Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty has had a lot of clubs since he first moved to England in 2004. At 32, he's currently playing in League One for Sunderland, his 11th professional club since moving to Burnley from Fermanagh as a teenager. He's also played in six different countries, taking in England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and Norway over the last 15 years. However, of all the clubs he's played for, the last one you'd ever expect to be associated with Kyle Lafferty is Celtic.
Lafferty signed for Rangers in 2008 from Burnley and would spend the next four years there before returning to Ibrox in 2018. But the striker has revealed that it was Celtic and not Rangers who the first ones in for him that summer, and the preferred choice of his club and their manager, Owen Coyle.
In an extensive interview with Open Goal, Lafferty discussed an approach from Celtic back in 2008 where he went as far as discussing the move with then manager Gordon Strachan. Immediately, Lafferty was a bit torn, given he'd grown up as a fervent Rangers supporter.
I've always supported them. When you're from Northern Ireland, it's either Rangers or Celtic to be honest. All my mates were all Rangers fans.
So then it probably came as a bit of a surprise for Lafferty when Burnley told him that Celtic were in for him and they'd accepted an offer. How close did it come to happening?
Obviously, Celtic. Massive club. Chance of winning trophies, trophies and playing in the Champions League.
I don't think I would have been able to go home. It just would have been so hard. I was in and about the Northern Ireland team, I was a young boy, an up and coming "star" in the team.
I think it would have been hard for me and hard my family back in Northern Ireland as well, just with everything that came with it.
I did speak to Gordon, Gordon rang me and spoke to me. He said ‘listen big man, Celtic fans hated me, but look at me now, they worship me!
No, he did speak to me, he did say all the right things. But I couldn’t have done it. Thankfully the better team in Scotland came knocking.
Owen Coyle was Lafferty's manager at the time at Burnley, and according to Lafferty, was trying to make the Celtic move happen, even when Rangers eventually entered the race.
Coyle, a former Irish international and a massive Celtic supporter, was really pushing the move to Parkhead.
Ridiculous. I've left, that was the end of the season, to go on my holidays and go back to Northern Ireland, and play football with my mates. My agent's on the phone, saying, 'Listen, Owen Coyle's not letting you go to Rangers. He's trying to push through this Celtic deal.' 'Well I won't play. I'll just sit there!' This is me talking as a young 20-year-old. 'Nah, not happening.'
So I don't want to say I pushed through a deal, because obviously I would have been happy to stay at Burnley but I was like, 'I'm not going. I've got to stay at Burnley.'
It turned out Rangers obviously made the bid and after a few conversations with the gaffer and the club, they accepted Rangers obviously, so it was brilliant.
Later, Lafferty talks about playing in flute band as a kid and selling Orange march songs on the 12th July, and you understand why a Celtic move might not have made the most sense for the forward.