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SCOTTISH PREMIERE LEAGUE: Macca: I fell in love with Cliftonville.

Byline: Paul KEANE

FORMER Celtic and Scotland hero Frank McAvennie has revealed how he'll never forget his moment of fleeting cup joy with Cliftonville.

Party animal McAvennie tried his hand in the Irish League for the shortest of spells - just one game in fact - when he joined the Reds at the tail end of an exciting career.

True to form things turned chaotic for the Glasgow-born striker, who played just a solitary game before upping sticks to the other side of the world to play football with Hong Kong Rangers.

In normal times it wouldn't have been such a big deal but McAvennie had scored in the County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park and was expected to return and finish the job in the decider.

Suffice to say he never made the final but the former Celtic and West Ham star admitted just the one game was enough for him to fall in love with the club.

He said: "Cliftonville brought me over for a semi-final of a competition and I didn't know what type of reception I was going to get because I'd left Celtic.

"But the fans were great and I remember it to this day.

"I was going over to Hong Kong to play at the time and it was a choice between that semi-final and Hong Kong.

"I played the game and we won and I then left for Hong Kong!"

The fun was just beginning for McAvennie when he reached the Orient.He explained: "I stayed there for a couple of months and one day in particular they must have thought I was mad.

"I was out on the beach in about 80 degrees of heat around November sunbathing with this Page Three girl but the locals were all wearing jumpers and coats.

"That was a cold snap for them but the thing is when you come from Glasgow your blood is blue because the weather's so cold there."

He added: "I realised after playing out there that I still had something to give and I came back to Celtic after that.

"If I had stayed at Cliftonville I might never have never have gone back to Celtic."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2003
Words:364
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