Declan McConville with A Celtic State of Mind – The flying of the nine

With Celtic kicking off their 2020/21 season last Sunday with a scintillating 5-1 victory over Hamilton Academical, it is time to take a look back at the previous opening day encounters during the winning run of 9-in-a-row…

Sunday 24 July 2011

Hibernian 0-2 Celtic

After missing out on the league championship the previous season, Neil Lennon’s side travelled to the capital to take on Hibs. Anthony Stokes opened Celtic’s account for the season when he pounced upon a goalkeeping calamity made by the Hibees’ keeper Graham Stack to fire the Hoops in front. The lead was then doubled just after the hour mark when Ki Sung-yueng fired the ball home from around 25 yards, which was similar in many ways to his previous competitive goal for Celtic in the Scottish Cup final.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen

It had been four years since Celtic Park had hosted a Flag Day. It was a double celebration as this marked the beginning of a very special season for the club, who would celebrate 125 years of unbroken history. There have been many special people who have passed through Parkhead’s gates during that time but it was all the more fitting that one of its finest sons – Sean Fallon – was chosen as the honorary guest to raise the flag.

In football terms, it was a very frustrating afternoon at Celtic Park as Aberdeen limited the Scottish champions’ chances during the game. It looked as though it was going to end in a stalemate until Jamie Langfield made a horrendous mistake to allow Kris Commons’ shot to beat the Dons keeper at his near post.

Saturday 3 August 2013

Celtic 2-1 Ross County

A warm ovation was given to honorary Celtic Chairman John Keane as he raised the league flag. John played a major role in preserving the club’s history in the 1990s and without his support, occasions such as this might not have been happening.

The visitors shocked Celtic Park with an early goal from young Darren Maatsen who unleashed a fierce drive past Fraser Forster. Celtic then began to grow into the game and eventually got the equalizer which they had been craving when Anthony Stokes tucked the ball home from a yard after it had come back off the post from Mikael Lustig’s shot. It was total domination from there on in with it becoming increasingly frustrating to beat former Celtic keeper Mark Brown, who had a magnificent game in goal for the Staggies. With three minutes to go, Stokes once again managed to find the net after some lovely footwork in the box to rifle the ball home.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

St Johnstone 0-3 Celtic

Due to the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow, the league season started later than usual with a Wednesday evening trip away to Perth in Ronny Deila’s first league game in charge of Celtic.

After a goalless first-half, Anthony Stokes once again opened the champions’ account for the season. The away side were then given the opportunity to double their lead when referee John Beaton pointed to the spot and sent off Saints’ Dave Mackay. Nir Bitton converted the penalty before Callum McGregor sealed Deila’s his first three points for Celtic.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Celtic 2-0 Ross County

Lisbon Lion John Clark was met with a great reception as he unfurled the league flag. His contribution to the club in many different roles has been spectacular. There is no doubt that John is one of the club’s greatest ever servants and it was right that he was honoured in this way.

Wedged in between two crucial Champions League qualifiers, it was by no means a vintage Celtic performance on this opening day. Leigh Griffiths gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Andrew Davies. The Celts’ keeper Craig Gordon appeared to get away with one after he fouled Jackson Irvine just outside his box. The Scottish internationalist was shown yellow and County were awarded a free-kick. There was a sigh of relief around the stadium ten minutes after the incident when Stefan Johansen doubled the defending champions’ advantage.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Hearts 1-2 Celtic

There was much anger around the Celtic support that we had to play our first fixture of the season away from home which meant that the league flag was unveiled on the evening of a Champions League qualifier. Brendan Rodgers’ side left it late to take all three points as new signing Scott Sinclair came off the bench to score the winner.

Listen to STEVIE CHALMERS with A Celtic State of Mind here:

Saturday 5 August 2017

Celtic 4-1 Hearts

In what would be his testimonial season, the Celtic Captain Scott Brown unfurled the flag. During that season, Brown would go on to win a number of player of the year awards for his magnificent contribution to a side that would win a Double Treble.

The slickness of the side that had gone the previous season unbeaten continued their domestic superiority as they thumped Hearts. A single Griffiths goal was all that separated the two sides before the break, however, Celtic would build on that advantage in the second half. Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor chipped in with goals, as did Griff, who got his second when he headed the ball past Hamilton to finish off a terrific move from the home side.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Celtic 3-1 Livingston

Danny McGrain made over 600 appearances during his time at Celtic. He is a much loved figure at Celtic Park and was given a brilliant welcome from the home support as he raised the flag.

Celtic entertained the newly-promoted Livingston in their first game of the season. The Celts took the lead after a fantastic header from Tom Rogic. Following this, Odsonne Edouard grabbed a goal after a scuffed shot from Olivier Ntcham. The French midfielder did eventually manage to get on the scoresheet when he slotted away a spot-kick five minutes after the interval to complete a good day at the office.

Saturday 3 August 2019

Celtic 7-0 St Johnstone

In the previous season, the club had mourned the passing of Billy McNeill and Stevie Chalmers. Both men gave so much to Celtic during their lives, meaning that it was only fitting that their widows Liz McNeill and Sadie Chalmers would be welcomed on to the park to begin the season in pursuit of 9-in-a-row.

It was an emphatic performance from Neil Lennon’s side as they completely blew away St Johnstone. Ryan Christie continued his excellent start to the season scoring a terrific hat-trick.

Michael Johnston, Olivier Ntcham, Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths also got on the scoresheet as a statement of intent was laid down by the reigning champions in pursuit of equalling their 9-in-a-row record.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Celtic 5 Hamilton 1

Former club captain, Jackie McNamara raised the ninth flag, as Celtic opened their latest defence of the league championship in the unnatural setting of an empty stadium. The long-term effects of the coronavirus are currently unknown but we have already witnessed the postponement of Aberdeen’s fixture with St Johnstone as a result of positive testing within the Pittodrie ranks.

Celtic are looking to break further records this season and a trouncing of Brian Rice’s Accies side was an encouraging way to open their ten-in-a-row tilt.

Declan McConville

Match-day live-stream with A CELTIC STATE OF MIND:

A Celtic State of Mind will be live from the studio at 4pm to cover the Kilmarnock game until 6:45pm.

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