FERGUS McCANN, widely regarded as the saviour of Celtic, will be honoured at Parkhead at the club's first home match of next season, an occasion that will almost certainly involve the title flag being unfurled by the businessman.

The invitation to McCann, who now lives in Boston, was described by Peter Lawwell, the chief executive, as a mark of "the special contribution" he made to the club.

It should also redress the image of McCann being booed at the unfurling of the league flag in 1998. He was seen then as parsimonious but he is now regarded as a visionary who built the foundations for a financially stable Celtic and also masterminded the construction of a new stadium.

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Lawwell said: "A true Celtic supporter, Fergus delivered huge personal investment, sound leadership and tremendous vision during his tenure at Celtic.

"He showed unwavering determination and resilience to ensure his club could once again flourish and his contribution has led directly to the position of health it is in today.

"I know I speak for thousands of Celtic supporters when I thank Fergus sincerely for all he achieved."

Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, said: "It is absolutely right that we show our respect and gratitude to Fergus McCann. Fergus showed tremendous foresight and indeed, courage to tackle the situation the club was in back in 1994.

"No-one can deny Fergus absolutely delivered. He did what he believed in and achieved all he said he would.

"here are many great figures in Celtic's proud history and for me Fergus McCann is right up there as one of our most important."

McCann said last night: "It is very kind of the club and supporters to think of me and to offer this gesture."

The 20th anniversary of McCann's takeover falls next month but he is unable to travel to Glasgow then due to business commitments.