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don't look back in anger celtic in the 90s
season 91-92: part 3

Celtic's next league fixture was the opening Old Firm game of the season, and once again the unmistakable whiff of controversy was in the air.

After a passage of fairly even play, Tommy Coyne was played in one on one with new Rangers 'keeper Goram. Coyne had been scoring freely at the start of the season, and Goram had taken time to settle in. It looked a better than even chance to take the lead. Just as he was about to progress into the box Coyne was crudely fouled by Rangers' left winger Huistra.Clearly the last man, it looked a simple, straightforward red card. But the referee, Jim McCluskey, seemed to be taking an awfully long time to show it. When a card did appear, to no one's great surprise, it was yellow, and of course Huistra had been careful enough to commit his foul outside the box, so all Celtic got was a free kick.

Typically, Rangers took full advantage of this blatant piece of cheating... sorry...odd refereeing decision, and soon had the lead. Hately outpaced Gillespie - not the hardest task in the league that year it has to be said - and rounded Bonner. The second half could have developed in to a rout had Rangers' finishing not been so poor. Celtic seemed to lose all heart after the Coyne incident, and it was no surprise when Hately again scored, this time with a low drive that somehow slipped under the diving Pat Bonner.

All the post-match comments centred on referee McCluskey and his "unusual" interpretation of the last man rule. But all this was so much hot air, and the SFA did nothing to punish an official who had clearly ignored the rules of the game. Again this was no surprise. The SFA only seem to take action against refs who give 50/50 decisions to Celtic (Kevin O'Donnell, suspended 1987), or refs who have the bare faced cheek to play injury time while Rangers are 1:0 up only for them to score an o.g. thereby levelling the game (Louis Thow 1988). Oh well...

Celtic's involvement in the 1991 league cup was very brief. Having disposed of Morton 4:2 at Cappielow the Hoops were drawn to play Airdrie at Broomfield. A more boring waste of an evening could not really be imagined. 120 minutes of the worst football ever played in Airdrie, and as you can imagine, the competition for that accolade is pretty fierce. Just to round the evening off in fine style, Celtic lost the penalty shoot-out. At the after match press conference Brady told reporters that it was quite acceptable to go out of a cup away from home to another Premier League side. As he was spouting this line one hack turned to another to say "Someone should tell him that Celtic just don't lose games like this".

The next couple of fixtures provided no relief for the beleaguered Celts; a stupendously bad 0:0 draw with St. Mirren was followed by a single goal defeat at Perth during which Gary Gillespie was red carded. However, league form steadied somewhat on the back of a 2:0 win in the UEFA Cup against Germinal Ekeren, with Charlie Nicholas scoring twice. Airdrie were then beaten 3:1 at Celtic Park - Mike Galloway scoring with a finely controlled volley - and a point was taken from Easter Road against an unusually strong Hibs. A sign of the times was the jubilation with which the Celtic View celebrated the Hibs result.

Progress in Europe was secured thanks to an unusually competent away performance, Mike Galloway scoring a spectacular goal in a decent 1:1 draw in Belguim.

October started well with a memorable 3:1 victory over Hearts. Celtic took an early lead with, of all things, a well worked set piece - Mark McNally unexpectedly appearing at the front post to head in a driven corner. True to form the lead was defended for all of 5 minutes before Robertson robbed Whyte in the box and lobbed Bonner. However, fortune seemed to favour us when we were awarded a penalty right on half-time. Charlie Nicholas slotted the ball into the top corner. Hearts came back stongly in the second half and Celtic were hanging on somewhat when, enter stage left the vast bulk of substitute Tony Cascarino. He was only on the pitch for a few minutes but he certainly left his mark. Almost as soon as he came on Celtic broke down the left. Coyne had the ball, and was in good position for a shot, but he elected to pass to the unmarked Cascarino in the centre. As the ball arrived at his feet he had an empty net to shoot into, Hearts' keeper Smith having advanced to close down Coyne. Incredibly, Cascarino mishit his shot back across the goal. It only just squeezed under the goalie who had desperately dived in an attempt to cover his goal. Worse still, the shot appeared to be going wide until the spin took the ball just inside the post.

Celtic Park went nuts. One of the most risible goals ever scored, from one of the most risible players. But that was nothing compared with what followed. Hearts immediately came back and gained a free kick by the touchline about 20 yards from goal. As the players lined up for the cross, Cascarino suddenly turned round and for no apparent reason punched Craig Levein straight in the mouth. Fair's fair, it was a fine punch, but he did seem a bit short on motive. Levein hadn't even pushed him (in an after match interview Cascarino admitted he didn't know why he did it, Levein hadn't touched him). He was off, and Hearts now had a penalty. Fortunately Bonner did the necessary, making a fine save from Robertson to secure the victory.

Another welcome three points were collected in midweek at Fir Park, Coyne and Nicholas scoring either side of half time. With 15 minutes left Charlie made way for the one and only appearance of Dziekanowski under the stewardship of Liam Brady. Having failed to live up to his early form, Jacki seemed content to drink huge amounts of vodka, hang around certain well known nite spots, and attempt to sleep with as many blondes as was humanly possible. Which is a nice way to live if you can do it, but wasnĠt really what we bought him for. There was much rejoicing prior to the next game when McStay returned from the injury he picked pre-season. His first game back was against Dundee United at Celtic Park, and we certainly got a taste of what weĠd been missing. Regardless of what might be said about McStay in the later stages of his career, at his peak he was simply untouchable. There are a limited number of players who can take three opponents out of the game by not playing the ball, which is exactly what McStay did in this game, exectuting a perfect step over to allow the ball to run on to Coyne while the United defence desperately tried to re-organise. The game finished 4:1 with the pick of the goals being the final effort, the archetypal Mike Galloway strike; from fully 30 yards he nearly uprooted the goal as the ball tore into the net. Just when it looked as though we could avoid our traditional October collapse, disaster struck. Brockville was to have been the scene of a boycott. Plans to re-structure the Premier League, reducing the number of games played, had been scuppered by Falkirk, and some people were staying away on principle. In the end it didnĠt make much difference to the crowd, but it certainly looked as though some of the Celtic team were boycotting the game. It started off in fairly quiet fashion, nothing too dramatic happening, and we took the lead in 15 minutes when Collins scrambled one in. Then Galloway picked up an injury, and to replace him Brady put on...Cascarino. Never convincing as a centre forward, Cascarino plumbed new depths as a centre half, although it must be pointed out that he was aided and abetted by his international team mate Bonner for at least two of the goals. We were 3-1 down by half time. Remember we took the lead and weĠre playing Falkirk! In the second half McStay and Collins tried to get us back in to the game. McStay scored twice, the first a fantastic swinging shot caught on the full from a headed clearance out of the Falkirk box. But defensive chaos saw us concede again, and we lost. Our next game was so bad that it is still referred to today. In theory our European tie against Neuchatel Xamax of Switzerland was definitely winnable. In reality we were miles apart. Their Egyptian forward, Hassan, had a field day scoring 4 in a 5:1 humiliation. The manager finally decided that drastic action was required.

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1989-90
1990-91 pt 1
1990-91 pt 2
1990-91 pt 3
1990-91 pt 4
1991-92 pt 1
1991-92 pt 2
1991-92 pt 3
1991-92 pt 4
1991-92 pt 5
1991-92 pt 6
1992-93 pt 1
1992-93 pt 2
1992-93 pt 3
1993-94 pt 1
1993-94 pt 2
1993-94 pt 3
1993-94 pt 4
1993-94 pt 5
1993-94 pt 6
1993-94 pt 7
1993-94 pt 8