TOM McAdam began his Celtic career 20 years ago this week, after Jock Stein paid Dundee United #60,000 for their prized centre-forward. He was seen by the Parkhead support as a replacement for their hero, Kenny Dalglish, who weeks earlier had moved to Liverpool.

However, as the years progressed, McAdam found himself out of the front line and commissioned to a new role as a pillar at the heart of the defence, an inspired move by Stein's successor, Billy McNeill.

He experienced many highs in his nine-year playing association with the club, and though never deemed good enough to play for his country, he particularly enjoyed the 5-0 thumping dished out to Sporting Lisbon in the 1982 EUFA Cup second-round first-leg at Parkhead.

McAdam scored in that game, one of the club's finest European nights, and recalls: ''Even now I still get a great feeling looking back on that night. The excitement was incredible.

''Something that sticks out in my memory is that I meant to set the video to record it, and was kicking myself as I had forgotten to do so. Fortunately, they were shown over and over again on television, and I've got them all on record.

''I never tire of putting that tape on and watching how we demolished them with great football.''

In his spell with the club he amassed four league championship medals and helped them to three Scottish Cup finals - two of them victories - in 1979-80 against brother Colin's Rangers, and 1984-85 against old club Dundee United. However, he only made the latter success, as he explains: ''On the two previous occasions I played in every round only to miss out in the finals due to suspension and injury. But my dream came true with that win over United.''

In 1986, at the 'veteran' age of 31, he was handed a surprise free transfer from Parkhead after injury problems, coupled with the emergence of young talent Paul McGugan.

He had a brief spell at Stockport and an even briefer spell - just three weeks - at Hamilton Accies before joining Motherwell, where he was a mainstay for three years until his ageing legs carried him to Airdrie in a player-coach capacity. It was there that he had the distinction of having played in every senior ground in the country.

The arrival of Liam Brady at Parkhead in 1993 signalled the return to favourite pastures for McAdam as he was awarded the role of youth team coach, after another free transfer, this time by Airdrie.

Indeed, McAdam returned to his old trade as a carpet-fitter before Brady made the offer.

McAdam, whose teenage son Steven is on Rangers' books, was sacked along with Frank Connor shortly after Tommy Burns' three-year stint as manager ended.

Now his ever-changing career has taken him to Hibernian, where Jim Duffy employs him as youth development officer, as well as overseeing a newly-devised scouting network. He is busier than ever in his new dual role and shows little sign of letting up.