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  • Celtic View feature: Story of the 1978/79 winter shutdown: Part 2

    Celtic View feature: Story of the 1978/79 winter shutdown: Part 2

    By: Joe Sullivan on 12 Jan, 2019 19:01

  • This article was originally published in the Celtic View on January 9, 2018 (on sale now). For more quality articles, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes team news, you can subscribe here.

    We continue our story of the winter shutdown of the 1978/79 season, which eventually culminated in the night that 10 men won the league!

    THE first Saturday of the freeze that saw some action was on January 20 and saw the inactive Hoops drop to seventh place as St Mirren also moved up and Rangers moved to within a point of United at the top.

    The following two Saturdays saw no action, but by February 10, Rangers had moved a point ahead of United at the top while Celtic still lay inactive in seventh – two games off the pace.

    The next weekend had St Mirren level on points with Rangers while the Hoops had played three games fewer than some teams and by February 24, St Mirren were top with 25 points having played four games more than the, by now, eighth place Celts.

    By the end of the month, Celtic had still only played 18 games while every other team was in the 20s

    It was on March 3, 1979 that Celtic final saw some action but even that was convoluted as the first game back should have been the recently -postponed game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    However, Grampian Police wouldn’t agree to the date and, in a paradoxical twist, Celtic’s first game to beat the backlog was a home game against the Dons bought back from April 21!

    In another twist to the tale, Aberdeen should have been due to pay Rangers at Ibrox that day as, since Grampian Police vetoed Celtic travelling there, the Ibrox tie was the next in line and the Dons who were vying for top place, fancied their chances there and that was the game they wanted on.

    However, for whatever reason in this busy schedule, Rangers were allowed a free weekend before a European match and Aberdeen visited the East End of Glasgow instead.

    I know, you couldn’t make it up, and on March 3, Alfie Conn scored the winner in Celtic’s first game since December 23 (pictured above), their first home game since December 16, their first win since November 25 and Danny McGrain’s first league game back since October 1, 1977! Now the long chase was on…

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