The festive period was decisive in Celtic's ever-diminishing challenge
for the league. In the space of a week three vital fixtures had
to be negotiated; away to Aberdeen and home to both Rangers and
Hearts. Six points would see the club back up, five was acceptable,
anything less would surely see the end of another league challenge.
Aberdeen Celtic found themselves two goals behind after 15 minutes.
Thanks to a combination of poor finishing by the home team and
some good fortune the margin was still the same but the omens
were looking grim. Yet again Brady managed to lift the team; they
proceeded to dominate the second half and 10 minutes in won a
corner. The ball swung in but no one could get a head on it. Thinking
his chance had gone, even though the ball was still loose in the
box, Mowbray turned to run back to the halfway line. As he reached
the edge of the Aberdeen box the ball landed at his left foot.
In one swift turn he cracked it straight in to the roof of the
net. The game was once more in the balance. With Aberdeen defending
desperately, O'Neil made progress down the right hand side. His
cross was met perfectly by Cascarino and we were level. Pandemonium
in the Beach End.
pressed for a third, but Aberdeen regrouped and the game finished
level. In spite of the poor first half hopes were high that if
the team could perform as well as they had in the second half
at Pittodrie they could beat Rangers. However, once again Lady
Luck was not on Celtic's side. In fact she was wearing a blue
McEwan's Lager top, sporting knuckle dusters, and was accompanied
by an ill-tempered Rotweiller as far as Celtic were concerned.
first half of the Ne'erday game at Parkhead was certainly not
short on incident. Celtic weren't playing with the verve they
had shown against Aberdeen and were struggling to hold Rangers.
In fact the home team could have been a man down and facing a
penalty if the ref had spotted McNally's hand ball on the line
to prevent McCoist scoring. But with only five minutes to go until
half time it looked as though the teams might go in level. Then
the roof fell in.
alone knows what Peter Grant was trying in the middle of the park.
He had time when he first gathered the ball, but he dithered and
stuttered before trying to turn away from his man, merely succeeding
in running straight into another and gifting Rangers possession
The ball was moved up the right, crossed to McCoist and Rangers
were in front.
second half started far more promisingly. McStay had been the
one Celt who had given his opponents trouble. He seemed to shift
up a gear as the ball got closer to the Rangers goal. A corner
was won and Mowbray threw himself to the near post to head the
equaliser. The tide turned. The Maestro began to force Rangers
further and further back. And then the re-roofed roof fell in
received a kick to the face (no free kick, no booking - it was
only the Celtic captain who had been kicked in the face) and had
to leave the field to get the cut seen to. Temporarily up against
10 men, and not faced with their biggest threat Rangers reestablished
control. They didn't score during the 10 minutes McStay was off
(the ref refused to let him back on after about 5 minutes, feeling
that the repair job wasn't good enough), but soon after he came
back Rangers were awarded a soft penalty. Marshall and McCoist
both went for the ball, McCoist appeared to step on a land mine
and Rangers had a spot kick which Hateley scored. To round off
a thoroughly lousy day, in the last minute Brown scored with a
speculative drive from outside the box. Welcome to 1992.