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Thursday 29th September 2016

Magic Number #20

We cast our mind back to players who have donned the No.20 shirt during their time in Scottish football.

In this week’s Magic Numbers piece, we cast our mind back to players who have donned the No.20 shirt during their time in Scottish football.
Alexei Eremenko - Kilmarnock
The tricky Finnish midfielder became a hugely popular figure at Kilmarnock in double-quick time with his influential displays and mesmerising ability on the ball. He was originally signed on loan by fellow Finn Mixu Paatelainen after spells in his homeland with HJK, in Italy with Lecce, then with Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine. His impact was immediate, scoring on his debut in a 2-1 win over St Mirren. His dazzling form continued for Killie, and he was nominated for Players’ Player of the Year in the 2010/11 season. After spells in Russia and Kazakhstan, he returned to Ayrshire in 2014 for a season, scoring five goals in 38 league appearances.
Paddy McCourt - Celtic
The Derry Pele. Paddy McCourt became a cult hero at Celtic after signing from Irish League side Derry City, and on his game there was no stopping the Northern Ireland international. The man who signed him, Gordon Strachan, claimed McCourt was “as gifted a footballer as I have ever seen”, and the winger would go on prove his talent with an array of sensational goals for the Parkhead club. He stayed with Celtic, his boyhood team, for a total of five years and scored 10 goals in the process, each as memorable as the last. In his final performance for the club he picked up his second Scottish Cup winner's medal before leaving for Barnsley at the end of his contract. McCourt is now plying his trade for Glenavon back in Northern Ireland.
David Zitelli - Hibernian
After playing most of his career in his native France, David Zitelli was signed by Alex McLeish for Hibernian in 2000. The forward would go on to have a productive two seasons at the Hibees, writing himself into Easter Road folklore with a goal in the famous 6-2 victory over fierce city rivals Hearts. Zitelli would turn out to be a player for the big occasions at Hibs, scoring the winning goal against Rangers in October 2000 and giving The Cabbage a famous UEFA Cup win against AEK Athens, although unfortunately they were to lose the tie 3-4 on aggregate. Hibernian proved to be David Zitelli’s last big show - he retired a year after leaving the club in 2002 following a short spell with French lower-league side FC Istres.
Juanjo – Heart of Midlothian
The winger ticked every box when it came to exciting fans before a ball was kicked. Continental forward? Check. Long name shortened down to a fun-to-say nickname? Check. Big club on CV? Check. Similar to McCourt (above), Juan José Carricondo Pérez had the ability to put in some mouth-watering displays which left the Jambos singing his praises. Signed by Jim Jefferies from Barcelona, Juanjo would go on to make 87 appearances for the club over four seasons, scoring 11 goals. He’s best remembered for his goal against rivals Hibernian in May 2000, a game that Hearts won to secure a place in the next seasons UEFA Cup. He left Tynecastle in 2002 and had a spell at Bradford City before heading back north and playing for Inverness CT and Hamilton Accies. Juanjo now plays for CF Mollet in Catalonia.