Kolo Toure believes he can become an “Invincible” for the second time in his career and help Celtic win their sixth consecutive domestic title by remaining undefeated this season.
The 35-year-old Ivory Coast international defender was in bullish mood when he was formally unveiled by the Scottish champions yesterday after signing a one-year contract.
Toure was part of the celebrated Arsenal side who completed the 2003-04 season unbeaten in the Premier League, earning the moniker of ‘The Invincibles’ as they won the title.
It was only the second time the feat had been achieved in English football with Preston North End the first to earn the tag when they won the league and FA Cup double back in 1888-89.
Only twice in Scottish football history have teams won the top flight title with unbeaten records. Celtic did it in 1897-98, winning 15 and drawing three of the then 18-game schedule, while Rangers managed an unprecedented and unmatched 100 per cent record when they won all 18 fixtures the following season.
The prospect of any side managing to go through the current 38-game Scottish Premiership campaign appears extremely remote but Toure insists it is a target Celtic can set themselves.
“Why not? Why not?” exclaimed the former Manchester City and Liverpool player. “That would be a great achievement for the team and for myself as well – to do it in two countries.
“I can say that it was the pinnacle of my career to be part of that Arsenal team. It was unbelieveable.
“I got to the point where I was calling a friend of mine who played for another club and I asked him ‘How does it feel when you lose a game?’. I had forgotten how it felt!
“We were winning every game, it was something special. You don’t get that all the time, obviously, so it was really special. For me, it was a privilege to be part of that team.
“My ambition for this season with Celtic is just to win every game. I want to try to win the league, the cups, get into the Champions League and go as far as we can in it. Every game is very important.”
On a domestic level, none are likely to be more important for Toure with his new club than the meetings with a Rangers side who are intent on providing a genuine title challenge on their return to the top flight.
The first Old Firm showdown of the campaign is at Celtic Park on 10 September and Toure is already relishing the prospect of an occasion which has already captivated him from afar.
“I’ve watched it on TV and it is really amazing,” he added. “I will make sure I’m prepared for it. When I watched it, I just thought ‘Wow!’. It was unbelievable. Even just watching on TV, you can feel it.
“So if I’m able to get on the pitch and feel it, it is going to be massive for me. I am looking forward to it. I have played in a few big derbies in the Premier League but this one is really special.”
Toure did not travel with Celtic to Kazakhstan yesterday for the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie against Astana tomorrow. But he hopes to be fit enough in time for next week’s return leg at Celtic Park.
“I am preparing myself to be ready for that,” he said. “I want to be available for the manager as soon as possible. I want to be ready to help the team. What more can you ask for than the chance to play in the Champions League for a club like Celtic?”.