The Kit Cupboard – Celtic Away Kit 1996–98

Welcome to a new regular feature on the site: The Kit Cupboard.

The Kit Cupboard will give an airing to various random kits past and present, domestic and foreign, that have not appeared in the two volumes of True Colours. There will be at least two Kit Cupboard updates a week and eventually these will have their own section of the site.


First up, with the long anticipated release of a new “bumble bee” away kit for Celtic on the 20th July I thought it might be apt to look at the original.

This kit was worn Celtic’s away strip from 1996 to 1998 and was undoubtedly one of the more outrageous kits of its day although I don’t think it got much exposure down south. It truly was a brave design with hoops rendered in black and fluroscent yellow which was also somehow combined with a faded watermark splash effect. Asymmetrically trimmed black shorts and hooped socks complete the outfit.

As was the trend with Umbro kits in the mid 90s, the club badge was housed within an additional shield and the famous diamonds dropped from the Umbro logo.

In its second year of use (now sporting an additional large Umbro logo as sponsor following the demise of the CR Smith deal) the kit accompanied the Bhoys to a celebrated Scottish Premier League title under the helm of new boss Wim Jensen – their first title since 1987-88 – that prevented Rangers from clinching a tenth title in a row. Clearly despite its challenging appearance the kit brings back fond memories for Celtic fans who no doubt will hope that its return in 2009-10 will once again inspire the side to grab the title back from Ibrox.

Worn in: A 4–0 trouncing of Hibernian in 96–97. Also worn in a 2–1 defeat at Hibernian in the club’s first game of the 97-98 season.

Worn by: Paolo di Canio (who signed for the club in June 1996), Henrik Larsson and Jorge Cadete.

7 Replies to “The Kit Cupboard – Celtic Away Kit 1996–98

  1. Hi John, Great to see a Celtic kit on the site at last. Are there plans for any more? Just bought the new Bumblebee kit and love it! fantastic work as usual John, keep it up! All the best, Jason

  2. I have both bumblebee kits and I love them both, I find myself wearing them even more often than my home kits these days. I think you have described well the extra awesome unbelievably ugly features the first Bumblebee had on the second, the second is a lot tamer.
    I see the Bumblebee as a symbol of loving your club through the real hard times as well as the good. The ugliness of the kit represented the dark days at that time at Celtic, with its high collar (with button) being flicked up by a host temperamental players from the continent – who had you screaming for joy one second at their amazing talent and seeing them gone the next over some scandal the next.
    The original Bumblebee is to me like a photo of that ugly always disobedient stupid dog you once owned – that you never ever would throw out as it’s the only proof of all the joy your unlikely best friend against the odds still gave you.

  3. Definitely different, although Nike’s take on the “bumblebee” design was far superior to the Umbro effort.

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