James McAvoy to play in Celtic’s Jock Stein charity match

James McAvoy in action for McStay's Maestros during the Maestrio charity match in September last year. Picture: SNS

James McAvoy in action for McStay's Maestros during the Maestrio charity match in September last year. Picture: SNS

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JAMES McAvoy, the actor best known for his roles in X-Men, Filth and Atonement has been confirmed as a player on the Celtic Legends team for the upcoming Jock Stein 30th Anniversary Charity Match.

The 36-year-old actor will pull on a Celtic jersey for the second time, after appearing in the Maestro match last year, converting a penalty in the process.

The Drumchapel-born star told celticfc.net: “The highlight of the Maestrio game was getting to celebrate scoring a penalty with my mate, Martin Compston.

“Just being on the pitch when all the Celtic fans were going crazy, I never thought that ever would happen.

“It felt like a dream but to do it for real, and to do it to benefit charity, it was something that felt really good and positive.

“I think everyone had a really good time that day, from everyone who spent their money to come and see it, to everyone who ran about – even if they weren’t fit enough to do it.

“The whole experience was just a very positive, brilliant thing and my family and friends were in the stands and it was great to share all of that with them too.”

McAvoy, who grew up watching the likes of Henrik Larsson and Lubo Moravcik, added: “I remember being quite star-struck around John Hartson and Lubo Moravcik, Lubo - along with Henrik Larsson – is one of my all time favourite Celtic players, so to get the opportunity to play with him was absolutely nuts.”

And speaking about the upcoming Jock Stein Charity Match, McAvoy stressed the importance of supporting Celtic ‘in the vein that they were originated’.

He said: “Jock Stein and everything he achieved, it’s part of what has made Celtic a special club, and not just a club that happens to be in a huge city with a vocal support.

“It’s so important to support Celtic in the vein that they were originated, as a charity that reached out to the community and continues to do so through Celtic FC Foundation.

“Although not their entire remit, the Celtic FC Foundation are trying to address issues of poverty and things like that in and around the city.

“As a person, I think that’s hugely important and as a fan, I don’t think you can ever overestimate or overstate what Jock Stein did for the club.”

The Legends squad so far includes ex-Hoops players Stiliyan Petrov, Tosh McKinlay, Hibs boss Alan Stubbs, Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara, Jonathan Gould, Livingston boss Mark Burchill and Tom Boyd. It will be managed by Murdo MacLeod while Martin Compston also returns to take part.

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