OLIVIER GIROUD has revealed he was ready to join Celtic – before a rant from a French chairman slamming Kilmarnock changed his mind.
The French striker was in favour of a switch to Parkhead after an electric season for French side Tours scoring 23 goals in 40 games.
But he was talked out of a move to Parkhead move in 2010 after speaking with then Montpellier chairman Louis Nicollin.
Nicollin swayed Giroud by launching a bizarre tirade on Scottish football, namechecking Kilmarnock in the process.
Giroud, as reported by The Scottish Sun, recalled: “I felt invincible that season. I scored 23 goals in 40 games and was the top goalscorer.
“The phone started ringing and several clubs were interested in me. Montpellier and Monaco, but also Celtic and Middlesbrough.
“My agents were working flat out to get me the best contract at the best club.
“My preference is Celtic and their legendary stadium, with its 60,000 capacity, is the stuff of dreams. I could already see myself there.
“Strategically, this club would be a great springboard to realise my ambition to eventually play in the Premier League.
“But in the meantime, my agents Alain and Guillaume come up with the idea of approaching Louis Nicollin, the now much-missed chairman of Montpellier.
“They advised me to take his call and told me, ‘You are free to decide which club you want to play for, but you should listen to what he has to say’.
“Flattered that this legend of French football wants to speak to me, I agree. Listening to him, I realise how much this club wants me.
“Straight off, he says ‘What are you going to do in Scotland in KILCHMARCHNOCK!’
“Mentioning the town of Kilmarnock is a slightly round-about way of bad-mouthing the whole Scottish championship.
“The chairman is desperate to persuade me not to sign for Celtic, who at this point are top of my list.”
Giroud was convinced then to move to Montpellier instead of a switch abroad despite the offer to double his wages at a number of foreign clubs.
Giroud, in his autobiography, ALWAYS Believe: The Autobiography of Olivier Giroud, wrote: “After talking to Montpellier, my agents came to see me with the financial offers from various clubs who are interested, including Celtic and Middlesbrough.
“They were offering twice as much as Montpellier.”
Giroud went on to spend three years with Montpellier before heading to England with Arsenal.
He then moved to Chelsea before a switch to AC Milan where he currently plays.