Saturday 22 October 2016

'Petrov sold me Celtic' - Sinclair

Celtic striker Scott Sinclair insists Bhoys legend Stiliyan Petrov (pictured) helped convince him to move to Parkhead.
Celtic striker Scott Sinclair insists Bhoys legend Stiliyan Petrov (pictured) helped convince him to move to Parkhead.

Scott Sinclair revealed Celtic hero Stiliyan Petrov helped sell him on the move to Parkhead.

The 27-year-old forward made a memorable start to his Hoops career on Sunday when he came off the bench to score the late winner in a 2-1 Ladbrokes Premiership victory over Hearts at Tynecastle only hours after his four-year deal from Aston Villa was confirmed.

Midfielder Petrov, 37, became a huge favourite at Celtic Park during his time at the club between 1999 and 2006 before he moved to Villa Park where he trained in pre-season in a bid to win a contract four years after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Sinclair, who admitted he "couldn't ask for a better start" with his 81st-minute finish in Gorgie, spoke to the Bulgarian before signing for a fee reported as being worth as much as £4.5million with add-ons to the Midlands club.

"Most players know about Celtic," he said. "It is a massive club and they have probably got one of the most passionate sets of fans in football.

"I spoke to Stan before I came here, asked him questions and he basically told me you will never experience the atmosphere and what the fans are like (elsewhere).

"He thought it would be great for me to get my football back on track.

"He didn't really give me a direct leave or stay but was basically talking about the club and his experiences.

"He said if I was going to play at Aston Villa then it is my decision. It is for me to enjoy the football again, the passion and desire.


"You saw that when I came on and sprinted from my half to get on to the ball (and score) and that's what I want to bring back, the excitement of playing."

Sinclair, who met the media at Celtic Park, also stressed the important part Brendan Rodgers played in attracting him to Glasgow.

The former England Under-21 player worked with the Hoops boss at Chelsea as a youth player and then at Swansea before his move to Manchester City in 2012.

"We have that relationship where he lets me go and express myself," said Sinclair.

"The manager knows what I bring, I know what to expect from him and that's why he led me to this club. I just want to enjoy my football again.

"I worked under him at 16 at Chelsea, coming from Bristol Rovers, and I played under him at Swansea and that was my best football which led me on to sign for Manchester City.

"When I look back now, two or three years, the football hasn't been great for me and I just wanted to be at a club, enjoying it and playing for a manager who knows me and gives the confidence to go and play freely.

"It is great for me to work under a manager like that."

After being on loan at eight different clubs throughout his career, including Birmingham, Wigan and West Brom, Sinclair is hoping to place roots at Celtic and establish a bond with the supporters.

"The fans were unbelievable," he said. "You've seen my celebration, running to them.

"I just want to get that bond with the fans, show them that excitement and keep helping the team to win."

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