PROUD Ronnie Moran said he was overwhelmed by the tributes paid to him during a memorable testimonial night at Anfield.
Liverpool beat Celtic 4-1 as Erik Meijer (two), Titi Camara and David Thompson sealed victory for the Reds' former coach.
Moran took centre stage to accept the acclaim of over 30,000 spectators from Merseyside and Glasgow who created a carnival atmosphere throughout the 90 minutes.
"I've enjoyed many great moments in football but this day will live with me forever," said Ronnie, who was welcomed onto the pitch by a host of Anfield legends.
"I'm overwhelmed by the attendance and support. I've been involved in the game a long time, but this has really opened my eyes to what football is all about. The support from the Liverpool and Celtic fans has been magnificent. When I was here we enjoyed a bit of success but throughout that time the support given to us made a big difference. With fans like this, hopefully both clubs can go that little step further and have the success they deserve next season."
Celtic Director of Football Kenny Dalglish also joined the tributes to his former assistant.
Said Dalglish: "The night belongs to Ronnie and it is fitting because he has made such a large contribution to the success of Liverpool Football Club. It's also fitting that Celtic should have provided the opposition because our fans gave such great support. They have helped to create a great night for a great fella."
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier was delighted that his side had produced a fine display on such a special occasion.
"The team gave a good performance for Ronnie," said Houllier. "He sat alongside me on the bench during the first half, but he was very quiet throughout the game. It was a good match with a good pace, but I must say the Celtic fans impressed me a lot. They are fantastic and are very similar to our own supporters. Both clubs have a strong tradition of success but have not won so much in recent years. But I believe such things come in cycles so perhaps the time for both teams will soon be coming around again."
Houllier also took encouragement from Robbie Fowler's performance last night.
Fowler didn't score but he looked sharp and energetic in his bid to force his way into the Euro 2000 squad.
Added Houllier: "Robbie was much better. His movement was good and on another night he could have scored five goals. He showed that he just needs a few more matches."
The match was watched by 33,300 fans, and should net him around £200,000 from his testimonial.
The veteran coach said: "I've been in the game a long time but this night will live with me for ever.
© Liverpool Daily Post & Echo