modicum of pride was restored a week later when a Tommy Coyne
goal scored in the last minute was enough to beat a good Aberdeen
team 1:0. It had been Celtic's best performance for months as
well as a thoroughly deserved victory. The Dons were soon to miss
out on the league title by one point to Rangers. Yes, in those
days even when we won we lost!
following week's fixture had a sense of deja vu about it.
Scottish Cup 3rd round and there we were in Forfar, up to our
armpits in bridies muttering, "Haven't we been here before??"
It wasn't the only similarity we would encounter on this cup run.
Forfar didn't cause any problems this time round and an easy 2:0
victory was recorded. The main talking point after the game was
the Forfar fans' (or should that be "fan's"?) constant
chanting of Terry Hurlock's name. Rather than admitting to being
Huns without the bus fares the locals would doubtless claim that
they were just winding us up. Aye right!
were the opponents in the fourth round (a young Paul Lambert featured
on the bench). The tie was moved to a midweek slot to accommodate
TV - a rare event in Scotland at the time - and first half goals
from Coyne, Miller and an o.g. from McWhirter were enough to see
Celtic through safely to the last eight.
the quarter final draw, and more deja vu. Rangers, at Celtic
Park, with the tie due to be played on St. Patrick's Day no less.
The build up to this one was naturally very subdued with no one
being too bothered about who was going to win... Oh all right.
Everyone was going mental!
only was our season on the line again, but Rangers were going
for the treble. Celtic were due to play them twice in two weeks
and recent form suggested that the Hoops were in for a hefty beating
- in some cases quite literally. The more superstitious among
us were dismayed to find out that Celtic's lucky mascot in the
Scottish Cup, Chris Morris, was injured. He'd never lost a game
in this competition in regulation play. The more football minded
among us were dismayed because this meant that mark McNally might
be involved. In the event the more experienced Grant was picked
game itself started in an unusually quiet manner, both teams dispensing
with the traditional early practice of blootering the ball - or
the nearest opponent - as far as possible in the direction one
happened to be facing at the time. Then, six minutes in, Celtic
took the lead when Wdowczyck lofted a free kick to the far side
of the Rangers penalty area. Gough was odds-on favourite to get
it but his former Dundee United team mate Coyne got the vital
nod. The ball broke to Gerry Creaney who managed to blast a shot
past Woods and into the corner of the net. It was one of the best
goals he ever scored for Celtic and truly typical of the player.
Give him an impossible angle and an awkward bouncing ball and
he'd fire it in almost every time; give him a one-on-one with
the 'keeper and he'd fall on his arse.
were not impressed by this unexpected turn of events and came
roaring back. Bonner had to come for several dangerous crosses
and Trevor Steven saw a header float just wide. Then Celtic got
another boost. Steven, the man Rangers looked to in midfield,
caught his studs in the turf while making a tackle on Joe Miller.
It ruptured his knee and, truth be told, he was never the same
player again. His loss took the creative thrust from Rangers and
Celtic, with McStay in top form, took control of this crucial
the first half drew to a close Celtic were awarded a foul after
Hurlock (again) had grounded Creaney. The kick was dead centre
of the pitch but a good 35 yards from the goal. It seemed obvious
that Wdowczyck would float it into the box just as he had earlier
in the game. Not a bit of it. The distance he took for his run
up would have done justice to a fully laden Jumbo jet on the runway
at Glasgow Airport. Starting from just outside the centre circle
he raced up a leathered the ball with everything he could muster.
Instinctively, Hurlock put out a leg which succeeded in sending
it in a majestic arc over Woods and into the net. Celtic Park
went into full-on berserk mode. Poetic justice had been meeted
out to a player who should never have been allowed out onto the
same pitch as the likes of McStay and Collins. As the half-time
whistle blew we could scarcely believe what was happening.
second half started with Rangers playing in predictably determined
fashion (wouldn't you be determined if you had to pick bits of
tea cup out of your head following a Souness rant?) and after
a torrid eight minutes Johnston was put through on goal only to
be hauled back by Grant. Referee Andrew Waddel, not a renowned
Celtic sympathiser, duly awarded the free kick but let Grant off
with a yellow card, judging that Elliott was the last man rather
than Pointy Pete. It looked like being a vital break until Grant
lined up in the defensive wall for the resultant set piece before
charging at the ball like someone rehearsing for Pamplona. It
was another bookable offence and he was promptly dismissed. Calamity.
squandered a number of chances in the following ten minutes, most
notably a sclaff by Huistra from ten yards out, before Celtic
steadied and regained a foothold in midfield. Then the real fun
started. Tommy Coyne, dropping back to help his beleaguered team
mates, clipped Hurlock, who clearly didn't subscribe to the old
adage that if you dish it out you should be prepared to take it.
He lashed out at Coyne with his elbow and got a straight red for
violent conduct. Incredibly, he hadn't even been booked until
which point the roof fell in on Rangers and their players seemed
to lose whatever sense of self-discipline they had. Coyne was
involved in the next incident as well. He tackled Walters and
won the ball. The Rangers winger, who had been well shackled by
an unusually sure-footed Anton Rogan, had two good attempts at
removing der Bomber's kneecaps before finally settling for a well
placed elbow in the teeth. Walters had been booked for yet another
foul on Coyne in the first half, but there was to be no second
yellow. Once again it was a straight red.
to go was Hateley, at that time almost as much of a hate figure
among the Rangers supporters as he was with us. He got himself
involved in a handbags sketch with Rogan. Both were shown yellow
cards but as it was Hateley's second he too took the long walk
towards what was becoming a busy Rangers early bath tub.
their opponents reduced to eight players Celtic threatened to
run riot but unfortunately Creaney was unable to convert two great
chances; a header from six yards or a one-on-one with Woods. It
would have been a memorable hat-trick.
spirits weren't dampened in the slightest. a famous victory had
been achieved, one that we imagined would surely give Celtic the
heart to march on and claim the Scottish Cup for the third time
in four years. As if to emphasise the turning of the corner the
Hoops won the Old Firm game a week later, this time by the even
more convincing margin of 3:0, Rangers again having a player sent
off. It was the last time Celtic faced a Rangers team managed
by Graeme Souness, or as one of his players affectionately called
him, The Beast (copyright Jan Bartram 1988). He walked out on
them shortly afterwards to take charge of Liverpool after Kenny
Dalglish decided he'd had enough.