Talking Celtic with Scott Alcroft – My top three victories against them
Now, before we get into this Old Firm or Glasgow Derby debate here, I’ve been asked by ACSOM to pick my top three matches against whichever form of R*ngers in my time (hence the title), so here goes…
As ever, I’ll start in reverse order for excitement. This is gonna be a tough one folks as there’s so many that are springing to mind but I’ll do my best. The ‘10 men that won the league’ game will probably be number one for a lot of our older readers, but I was only one then so I’m not going to claim that I was up with my Da’ draped in my hoops watching it, as that certainly wasn’t the case. So, here’s my top three:
3. Celtic 3 R*ngers 0
29 April 2012 – The last ever Old Firm game
For me, this game had to be in my top three as it had everything. We all knew what was coming for them and they knew it too. All that hurt that we went through in the 1990s was sort of worth it in the end, as the end was most definitely nigh for our fiercest rivals. “I Just Can’t Get Enough” ringing out from the stands and the “Jelly and Ice Cream” song were blasted out constantly around Celtic Park. “Doing the Huddle when R*angers die” as well, which was a personal favourite of mine that day too. The place was absolutely rocking!
The three goals were sublime. A Commons corner with Chico Mulgrew running in at the back post completely unmarked for a cracking diving header, which got us off to a stormer. A Hooper pass for Commons to get in between two defenders and beautifully chip McGregor for the second. Then we saved the best to last. R*ngers mucked about in the middle of the park and Commons stole the ball. It broke to big gorgeous Samaras and he fed an inch-perfect pass through to Gary Hooper who lashed the ball into the top right-hand corner. Job done. What an atmosphere and what a game!
2. Celtic 2 R*ngers 0
17 March 1991 – St Patrick’s Day Massacre
Now, as I briefly touched on in the earlier game, the 1990s weren’t much fun being a Celtic fan, as we watched our rivals run amok with us. It wasn’t nice as a teenage bhoy growing up knowing that our rivals were just far too good for us and now we all know why.
This game, though, stood out a mile for me, as it had absolutely everything that an Old Firm game was all about back in the day. Goals, an unbelievable poisonous atmosphere, and red cards galore. Gerry Creaney got us off to a flyer. A long free-kick from Polish Shuggy was flicked on just outside the box by Tommy Coyne, and Creaney ran on to it and tucked it away past Woods. Wdowczyk then turned from provider to goalscorer. The Polishman struck a 35-yard thunderbolt free-kick which took a deflection off Terry Hurlock and looped over Chris Woods for our second of the game.
The game then took a turn for the worse (or so it looked) for us. Peter Grant got sent off and we were down to 10 men. The comeback looked well and truly on but then R*ngers completely lost the plot, thankfully. As “Happy Birthday St Patrick” rang out from the terraces, and with the scoreline not changing from 2-0, it was all too much for the boys in blue.
Potentially the biggest thug I’ve ever seen in my time (Terry Hurlock) was ordered off for an off-the-ball incident with Tommy Coyne. The red cards didn’t end there. Mark Walters was the next to go. He lost the ball and had probably three red card tackles on Tommy Coyne in the space of five seconds before eventually seeing red too. Mark Hateley was the next to go. The big Englishman completely lost his head and an off-the-ball incident resulted in him getting an early bath too.
The game itself wasn’t a classic but with all the drama, for me, it’s what an Old Firm game back in the day was all about. St Patrick enjoyed his birthday that day, too.
1. Celtic 6 Rangers 2
27 August 2000 – The Martin O’Neill era begins…
This game is the best derby game I’ve seen in my time involving any form of the club from Govan. Martin O’Neill had just taken over and the expectation around the place was huge. Chris Sutton was making his Old Firm debut and the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Little did we know, though, about what was to unfold and, in my opinion, we witnessed the best Old Firm goal of all time. I’m not even going to mention their goals, as this day was all about the Bhoys and a new era.
Celtic in those days at Celtic Park, especially in European matches, would always set off at a ferocious tempo in the first 10 minutes of games. We would even pin teams like Juventus and AC Milan in and batter their goals. The same happened against our fiercest rivals, but little did we know that we’d score so early and who else would it be but their biggest wind-up merchant these days, Mr Chris Sutton.
Another player making his Old Firm debut that day was Bobby Petta and he absolutely tormented Fernando Ricksen. He tormented him so badly that Dick Advocaat actually subbed the Dutchman in the first-half as he was getting torn to shreds.
Two minutes in and we were off the mark. A Lubo corner came in and confusion reigned in the R*ngers box. The ball broke to an unmarked Sutton at the back post and the big Englishman slotted it home.
The second goal was another sublime corner by Lubo, and Stan Petrov broke free from his marker to score a cracking diving header.
The third was a thunderbolt strike from Lambert at the edge of the area. Again set up by ‘The Gift from God’, our Lubo.
The fourth goal, for me, was totally world class from the King Of Kings. A Sutton knock-down, two defenders surrounded Henrik and he stuck the ball through one defender’s legs and then had the audacity to dink/lob it over Stefan Klos. He then ran towards the fans with his distinctive tongue celebration and the rest is history. Sensationa goal.
The fifth was a Petta free-kick dinked into the box and Larsson rose like a salmon to head the ball past a despairing Klos.
The sixth was a great ball in from Mahe and big Sutton was there to guide the ball home.
Those are my top three derbies against them. What’s yours? Let myself or the guys and girls at ACSOM know.