Former Derby County attacker Johnny Russell says the Rams won the race for his signature back in 2013 after offering more money than Scottish champions Celtic, the BBC report.
Russell moved to Derby from Dundee United in a deal worth £650,000.
The 14-capped international became a popular figure with the Rams. He spent four years at Pride Park before moving on to MLS side Sporting Kansas City.
Speaking to the BBC, Russell says it remains his dream to play for Celtic one day as he recalls the Hoops’ strong interest in him prior to his Derby move.
Throughout my career I always hoped it would happen. It hasn’t happened yet, hopefully it does at some point. I grew up dreaming of that. I’m happy where I am, but I’m a Celtic fan. The season I went to Derby there was a bid made but Derby offered more, so there was never a choice.
Derby had tracked Russell and he became Nigel Clough’s top signing in 2013.
The 29-year-old originally started out as a central striker, but he soon switched to a wide forward role under successor Steve McClaren.
Russell helped Derby reach the playoff final in his debut season, scoring nine goals. He followed that up with another 15 goals over two seasons as the Rams chased promotion.
Derby, however, failed to reach the Premier League despite going agonizingly close. Despite being a regular in 2017-18, Russell surprisingly departed mid-season to join the MLS.
At 29, the Sporting Kansas top scorer still has his best years ahead of him. With 12 months left on his MLS deal, a dream move to Celtic could still be an option for him.