A new football season has begun, and so I think I will write a few words on Rudi Vata. The Albanian from Shkoder, played for my favourite team and in fact married a Scottish girl, and I believe they still live in Scotland, with their son.
Glasgow Celtic are my football team, and in fact probably my first ever realization of anything Albanian was the signing in 1992 of Rudi Vata for Celtic. Following a France- Albania football match in 1991, he and some other players left the stadium and went to police station and claimed political assylum.
Rudi played 55 times for Celtic, sometimes in midfield , but mostly at right back. Unfortunately, his career was not helped by breaking his wrist. Rudi then struggled to get back into the team.
Celtic by that time were under the management of Tommy Burns, and were pushing for their first trophy in 6 years. Rudi made it back into the team just before Celtic's semi-final.With the game at 0-0, Celtic scored late on from a header from a Rudi Vata free kick. It was probably just what he needed and he kept his place for the final. Celtic won the final 1-0 against Airdrie.
What will I remember Rudi for?
Maybe , for him running around the pitch celebrating the cup final win with a massive sombrero Mexican hat.
Or, maybe for a rather cruel comment in the fan magazine NTV, that said the following year that Rudi would get a good run in the Celtic team as soon as he got a decent haircut!
But, probably I will remember Rudi Vata for one of his four goals for Celtic. The one against Rangers, from a free kick in a 3-0 win for Celtic!
No matter who you are, or how many games you play for Celtic, you are always a hero if you score against Rangers!