Sunday, 27 August 2000 is a day that lives long in the memory of every Celtic fan around the world.
It was Martin O’Neill’s first Old Firm game and, according to the ‘pundits’, Rangers were favourites to win. Celtic had spent big for the first time in years with Chris Sutton arriving from Chelsea for £6 million, and Belgian Joos Valgaeren coming in to shore up the centre of defence. Rangers, too, had spent money; money that they didn’t have but they still spent it, bringing in a trio of Dutchmen in Bert Konterman, Fernando Ricksen and Ronald De Boer for a combined total of £12 million.
The stage was set and the game started brightly for the Hoops with three goals in an incredible 11-minute spell. First Sutton, then Petrov and, shortly after, Lambert drilled home… it looked for a spell as though Celtic would eclipse the 7-1 scoreline from the 1957 League Cup final. Claudio Reyna pulled one back for Rangers before half-time and then, five minutes into the second-half, came the goal that will never be forgotten.
Jonathan Gould caught a cross from Giovanni van Bronckhorst before launching a ball long. New boy Chris Sutton brought the ball down, shielded it from Lorenzo Amoruso before Henrik Larsson picked it up… he nutmegged Konterman and, as cool as you like, chipped Stefan Klos from just outside the 18-yard box. The imagery of Klos turning around to see the ball hitting the back of the net is absolutely iconic.
“Henrik Larssooooonnnnnn… That is sensational!
He missed all four Old Firm games last season but he rather enjoys making up for lost time…
Ian Crocker (27 August 2000)
For me, this is the moment that will always be associated with the name ‘Henrik Larsson’ and will always be his best moment in a Celtic jersey.
Random trivia fact: David Marshall is one of the ball-boys behind the goal where Larsson chipped Stefan Klos.
Colin WattListen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast