35 years ago today: TEN MEN WON THE LEAGUE (tra-la-la-la-la)!

The greatest title decider in Scottish football history . . . it was Celtic’s last game of the season, at home to Rangers.  Billy McNeill’s cavaliers were three points ahead in the Championship race but John Greig’s roundheads had two games in hand.  A win was needed to fly the flag.

A goal behind in the second half, Celtic thought all was lost when the team was reduced to ten men after Johnny Doyle was sent off after having retaliated to Alex MacDonald’s all-round ugliness.  Bobby Lennox, 12 years on from Lisbon, came on as a sub for defender Mike Conroy – and Celtic went for it.  Roy Aitken equalised in the 67th minute; George McCluskey put Celtic ahead – at last! – with only 15 minutes to go.

Then disaster struck.  Bobby Russell equalised for Rangers.  Celtic’s ten men were defeated and all was lost.  Eh . . .  not quite.  This is Celtic after all.  In the 83rd minute a George McCluskey cross was turned in by defender Jackson for an own-goal.  The old Celtic Park erupted.  And then,  in the very last minute, Murdo MacLeod burst through midfield and “fired in a stupendous drive from twenty yards that left McCloy helpless.  Seconds later, the whistle went, unheard amidst scenes unmatched since the European Cup glory of a decade previously.”  (The Glory & The Dream:  Tom Campbell & Pat Woods)

The famous victory is commemorated in this great t-shirt:  http://maristic.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/class-of-79/

Of course, no footage of one of the greatest nights in Scottish football exists, due to a TV engineers strike.  Except for these very grainy shots, taken from The Jungle, of the fightback to end all fightbacks:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpI5_cZZgsA&feature=youtu.be

One thought

  1. The greatest game I had attended and that accolade still stands. I had never witnessed so many men with tears streaming down their faces as their emotions were dragged through the ringer and back. First joy, then heartache and finally joy as the ‘jungle’ erupted round about me. MAGIC 🍀🍀🍀🍀

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