates goals and believe he would do so in any league he plays in. If Kevin Philips had scored 30 goals in the Scottish league I guess most people would have dismissed that as well.
Femi Johnson, Nigeria

Henrik Larsson has been without a shadow of a doubt the best player that Celtic has seen since the days of the Lisbon Lions. He may even be better than them he is that good. Without him Celtic wouldn't be the champions and would probably have been struggling to keep up with Rangers. He is so valuable to Celtic and it showed last season when he broke his leg. Rangers won by 21 points, now Celtic are about to beat their Old Firm rivals by around that same margin. He is one of the best, if not the best, player Celtic have ever seen.
Martin Bell, Scotland

Bring him down to the Premiership, and then we will judge how good he is.
  Jeff Scholey, UK
I listened to my Father talking about the likes of 'Wee Jinky' Johnstone and all the past Celtic greats. Now I will have someone to tell my kids about. Unless Henrik ever plays in Serie A or the English Premiership we will never know whether he is indeed a world class player. As a Scot and someone who prefers watching English football I can hold up my hands and admit that scoring 49 goals in the Scottish Premier is no where near the task it would be in the Premiership. Hopefully we will never know the answer and he stays at Celtic for the remainder of his career. Scotland's best ever import? I think so.
Steven, Scotland

Bring him down to the Premiership, and then we will judge how good he is.
Jeff Scholey, UK

Henrik doesn't only score fantastic goals, he makes them as well. He would score double figures in any league but we're more than happy for him to stay at Celtic for good. Anyone that suggests he can only turn it on in Scotland is forgetting the goals he has also scored for Sweden.
Grahame Steed, England

Oooo the Premiership is just sooo wonderful, yawn, yawn, yawn! Some of you guys really need to open you eyes and give Larsson the credit he deserves. The man is a class apart and if you don't believe me then just ask Tore Andre Flo or Mark Viduka - both have proved themselves in the Premiership and The Champions League and yet neither has been able to match Henrik during their time in Scotland. If only people weren't so prejudiced about smaller leagues then Larsson would be recognised for what he is - one of the top five strikers in Europe.
Sam, Scotland

I have my doubts as to whether Larsson would fair even half as well in the First Division and he would struggle big time in the Premeriship.
  Andy Best, England

I would just like to say to Pete, Roger and Iain Wood, How come Mark Viduka is scoring more goals for Leeds than he did with Celtic? Is it something to do with the fact that he is now playing in a poorer league? Henrik Larsson would walk all over the English Premiership just like he would walk all over any league in the world. Class always shines through and Larsson KNOWS he will NEVER play for a bigger and better club than Glasgow Celtic and that's why he is very happy where he is. Sorry Iain but I can't see Henrik taking a massive step back to play for Sunderland. He's more interested in Champions League football next season.
Lee, UK

Credit where credit is due. Larasson has had a good season and scored some spectular goals...but he is playing in a poor league where the standard of football has something to be desired. Any league where Chirs Sutton can have a good season, says something about the standards of the Scottish League. I have my doubts as to whether Larsson would fair even half as well in the First Division and he would struggle big time in the Premeriship.
Andy Best, England

I've heard it all before. They said Viduka could only score in Scotland, Di Canio could only do his 'tricks' in Scotland, Dalgliesh could never replace Keegan, etc. Didn't Brian McClair, a far inferior striker to Larsson, become the first Man Utd player to score 20 league goals in a season since Law in his very first season ? As for him needing Sutton, well didn't Henrik score a hat trick in the league cup final AFTER Sutton got sent off ?
Michael Kennedy, England

Not only has he broken the existing Scottish scoring record but he has done it with style and skill and not least with magnanimity. He has achieved this remarkable record after returning from a double leg break the previous season and has played the game as it should be played with fairness and honesty and sportsmanship. There have been no "hand of Gods" to assist him or feigning fouls to gain advantages. He has achieved his record breaking feat through hard work, his talent and from the assistance of his team and coaching staff at Celtic. Well done Henrik Larsson and well done Celtic.
Gerard McGowan, Japan

I heard a rumour that Kevin Phillips might be on his way to Celtic in a swap deal that would involve Larson coming south to Sunderland. I would jump at this opportunity if I were Peter Reid and being a Sunderland season ticket holder I don't say that lightly. I've always said anything under 20m wouldn't be enough for "Super Kev" but this would. That's how highly I rate Larsson. He's up there with the best and it's a shame he wasn't in a more testing league where his abilities could be really tested. Come to Sunderland Henrik!
Iain Wood, England

Henrik Larsson can now be called a Celtic legend. Forty-nine goals and counting is a phenomenal achievement and Henrik deserves all the accolades that he will no doubt receive.
Colm, Ireland

Thierry Henry
Theirry Henry: Is Larsson equal to the top Gunner?
Larsson is up there with Henry and Hasselbaink. Despite only having to compete against fairly mediocre defences most weeks, he would still be at least a 20 goal-a-season striker in the Premiership. He's just fantastic, despite his own comments that he isn't one of the best, he's clearly good enough to compete in the better leagues. Just because Scotland's league is relatively poor, they are still professional defenders, 50 goals in one season tells its own story.
Alex Allen, England

We must remember that Chris Sutton could hardly score when he was at Chelsea, and now with Celtic he has scored 14 goals. The Scottish League is obviously easier to score in. Saying that, some of Larsson's finishes have been amazing. He should move to an English club to fulfil his talent.
Roger, U.K

Larsson is a great player, but lets not kid ourselves. In a top league he would be a 20 goal a season player maybe less. Next year in the Champions league we will find out how good/bad he is. If there was any respect for this goal scoring record then surely someone like Milan or Real Madrid would have bid 25 million plus. So lets not get excited about a good player in a poor league.
Pete, England

Henrik is the best buy Celtic have made. There hasn't been a player of his quality since Brian Laudrup
Billy Forrester, Scotland

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15 Apr 01 |  Scottish Cup
Treble on as Larsson breaks record
14 Apr 01 |  Sports Talk
Your tributes to Jim Baxter
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