Any thoughts we had of making a challenge for the league were
safely binned over the next few weeks as hard fought wins (5:4
having been 4:2 down at Brockville with only 10 men) were followed
up with meekly conceded defeats (home against Hibs and Thistle).
In the search for scapegoats Gordon Marshall made way for Pat
Bonner, a bizarre decision given that Bonner certainly wasn't
performing any better. He was the goalie who let in four at Brockville
besides the fact that for Europe Marshall had to be recalled anyway
thanks to the three foreigners rule (or the eight diddies rule
depending on your point of view).
erratic form was superbly summed up in our UEFA Cup clash with
Cologne. The performance in Cologne must go down as one the poorest
ever by a Celtic team in Europe. In a 2:0 defeat we didn't manage
even one shot at the German 'keeper, and both their goals were
easily avoidable defensive debacles. The worst thing about it
was that Cologne were clearly a side there for the taking.
we proved in the return leg. Midway through the first half of
the return at Celtic Park McStay cracked a left foot volley past
Illgner to raise everyone's hopes. Minutes later Collins attempted
a bold swerving shot from the far edge of the box and Creaney
got the slightest of touches to it, redirecting it into the far
corner. Victory was in sight, although we still had to sweat for
it. With only seven minutes left Collins gathered a throw-in,
and jinked his way into the box. Just as it looked as though he'd
gone too far he poked the ball beyond Illgner, and made the unlikely
prospect of Celtic in the second round a reality.
cheeky pranksters at UEFA didn't much fancy Celtic staying in
the competition too long though, and in the next round we found
ourselves staring down both barrels... with Borussia Dortmund
staring down the other end. It was, of course, typical that we
would save one of our better performances for the away leg. We
hit the bar, McStay and Collins were constantly troubling their
defence, and we were a wee bit unlucky to lose 1:0.
the return leg soon found us out. Creaney gave us the lead, but
we never had full control of the game. Dortmund were good value
for their two second half goals. So we were out of Europe again
- we'd barely made it past Halloween - and our next game was against
as everything at Celtic had been turning sour, everything at Ibrox
had been coming up rosy. Their latest triumph had been to turf
Leeds out of the European cup on an aggregate of 4:2 (They won
both legs 2:1). They couldn't have arrived any more confident.
True to form we lost thanks to a first half Durrant goal, and
that, as far as the league was concerned, was that.