Former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty has revealed that ex-Burnley boss and notorious Celtic fan Owen Coyle tried to manufacture the Northern Irishman a move to Celtic Park.
The lanky striker is a diehard bluenose from Northern Ireland but that didn’t stop Coyle trying to convince him to move to Celtic prior to Rangers’ interest in the player.
But it wasn’t enough to convince the player to move with Lafferty claiming he’d have refused to play had Coyle got his wish.
“Mate, ridiculous [how bad Coyle wanted Lafferty to move to Celtic],” Lafferty told Open Goal.
“I’ve left at the end of the season to go back to Northern Ireland and my agent is on the phone.
“He’s telling me that Owen Coyle’s not letting you go to Rangers, he’s trying to pursue this Celtic deal.
“I’m like ‘I won’t play, I’ll just sit there’, as a young 20-year-old.
“I don’t want to say I pushed through a deal, because I’d have been happy to stay at Burnley, but Coylely obviously being a Celtic fan was trying to push this deal through.
“He probably told Celtic offer £2m and we’ll get the deal done, but it turned out Rangers obviously made the bid and after a few conversations they accepted their offer, it was brilliant.”
Lafferty opened up on the interest Celtic had in him just before his reported £3.25m move to Rangers and Ibrox back in 2008.
The Parkhead club were determined to bring the Northern Ireland striker to Celtic Park but despite pulling out all the stops to do so, Lafferty was undeterred.
Holding out for his dream move to Ibrox, Lafferty spoke about a private conversation with Gordon Strachan and how he “just couldn’t” turn out for his rivals.
“Obviously, Celtic are a massive club,” Lafferty told Open Goal.
“Chance of winning trophies, Champions League, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to go back home.
“It just would’ve been so hard, I was in around the Northern Ireland team and an upcoming young star.
“It would’ve been hard for my family back in Northern Ireland as well, just everything that would’ve came with it.
“I did speak to Gordon, he’s like, ‘Listen big man, Celtic fans hated me, but look at me now, they worship me.’
“He did say all the right things but I just couldn’t have done it and thankfully, the better team in Scotland came knocking on my door.”
Kyle Lafferty spent five years at Rangers across two different spells, with his first spell at the club considerably more successful than the second.
Lafferty won six trophies in a memorable first spell under Walter Smith but admits he struggled with nerves during his second brief stint at Rangers.