ONE Direction star Louis Tomlinson pulled on a Celtic jersey yesterday as the worlds of showbiz and sport turned out for Stiliyan Petrov.
The boyband heart-throb ran on to the field in a special 1D shirt in front of a sell-out crowd on an emotionally-charged day at Parkhead.
He left it minutes later after getting clattered by Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor, prompting an chorus of outrage from his fans on Twitter and social networking sites.
Other celebrities taking part for Petrov, who battled acute leukaemia which is now in remission, included comedian John Bishop and Westlife singer Nicky Byrne.
But the day was all about Petrov, nicknamed Stan, a man so lonely when he first moved to Glasgow that he worked in a burger van for company.
Yesterday, as 60,000 people sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, tears poured down his face as he said: “I’ve had the darkest moment of my life in the last year. A day like this is incredible.”
The match was held in aid of the Stiliyan Petrov Cancer Foundation but What Makes You Beautiful singer Tomlinson, 21, will probably remember it for being upended by Agbonlahor.
The challenge was so fierce that the singer, a semi-pro footballer who has signed for his hometown club Doncaster Rovers, vomited at the side of the pitch.
But last night Agbonlahor, who picked him up after the tackle and dusted him down, told how the pair hadn’t fallen out about it.
He said: “I know he enjoyed playing in the game and it’s fantastic that he took time out to be here, and the same with everyone else who played.”
Former Celtic gaffer Martin O’Neill, managing the Celtic XI the boyband favourite was playing for, said: “Agbonlahor smashed into him. Louis is fine.
“He was sitting up afterwards and is perfectly all right.”
It sparked an over-the-top reaction from 1D fans on Twitter.
One, called Ella, posted: “This guy hurt Louis’s knee. I shall hurt your face. I better hear that you apologised or I will find you and I will kill you.”
Another crazed fan wrote: “I will chop you.”
But back at Parkhead, it was all about 34-year-old Petrov and his courageous health battle.
Actor and former Morton footballer Martin Compston arrived home from his cousin’s stag weekend in Ibiza hours before lining up with his heroes on the Celtic XI, including Henrik Larsson.
He said: “They were my heroes growing up. I was starstruck, Henrik was genuinely my all-time hero.
“I came in a bit rough but I ended up feeling better than the boy from One Direction.
“I was chuffed to bits to be involved. I always wanted to be a footballer as a boy and I would never have got to my level if I’d still been playing.
“It will rank as one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Glasvegas lead singer James Allan, who once played for Cowdenbeath, Queen’s Park, Stirling Albion and Dumbarton, was also delighted to play – and nearly scored twice.
He said: “It’s a honour to be asked to be part of the 11 for Stiliyan Petrov, one of the best players to grace the Hoops.”
Nicky from Westlife did manage to hit the net to complete the 5-3 victory for the Stiliyan XI.
Comedian Bishop came on as a substitute for the team, who were managed by Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish and included Jamie Redknapp, John Terry and Chris Kamara.
Bishop had a penalty saved and later tweeted: “Another penalty miss, a terrible header and a shower next to @chris_kammy. Carlsberg don’t make bad days at Celtic but if they did …”
Former Celtic captain Alan Stubbs, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999 while playing at Celtic but returned to the squad after a life-saving operation, was there to watch the game.
He said: “He is a credit not just to himself, but is an inspiration to everyone suffering from an illness, and shows there is light at the end of the tunnel on some occasions.”
Petrov himself put on a fantastic performance, staying on for his side well beyond his intended 19 minutes.
Later, he played the last few minutes for the Celtic XI, who included actors Stephen Graham and Warren Brown as well as Hoops legends Lubo Moravcik, Pierre van Hooijdonk and boss Neil Lennon.
Lennon said: “It was just a wonderful moment.
“He has had a personal battle that he has overcome. He is just a great individual, a great player.
“He’s been really tested in his life and he’s come through it with flying colours.”