What's green and white and is 26-years-old today?

The Celtic Huddle.

It's 26 years since Celtic handed a debut to the world-famous team cluster.

Tommy Burns was the Hoops manager in July 1995 when Celtic arrived in the small German town of Jheringsfen for a pre-season friendly against local side Kickers Emden.

There was a carnival atmosphere with burgers and hot dogs being grilled and beer being imbibed in the ground.

Little did the jovial supporters know that history was in the making.

It was all the brainchild of Tony Mowbray.

On the day of the introduction of the huddle - which ironically resulted in a 2-0 defeat -  the Celtic team were: Pat Bonner, Lee Martin, Tosh McKinlay, Malky Mackay, Mowbray, Peter Grant, Brian McLaughlin, Rudi Vata, Pierre Van Hooijdonk, Andy Walker and John Collins.

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The Huddle has since gone on to become an integral part of Celtic's pre-match ritual.

It is a bonding, rallying cry of togetherness for the Celtic management, players and supporters just before they go out to do battle against the opposition.

Peter Grant remembers to this day his initial feeling was one of scepticism.

Nobody was going to use his beloved Celtic as a sort of cheap gimmick.

The Dunfermline boss admits that he can't quite believe how Mogga's 'Celtic Huddle' has gone on and entered into the folklore of the club.

Grant said: "We were on the team bus one day and Tony Mowbray suggested we do the huddle. I was initially sceptical as I was a Celtic supporter born-and-bred and I am not a gimmick person.

"I tell you right now if I thought the huddle was going to be a gimmick there is not a hope in hell's chance that I would have done it.

"It was something that the Celtic players spoke about for a few days. It was not a spur of the moment thing as we did it to show the Celtic supporters we were all in this together.

"We started the huddle on a pre-season tour of Germany. We were playing Emden Kickers and we lost 2-0 incidentally.

"You could smell the frankfurters, the hot dogs and the beer in the stadium we played in when we first performed the huddle. It was all a bit surreal.

"It really was the humblest of beginnings for something that is now massive.

"I have great respect for Tony for instigating that as you are better to be a leader than a follower. There were no shrinking violets in that Celtic team and everybody had an opinion.

"I had to be convinced that this was the right thing to do and I had to take it all in first. I knew what I was representing and you have to be very, very aware of that. My thought was always what would the Celtic supporters think?

"Managers, coaches, players pass through the club but you are representing that badge and the Celtic supporters at all times.

"There was no way I wanted to let this great club down or make a fool of it. I would never have allowed that to happen.

"I did not want the huddle to be a mark of disrespect or ever become a laughing stock, it has gone on to be anything but."

Grant also explained that the story circulating in the press at the time was that Mowbray had introduced the huddle to the Celtic players as a grief coping mechanism because his first wife Bernadette - who sadly died after a battle with cancer - was wide of the target.

The 55-year-old said: "There was the story that the Celtic Huddle came about because Tony's wife Bernadette - God rest her - was dying of cancer.

"I can assure you that Tony always separated those issues at the time and that is why the group was close.

"We were all aware of what was going on as we are not daft but Tony specifically focused on the players and the togetherness and we tried to create a special bond within ourselves for the fans so that they could utilise it.

"Celtic was not a good team back then and we were not winning things regularly. The huddle would have been easy if we were winning leagues and cups consistently.

"That was the thing that was hurting the Celtic players the most and that's why I had some trepidation.

"We knew once we had committed to the huddle that we had to do it during the bad days. That was the biggest thing for the Celtic players back then.

"I just wanted to win silverware again for this great club and to do that you need to have togetherness whether that be with a group of good players or mediocre players it didn't matter.

"Tony tried to bring the management, the players and the supporters together at a time in our history when the club was not very successful.

"It shows the strength of character of a guy like Tony that he could think of an idea like the huddle for Celtic football club despite the personal situation that he was dealing with.

"His focus was always on making Celtic better."

Celtic Way:

However, Grant laments the fact that as part of Mowbray's Celtic coaching staff in 2009 the team did not win the championship and perform the ultimate dream huddle.

Grant said: "I would have loved nothing more than to perform the huddle with Tony as Celtic manager having won the title. That would have been the ideal, dream scenario for us all.

"Can you imagine if the founder and creator of the huddle had won the league when he was in charge of the club back in 2009 and we did the huddle in front of the Celtic supporters?

"We would have blown the roof of Celtic Park. That is the one major football regret that I harbour.

"I would dearly have loved to have witnessed a huddle in front of the Celtic supporters by the man who inspired it all by way of a title celebration. I wanted that for Tony as much as anybody else connected with Celtic."

Celtic Way:

Grant insists that the huddle on a smaller scale is Celtic's version of the New Zealand rugby union side's 'Haka'.

It's a tribal, ritual dance used by the All-Blacks to intimidate their opponents before every match.

Grant said: "I can't remember seeing it performed in football circles before Celtic did it. It is Celtic's equivalent and watered-down version of the New Zealand rugby 'Haka' isn't it?

"The Celtic supporters expect the huddle before kick-off and there is always that anticipation of it.

"When we performed the huddle there were times when we would wait, we would hold it, and if the other team were doing something we would look over our shoulder and not move until they did.

"There was some real gamesmanship going on with it, of course, and we would just hold it and hold it before releasing it and you could hear the Celtic fans go wild.

"The huddle the Celtic supporters do now when they all turn their back on the play and jump around in unison is a joy to behold."

But what's actually said between the players when they come together?

"What is said in the huddle, stays in the huddle," laughed.

"There is a code of honour among the Celtic players that we never break ranks or divulge any of the secrets of what is said in the huddle. Every player will have their wee message and will have something to say."

Mowbray himself once remarked in 2008 that he was delighted that the Celtic huddle was his gift to Celtic.

Mogga said: “Every player likes to leave something that people can remember them by and maybe the Huddle is mine at Celtic. I’m delighted to see it’s still going strong because it’s a brilliant way of uniting the players and the fans. It’s in the fabric of Celtic now.”

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Ironically Grant joked that wherever he goes in the world he is always asked to part in a Celtic huddle.

Grant said: "I can't go anywhere in the world without being asked to perform the Celtic huddle.

"If you meet a group of Celtic supporters then it is the first thing they ask you to do. I have performed the huddle in England, Italy, Spain, America - you name it.

"People still refer to me as Peter Grant of the Celtic despite the fact I have been away from the club for over 20 years except for the spell in 2009 when I was part of Tony's coaching staff. It is with a wonderful and enormous sense of pride that I look back and think that I was one of those players to take part in the first-ever Celtic huddle.

"I am even prouder that it is Tony who has woven the huddle into the fabric of Celtic. He has left an indelible mark on Celtic.

"Tony as a player and a manager never gave less than 100 per cent for Celtic whenever he represented the club. That is the kind of character he is.

"He was thinking of Celtic at the time when the huddle was created as we were all suffering. What a legacy and it says everything about the kind of man Tony is."