Ulrik Laursen '˜turned down Rangers' to join Celtic

Former Celtic star Ulrik Laursen has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to join Rangers in order to sign for the Parkhead club in 2002.

Ulrik Laursen spent three seasons with Celtic. Picture: SNS
Ulrik Laursen spent three seasons with Celtic. Picture: SNS

The Danish defender made the revelation while reflecting on his career in Scotland on a recent episode of the Glasgow Is Green Podcast.

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He had initially been persuaded to move Scotland with Hibs in 2000 by Alex McLeish after letting his contract with hometown club Odense expire.

When McLeish moved to Rangers as manager he tried to have Laursen follow him along the M8. However, the former boss was thwarted in his attempt when Old Firm adversary Martin O’Neill made his interest known.

Laursen would spend three seasons at Celtic Park after completing the £1.3million deal, and played in the club’s 2003 Uefa Cup final defeat against Porto. He moved back to Odense in the summer of 2005 after Gordon Strachan took over as manager following O’Neill’s resignation.

He said: “I knew there was interest because Hibs renewed my contract, but I wasn’t really interested in going anywhere because we had a nice live in Edinburgh, and we’d bought a beautiful house and had our friends close by.

“Then I heard that McLeish was wanting me to sign for Rangers, and an agent told me that O’Neill wanted me to sign for Celtic. It’s not everyday that both Old Firm clubs want to sign you.

“I thought Celtic was the better club for me at that time. I thought the team was better, I thought the players were better. So that’s why I chose Celtic. And also I’d enjoyed playing against Celtic than playing against Rangers, so that’s why I chose the club.”

- Listen to the full interview here.