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  • When 10 men won the league

    When 10 men won the league

    By: Joe Sullivan on 21 May, 2012 09:44

  • IT was 33 years ago today, on May 21, 1979 that Celtic triumphed in the ultimate Roy of the Rovers derby scenario when 10 men came from behind to beat Rangers 4-2 on the final day of the season and lift the league championship

    The league had looked beyond the Hoops since Christmas. In March, the Celts were still six places off the pace with no games being played between December 23 and March 3, but they clawed their way back into contention.

    One of the postponed matches was the New Year game against Rangers and, as luck would have it, the clash took place as the final game of the season on a Monday night.

    Rangers only had to draw, Celtic had to win – here is the Celtic View match report on what unfolded.

    “Celtic got the win they required at Parkhead on Monday night against old rivals Rangers to clinch the Premier League title and a place in the European Cup next season.

    “However, the manner of the Celtic win will live in the hearts of all Celtic supporters who witnessed it for the rest of their lives.

    “Trailing from a goal scored by Rangers in virtually their first attack of the match, Celtic were faced with a mountainous task to get the two points they required to win the championship.

    “That goal came very much into the preventable category and the Celtic defence were badly at fault as MacDonald scored from a Cooper pass.

    “Despite almost continuous Celtic pressure, including a magnificent Roy Aitken header which came back off the crossbar, Celtic were unable to grab the equaliser and at half-time still trailed to that single goal.

    “Twelve minutes into the second half the Celtic uphill task reached Everest-type proportions when Johnny Doyle was ordered off following an incident involving Alex MacDonald.

    “Quite undaunted, the 10-men Celts set about their work again and in the 66th minute, Roy Aitken scored the equaliser they so richly deserved from a Davie Provan free-kick.

    “Even more incredibly they took the lead eight minutes later after a Roy Aitken shot was blocked, George McCluskey crashed the rebound into the net.

    “The Celtic joy was short-lived, however, because just two minutes later they failed to clear a corner kick and Bobby Russell equalised with a first-time shot through a ruck of players which went into the net off Peter Latchford’s right-hand post.

    “Incredible though it seems, Celtic stormed back again and Peter McCloy brought off a fantastic save from a Roy Aitken header that looked a certain scorer.

    “Then with only five minutes remaining Celtic raided on the right wing and George McCluskey’s hard cross was touched by keeper McCloy on to the head of Colin Jackson and into the net to give Celtic the lead once again.
    "Not satisfied at that, Celtic attacked again in the last minute and Murdo MacLeod scored with a screaming shot from about 20 yards to complete a night to remember.”

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