We launched the new Celtic Way series of Haggerty's Heroes last week with the King of Kings. It's only fair that the second episode should pay homage to 'The King'.

King Kenny Dalglish, of course.

Dalglish was a coveted member of Celtic's 'Quality Street Gang' that comprised generational talents such as Danny McGrain, Lou Macari, Davie Hay, George Connolly and Paul Wilson. All of them went on to lift trophies as well as gain international honours.

It was a golden period for Celtic having won the European Cup under the legendary Jock Stein against Inter Milan in 1967 and contesting the final again against Feyenoord in Milan in 1970.

The 1970/71 season hinted at what was to come before Dalglish's breakthrough season. The King had flirted with the first team but there was now a growing clamour for him to be granted regular first-team football after some stunning performances in the reserves.

In a six-game sequence, Dalglish netted an incredible 16 times and helped the men in green and white defeat their Rangers reserve counterparts by scorelines of 7-1, 4-1 and 6-1 respectively.

Two days after Macari had bagged the winner against Rangers in the 1971 Scottish Cup final, Celtic participated in a testimonial for Kilmarnock's Frank Beattie. Celtic duly hammered them 7-2 with Dalglish claiming six goals. A star was born. Finally, the genie(us) was out of the bottle.

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The stage was set for Dalglish to flourish under Stein's tutelage in the 1971/72 season. He, alongside Macari, would go on to become the darlings of Celtic Park. The King was about to claim his throne as Celtic went in search of their seventh successive League title. 12 goals in five pre-season friendlies forced Stein's hand as he leapt above Vic Davidson - a prolific plunder of goals - in the pecking order.

The acid test duly arrived at Ibrox in a League Cup tie as a 20-year-old Dalglish calmly slotted home a 70th-minute penalty to make it 2-0 for Celtic in front of 72,500 spectators after legendary skipper Billy McNeill had handed him the ball.

He would rasp the net again as Celtic started their title defence with a 9-1 drubbing of Clyde. Dalglish would end his first full season in football with 23 goals a Scottish League and Scottish Cup winners medal and a Scotland internationalist as well as a burgeoning reputation as a special talent.

There were lows too such as the 4-1 League Cup final defeat to Partick Thistle as well as the agonising heartbreaking loss on penalty kicks to old foes Inter Milan in the European Cup semi-final. A third European Cup final appearance in five years would really have been something.

By 1973 after Macari defected to Manchester United, Dalglish stood alone as the undisputed King of Paradise. Dalglish scored the second goal against Hibs at Easter Road that cemented the eighth successive league title from a Rangers side that pushed them all the way. A week later Dalglish scored in the 1973 Scottish Cup final which has gone down in the annals as a classic as Celtic lost by the odd goal in five to their arch-rivals.

Celtic Way:

More glory was around the corner though in 1973/74 as the men from Glasgow's east end secured a ninth League title on the spin with Dundee United being swept aside in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park. It was Dalglish's second League and Scottish Cup double. Only Dundee denied the team a domestic clean sweep after a 1-0 triumph in the League Cup final.

There was bitter disappointment too in the 1974 European Cup semi-final as Celtic were booted off the park in a brutal first-leg clash at Parkhead which saw the Spaniards reduced to eight men but steal a priceless 0-0 draw. Stein's men lose the return 2-0. It was the end of an era for both Dalglish and Celtic as the player and the club would never scale the dizzy heights of the latter stages of the competition ever again.

Celtic Way:

Despite taking part in his first World Cup for Scotland at the finals in Germany in 1974 when they were eliminated at the first hurdle the writing appeared to be on the wall for the King the following season 1974/75 as Celtic relinquished their vice-like grip on the title and trailed in a distant third to a rampant Rangers under Jock Wallace.

The domestic Scottish Cup and League Cup double would have been a scant reward although Dalglish finally got his hands on a coveted League Cup winner's gong. McNeill also announced his retirement from the game after Celtic defeated Airdrieonians in the 1975 end-of-season showpiece. The summer of 1975 may well have looked like the ideal time for King Kenny to call it a day in Glasgow and at the age of 24 he was itching to play with a side that could fulfil his European ambitions and he slapped in a transfer request.

Stein was then involved in a horrendous car crash in July 1975 which kept him from performing his managerial duties for a year and with his transfer ambitions frustrated he knuckled down under interim boss Sean Fallon. He signed a new two-year deal and was made captain of the club by the man who eight years earlier had turned up on his doorstep to secure his signature. Celtic won nothing in the 1975/76 campaign as Rangers waltzed away with the newly created Scottish Premier League en route to securing a treble.

Stein returned in time for the start of the 1976/77 season but Liverpool were sniffing around and were in search of a replacement for Kevin Keegan. Bob Paisley's initial approach was rebuffed by Stein as Celtic circled the wagons but the clock was now ticking down on the King's Celtic career.

Another League and Scottish Cup double followed with Dalglish fittingly captaining Celtic to glory against Rangers in the 1977 Scottish Cup final in his last match for the club. The summer of 1977 saw Liverpool splash out a then British record transfer fee of £440,000 to take Dalglish to Anfield and the King was gone.

READ MORE: The Celtic star whose departure marked my soul forever - Tony Haggerty

Just how good was Dalglish?

The painful loss of Dalglish is still felt by Celtic supporters today. Yours truly was crushed as he was my first-ever football hero. Those who were around to witness Dalglish in his pomp and ceremony will tell you he was adored by the Celtic faithful. So much so that Dalglish was also voted into the greatest-ever Celtic XI - why wouldn't he be?

He carried the torch for Celtic in Europe after the halcyon days of Lisbon and Milan. A European Cup triumph with Dalglish in the side is the one trophy that eluded Celtic and Stein and arguably should reside in the Paradise trophy cabinet. It is a definite case of Paradise Lost.

From 1967 until 1974, Celtic were the best team in Europe. A real force to be reckoned with. Dalglish spearheaded that attack for three of those seasons but fell agonisingly short of achieving his European dream with Celtic.

Few players can hold a candle to Dalglish in terms of his natural ability. He is a ten out of ten player - no argument. He is a football legend. An absolute icon. In my humble opinion, Liverpool got ten times the player in King Kenny than they did with Keegan.

That's why no Celtic supporter could grudge him his moment when he sumptuously lifted the ball over Bruges goalkeeper Birger Jensen at Wembley in the 1978 European Cup final.

Every Celtic fan gazed on in awe and wonderment and with a touch of the green-eyed monster It remains a 'what if' moment in the history of Celtic Football Club. What if Dalglish had scaled the same dizzy heights with Celtic? He was genuinely that good.

Celtic lost a legend at the peak of his powers in the summer of 1977. That's probably why it hurt so much to see Dalglish lift the big cup with the big ears sporting the red of Liverpool. What's that saying about those who you love the most hurting you the most? Dalglish should have been wearing a green and white hooped shirt when he held aloft the European Cup.

Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish remains the last world-class player in the truest sense of those words that this country has ever produced.

Long live King Kenny!