SINGER superstar Rod Stewart revealed how his father's influence turned him into a member of the Tartan Army.

The 76-year-old rock star explained how it was that as an Englishman, he has become a diehard Scotland and Celtic fan.

He revealed that it was meeting Jock Stein and other Celtic players in 1973 on the training ground while in Glasgow for a gig with his old band The Faces that began his Hoops conversion.

Speaking on Talksport he also revealed his wish for Celtic to compete in the English Championship one day, believing his beloved Hoops are good enough to compete in the second-tier of English football.

But he insisted he loved Scottish football and claimed that nobody is interested in watching teams like St Mirren "play whoever".

He did not believe either Rangers or Celtic would ever compete in England in his lifetime.

HeraldScotland:

The singer, who has had 10 number-one albums and 31 top ten singles in the UK including hits such as Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Maggie May and Sailing was born in Highgate, North London and grew up in the UK capital.

His father Robert, was Scottish.

He lived in Scotland with his English wife Elsie and their first four children were born there.

But the family moved to London, where their youngest son Rod, was subsequently welcomed to the world.

Rod said: "Yeah, to all intents and purposes I am English. I've never pretended I never said I was a Scotsman, so let's get that out of the way.

"My dad was born in Leith in Edinburgh. He had a big bearing on the football that we liked. He'd always say he was a Hibs supporter. He'd always say about the players who played in those days. And he'd always talk about the Wembley wizards."

This is a reference to the historic day when Scotland beat England 5-1 in 1928. His father had gone along to Wembley Stadium, ticketless, and climbed in over the back wall.

"So that sort of rubbed off on me and my brothers, and we just became Scotland supporters," he said.

He has previously confirmed that his own sons are also Scotland football and rugby supporters and life-long Celtic fans.

But it was Celtic's legendary European Cup-winning manager Jock Stein that gave him the taste for the Hoops.

HeraldScotland:

"I met Jock Stein in 1973, Kenny Dalglish, Jimmy Johnstone and Harry Hood, all knocked on my door," he recalled.

"We just did a show with The Faces in Glasgow, and they all came to wake me and Ronnie [Wood] up to get us to go training. Ronnie didn't get out of bed, but I went and I met Jock Stein. "He looked at me and he laughed at my shoes. And since that day, I've become a Celtic supporter.

"I was so enamoured by him, you know, this huge guy was just brilliant."

Asked about travelling all over the world to follow Celtic, he said: "It's worth every penny, you know. I'm going up there [on Thursday] and it's a lovely day out. It's the one thing where I spoil myself. And I get a private jet and go up to Glasgow and watch them. "I don't do it very often, but I just wish sometimes they played in the Championship [English]. I didn't say the Premiership because I think we'd do well in the Championship."

Rod Stewart and the 1978 Scotland World Cup Squad produced the Ole Ola single.

Asked about the Old Firm playing in England, he said: "I personally don't think it will ever happen in my lifetime but the thing is Scottish football would suffer you know, with great respect, nobody wants to see St. Mirren play whoever. And I mean, no disrespect.

"But they [Celtic and Rangers] are the giants. They are the ones that get the big crowds.

"So without them I don't know what would happen with Scottish football so much."

The star, whose music career began in 1962 when he took up busking with a harmonica, explained there was nothing to beat Parkhead on a night when the Hoops are playing top sides in Europe.

"Everybody says what the other grounds are like, you know United and Liverpool but it's nothing like Celtic," he told TalkSport host Jim White.  "The Celtic fans, with all due respect again, all the London teams, Liverpool... are all singing the same songs they were singing 25 years ago. You come up there to Celtic and there's new songs, new chants and they're just blinding supporters. They misbehave, sometimes. But there you go."

HeraldScotland:

And his all time favourite Celtic player? "Jimmy Johnstone or Bertie Auld who we just lost," said the star who left a touching note and lay flowers at the funeral of Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld last week.

"I remember Bertie saying to me after we were playing in a charity game with him and we're getting changed, and I'd never met him really, and he said: "Rod, I want my passes crisp. I'll always remember that."