If you have a sofa - hide behind it now, because here comes
season 93-94. The year of bucket seats in the Jungle, Lou Macari
and, of course, Wayne 'Bertie' Biggins. And if those three haven't
got you reaching for the pills then read on...
Park Kirkcaldy was the glamourous venue for our next fixture,
a 4:1 win over the mighty Rovers of Raith, Nicholas and Payton
both netting twice. But the win against Raith was a blip in what
was a constant downward slide.
this result Celtic - incredibly - kept a clean sheet in Switzerland
against the bizarrely named Young Boys of Berne, but domestically
we were about to fall to a new low.
League Cup win over Airdrie had been rewarded with a semi final
clash against Rangers. The only small problem was that Hampden
was in the midst of a face-lift, so the venue would be either
Ibrox, or Celtic Park. But how to pick the venue? Of course in
this brave new world of advanced technology it was the toss of
a coin that was chosen. For this momentous event the two assistant
managers were called together. Prior to the man from the League
office throwing the coin in the air he asked who would nominate.
Archie Knox graciously let Joe Jordan have the shout, and he guessed
correctly. 'Celtic Park!' shouted Joe. But wait. Apparently this
had only been a contest to see who would nominate for the actual
throw!?! I promise I'm not making this up. Again the coin was
tossed, and Joe shouted again, but this time his luck ran out,
and Ibrox was the venue (thanks to a trick that no schoolboy in
the land would let you away with; best of three maybe, but a throw
to decide who gets to shout? Never heard of it before or since).
prelude to this game was a 1:1 draw with Dundee United. The usual
adjectives apply; horrible, dire etc. Basically if you weren't
watching Celtic that year, think yourself lucky. If you were,
have another stiff drink, you deserve it.
night of the semi optimism was high, but for absolutely no good
reason. The game was a tight, hard fought contest, with both sides
creating very little. It says a lot about Rangers (who remember
were in the midst of their 'glory' period) that we were able to
compete so closely with what was the worst Celtic team for decades.
Just after half time the game appeared to turn in our favour.
Celtic had the ball and were beginning to make progress toward
their goal. The Rangers Dutch winger Huistra lashed out at Boyd,
with very little provocation it must be said, and was sent off.
What an opportunity we now had - we had the momentum and they
were a man down. Just the time for a moment of breathtaking, nightmare-
inducing ineptitude in the defence.
of the curious features of the game had been the behaviour of
central defenders, Gough and MacPherson. Every time they intercepted
a through ball, rather than even attempt a pass out of defence,
they simply blootered the ball into the stand. The Celtic fans
had been enjoying this, given that it simply reinforced the notion
that this Rangers team was a poor football side. However, the
value of this tactic was about to become apparent. The ball was
played down Rangers right wing, but Mike Galloway had read the
situation well and was covering. Having reached the ball with
bags of time he assessed his options. Meanwhile, Ian Durrant threw
the remains of his latest kebab to the ground and went to close
Galloway down. 'No problem' thought Galloway as he casually threw
Durrant a dummy and...oh, Durrant now has the ball, having received
the telegraph informing him of Galloway's dummy some weeks ago.
One square pass to Hately later and we were a goal down. Unbelievable.
Well actually that's not even true. It was believable, all too
response to this setback was to send on a midfielder for a forward.
Even Walter Smith looked confused. Nadir.
next game provided no sort of 'pick me up' given that it was a
gutless 1:0 defeat at Tynecastle. There was a respite of sorts,
in the unlikely form of a European win. Having clawed and scratched
ourselves a 0:0 in the away leg, we proceeded to do the same in
the home tie. The evening was briefly enlivened by the news that
Rangers had crashed out of the European Cup to Dynamo Bucharest
thanks to a last minute, long-range shot. In fact Parkhead announcer
Tiger Tim called for a minute's silence to mark to event. For
his troubles (and sense of humour) he was fired by the board there
and then. Extra time was a test of endurance, but at last something
gave. A cross into the box was diverted past the Young Boys goalie
by one of his own defenders, and we were through. You could say
it was undeserved, but then again they were as bad as we were,
and that was very, very bad.
next home game was a 0:0 horror show against Killie (then managed
by our former flame haired maestro Tommy Burns), after which it
was on to McDairmid Park for a midweek game against St. Johnstone,
and yet another defeat, 2:1 this time, although we did manage
to score a goal. A Celtic player even scored it! Hooray.
game proved to be the last straw for Liam Brady (he must have
gone through more than a few bales of hay given the way we had
played for the past 15 months). On the coach back to Glasgow he
asked our dynamic chairman Kevin Kelly for a quick word. Liam
Brady was history.