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don't look back in anger celtic in the 90s
season 93-94: part 6

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...

Welcome to 1994. If you are a Celtic fan... bad luck - it's going to be a rough ride.

Following on from our complete collapse at the hands of the huns we went for - and got - the double when we managed to lose yet another Glasgow derby, this time at Firhill. George Shaw scored to give the Jags a 1:0 win. Incredibly this defeat only left us 6 points off the top! (although it was two points for a win back then)

Next stop Motherwell, and another defeat. Look, if you think it's getting repetitive reading that phrase in this particular section of the magazine just remember what it was like living through it! Same old script- start well enough, lose a stupid goal, score an even sillier one before losing the winner because half the team are complaining to the ref about a decision.

Our next game, against Aberdeen at Celtic Park, was even too much for the Gods to take. A thick fog descended, obscuring most of the pitch, thereby providing some much needed relief for the crowd. Visibility was so bad that most of the Aberdeen fans in attendance didn't even know they had a goal disallowed for offside. This farce was mercifully abandoned after 30 minutes. It was Celtic's best result of the month.

Before we had a chance to replay the Aberdeen game Macari splashed some cash and swept into the transfer market. The banner headlines of the evening papers read 'Celtic sign Man U Cup hero', and everyone thought - 'Oh hell, not that daft full back.' But it was. Lee Martin, incredibly, is the man who won Alex Ferguson his first trophy as manager at Old Trafford. But few ever rated him. He's the Joe Fillipi of Man U. Celtic paid around 350,000 for him. Where did we get that kind of money? Who knows, but the obvious conclusion was that somebody at the Bank of Scotland had one hell of a sense of humour. Actually Man Utd. wanted half a million and we took them to a tribunal. Alex Ferguson must have been nearly crying with laughter as he left the place.

The replayed Aberdeen game was quite entertaining, but we still didn't win. Paul Byrne scored with a header, a lead which we gamely held on to for all of 30 seconds. Better yet we soon fell behind before the Maestro crashed one in to win us our first point of '94. Hurrah!

The next game saw the debut of goalkeeper Carl Muggleton, a 150,000 signing from Leicester City. He was already an England U-21 international, and (genuinely) considered a great prospect (no, I'm not making this up). He took his bow against Dundee United at Celtic Park and won us a point thanks to a fine save in the last minute to keep the score at 0:0.

Finally we got a break from the humdrum of the league as it was time to bathe in the romance of the cup. Oh the excitement that only a trip to Fir Park can generate. Eh? Didn't we just play them? So much for romance.

In our own inimitable style we were removed from the cup by a Tommy Coyne goal. Of course Coyne had been the last player to score for Celtic in the Scottish Cup; his strike put the mighty Clyde to the sword, before Falkirk ejected us from last year's competition. 10 minutes from the end at Fir Park Coyne nipped in front of Carl Muggleton and scored.

The only bright spot of an otherwise doom-laden weekend was the news that Robert Fleck had ruled out ever playing for Celtic. There is a God; it was just that he had chosen us to be Job for a while.

For real escapism, and a jolly good laugh, you only had to follow the court case featuring Terry Cassidy vs. Celtic FC. Our former CEO was suing Celtic for damages having been sacked. You must remember Terry, our erstwhile Chief Executive with the manners of a Rottweiler and all the charm of a zookeper's welly? He was claiming 143,000 damages for breach of contract after he was dismissed with a year or so left on his contract. The Celtic board decided to defend itself, counter-claiming that Cassidy was guilty of grave industrial misconduct. And if you think that's rich coming from the Celtic board of the time then stick around. There's better to come.

So, who do you call upon to defend the honour of the club when the going gets tough and you know you're in for the verbal equivalent of ten rounds with Chris Eubank? None other than our very own diffident public school milksop Chris White. He spent the whole of the first day of the trial sanctimoniously reciting a litany of Cassidy's misdemeanours. The directors, it was revealed in court, were none too happy when Terry burst into a cosy soiree they were attending with their wives at Hampden as guests of the SFA. Our Chief Exec hadn't been told about this particular social event but decided to go anyway, proceeding to demand a seat for himself and partner. When they asked him to make himself scarce he called White a 'bastard' and called the other, 'A bunch of women'. As if this wasn't bad enough, according to White Cassidy had been insolent to the directors, wasted club money and had given jobs within the club to members of his family, whereas Chris had only committed two of these sins. He was never insolent to anyone on the board.

If you're thinking that this all seems a bit ridiculous in view of the past performance of the directors themselves then you can imagine that Cassidy's brief, Ian Bonomy QC, must have been approaching the prospect of cross-examining Chris with all the relish of Derek Johnstone at a pie eating contest. Under interrogation White was forced to conceded that rather than a club run by a hard-nosed bunch of corporate high flyers, 'Wives played a leading role in the club.'

As his cross examination wore on White was warned by the judge about being evasive and eventually had to admit that he, 'May have misled the court.' It was a truly remarkable case, and a true indication of how strapped for cash the club was. I mean for the sake of a few thousand quid to shut Cassidy up or risk all your dirty washing hung out in public. For a club like Celtic it shouldn't even be a choice.

By the end of the first week of the case, which had featured other star witnesses such as the editor of the Celtic View and the Secretary of the Supporters Association, Bonomy had made it look as if the Walfrid was a cross between a Carry-On film and a Soviet Gulag. Chris must have been wishing he was back in the directors box being pelted with Mars Bars.

On the football front Macari stepped in to the transfer market again, this time with dramatic consequences. One time Aberdeen player Willie Falconer had been playing in England for the past five years. He hadn't been a star, but he'd done well enough with Watford and Middlesborough. Macari paid 350,000 for him. At the press conference to introduce him the boss did the new bhoy a power of good by saying that basically Willie wasn't much cop, but we needed a bigger squad and anyone will do. That's the way Lou, tell it like it is.

In the event Macari needn't have been so pessimistic. While Falconer would never be anyone's favourite player he did his best for us, and he brought down the old board. All by himself. The bank refused to pay his transfer fee, and that signalled the end.

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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
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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
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1993-94 pt 8