International Break Best Ever Game Series – The 6 -2

We find these international breaks terrible boring and tend to wander down memory lane during the sojourn .

The last series seen the best ever 11 player series and was popular indeed . Hopefully this one entertains you all also .

Should you fancy telling us all of a fav game we would be delighted to host you



So I have mentioned before that I can count the number of games I have attended on both hands . The reasons for this ,,, dad refused to take me over when younger and most of my 20’s was spent in the same job that begrudged me a mere 2 weekends off per year and I usually insisted on one of those in sunnier climes , although I avoid direct sunlight bigtime ironically .

Why dad didnt take me over you might be wondering ,,,  the boat that brought fans from both side of the divide over the water to attend was called the cattle boat and it had previously been in use in the Low countries .

I was told it was basically a long , low ceiling box room with no windows . You were allowed to bring a carry out onboard . There were drains in the floor from its previous occupation .

The usual one team at home one team away rule applied so rival fans didnt clash , but on derby day each side would put its “ heavies “ in a line down the middle in an attempt to stem carnage .

If you could imagine the scene , cigarettes very popular back then ( of course no air conditioning or smoke removal system ) ,, men getting hammered and peeing on the floor in the direction of a drain ,, the wacky backy on the go .

It wasnt a good place for a kid , also a man needs a day off by himself sometimes .

And then the songs ,,, the troubles were full steam ahead at that stage and bringing a youngun over to east Glasgow to where the stadium is singing in support of armed resistance can only help push them towards that struggle ,,, and no father wants their child imprisoned or worse .


The late 80’s ( basically after Fergus rebuilt the park and there where many more seats plus the new season book system )  or so seen a new boat and a sanitization of the process ,, and family trips became the norm . I recall the Seacat was a cracker of a  boat ,, yanked for a more profitable route but she was state of the art at the time , a very smooth ride , numerous eateries including kid friendly MacD’s , and the smoking ban helped move things towards a more enjoyable experience for youth in particular , although many wives began to accompany the men when there was a ( much needed ) change in what was acceptable .


Around 97 or so I was working downtown Belfast in a bar restaurant of local staff when an Italian fella walks in after seeing the sign in the window and within a couple days had a start in the place .  I was happy enough to hear the new accent , seemed a decent chap , and we are talking food and wine etc when he tells me no set plans , always dreamed of visitin the Emerald Isle , seen the sign and thought lets give this mad city a shot . When he got the job he had went on a days hunt to find digs and had rented a room and was settling in .

“ Where abouts ? “  I ask . “ Beersbridge road East Belfast “ he tells the staff to stunned silence . I tried to explain to him , we all tried , there where rules ,, an Italian cant live there and certainly dont go for a pint and just start talking to locals ( which he was fond off ) ,, he refused to believe me as he had never experienced anything like this .


After a few weeks , he slowly came to realise the people around him wouldnt talk to him , looked at him dirty , and then a slabbering match , few digs swung when him and his visiting mate went out for a couple .

Any time up the west of the city  though was a totally different deal,,, a smile greeted him , maybe a few friendly questions , a pint bought ,,, the people were happier and open to a stranger, a well intentioned stranger that is.

The Guinness was better ( I swear ) and then when we hit the local bars after work to watch the team play , he seen the community come together , the love for the team , and liked the characters that he met .

However a local colleen had obviously not heard the stories about Italian waiters and had convinced him to move in with her around the city center area .

Around the same time I had bought a place with my own lady.

About a year later both of us found ourselves single again though I kept the house , and naturally he moved in .

Thus was born a fantastic couple of years , mid to late 20’s , big house with yer drinking partner and soon best mate , my ma around the corner , smack bang in the west . They were great times . Many a heart was broken between them walls, not all men either !

The oul fella by this stage had joined the new local Csc St Michaels , bought his season book , and had access to tickets via this season ticket as the club always had a few spares by just giving a blanket number , not the exact .

I remember a couple of weeks before this particular  game watching ad’s hyping it up ,, and saying to the mate we should go and he replied lets do it . I counted my dosh and could afford it . That was it , it was on !  One phone call to thoul fella and we had two tickets . It was that easy .

I had already been a couple times and had yet to taste victory can you believe . First game Laudrup just seemed to waltz the length of the entire pitch and slot home the only goal of the game . The next a very good  Viduka opener had been cancelled out .

The Italian had never been to that ground but was bursting at the seems to experience this .

I had a strong feeling it was to be third time lucky and couldnae wait myself .

Martin had announced in public that he just wanted to close the gap,, yeah right ,, everyone smiled when they heard that and knew exactly what was going on . Everyone but “ the little General “ that is.


Anyway , that Italian would go on to be my best man , and we are still in daily contact , so I gave him plenty notice and asked him to reminisce about that day and stick it down for everyone and eternity .

Beppe  is a fella from Venice  and heres his first Celtic game experience .

Ps Martin is my da , Im Stevie and the old man he refers to is Leo Mc Cauley , well known in the west and president / founder of St. Michaels Csc.   Enjoy , Beppe  will pop in later to check for comments.




Early in the morning, a dry and light morning in the Falls, with the typical cold Irish breeze which will wake you up if coffee didn’t do it yet.

I have been living with my best friend Stevie in Andy Town for a while now, but this is a special day. The Irish are taking me, the “Italian” to Paradise.

Martin, the patriarch now, is a man of few words in the morning but he has already plenty to smile for and a wardrobe full of stories for us, if we are patient enough to let him complete the morning tasks.

The first one is to go and collect the President of the Celtic Fan Club of West Belfast, an elderly man with the passion and energy of a young boy entering a candy shop.

Even if I hadn’t been excited enough about the prospect of watching the game, my first time at Celtic Park, well these guys would have had plenty of their own to get me started.

In the car, on the way to the Harbour, Stevie tells me few initial details about the day, while the two old buddies get into some conversation about todays’ game or maybe an old one. It doesn’t really matter, we are all firing up steadily and surely for what lies ahead.

If I never made to the game, the boat trip would have probably be a good enough experience…..

The sea was calm, but a huge wave of green and white shirts was moving inside, a disorderly organised motion, up and down the ferry, overwhelmingly nice to witness.

And I can still recall what might face might have looked like when Martin put some cash in my hand (I don’t think I ever open my wallet once when Martin was around) and ask me to get a “tray of beers”…..”Yes, a tray. Just fit as many pints as you can on the tray and come back”.

I looked at my watch and it wasn’t 8am, yet….on the 27th of August 2000, a day I will always remember, as the day I went to Paradise.

As we stumbled out of the boat, with a seasick type of walk that had little to do with the sea, we made our way to the Bus taking us through the Scottish country side and into Glasgow.

And what a country side, for some one who never seen it before, a glimpse of the famous mountains, thick woodland and those unique beaches, a golden primordial sight.

In the bus the vibe was great but nowhere near as great and loud as the noise of all the conversations going on at the same time amongst the fans as we near the gate of heaven.

And the we arrived…

I was just a little over my 26th birthday. My first real experience with a football game of that magnitude. Celtic playing Rangers. The derby. The mother of all battles.

I had been at other stadiums and other games, but nothing like that. And now I was few yards away from Celtic Park, making my way amongst a crowd of green and white flags. The closer we got to the gate, the faster we walked, our blood pumping to our hearts faster, as soldier going to battle.

Whoop-pe-do through the gates, proudly showing my ticket, following my friend and my new friends to the designated area where the show was about to begin.

As I walked up the large steps, a lump in my throat. Through my feet, up to my ears. I just about managed to push it down, back to the cold concrete when I reached the top and looked down at the ground and the rest of the stadium: here’s that lump again but this time it turns into a smile…I made it. Now the noise of the fans is just a fairway soundtrack and I can clearly hear Stevie telling me about the history of the place, what we should have expected and the inevitable victory I was going to witness. Everyone knew what to do, as actors with a script. I remember behind me there was a wall and a man standing with his back at us, facing the wall, as if he was looking at something beyond it…nah, just one too many for the old man. And he wasn’t the only one who started celebrating too soon… The speaker turn….Jonathan Gould, Paul Lambert, Jackie McNamara, Mahe, Valgaeren, Petta, Moravcik, Petrov, Sutton, Stubbs and…….. Henrik Larsson, one the best player I ever seen on a pitch.

What a Team. Young Jackie… Stevie taught me a song about him that I still remember and sing, 18 years after that day. I knew all of them, Stevie and I watched them on TV many times but this was real, there and then, and against the Rangers…So everything was different, the size of the pitch, the noise, the sky, the colours, smells, the vibe and that distinct sense of happiness for being there, with your friend, in Paradise.

I do not know nor I can recall how long we waited for the referee to blow the whistle but I do remember enjoying every minute of it, amazed and amused by everything was going on around me. Stevie told me about the place and how the Celtic fans were the best in the world but then again everyone says so. Well. I had been at the Bernabeu, San Siro, Olimpico but nothing compared to this. They were in deed the best fans in the world. A roar that was music, music that was magic, songs, laughter, cheers, all shaping into a mesmerising and welcoming hug. I sang lyrics I did not know, had full conversation with Scottish guys telling me “you are not from frecking Italy” – clearly my transformation was working – and overall felt a childish incontrollable happiness as I thought “This what football is about and that is now a game should be”. The old man was still cheering at the brick wall and I still do not know what game was going on up there, but by then, even he made sense, even he fitted in.

I had been captured by that mystery, whilst I watched people eating, talking, drinking, crying, cheering and shouting. And I looked at my closest friend, the gang I came with, as the level of excitement raised, discussing injuries and merit of that and the other player.

And suddenly the whistle went. For the next 90 minutes everyone there from the age of 2 to 92 supported their heroes like I did not think was possible, breathlessly following each phase

of the game as if it was the last, fearless and encouraged by the guy beside, behind, ahead and everyone else around. Goose bumps.

Celtic on the attack, one minute maybe gone, Sutton…1-0

Could my first time get better….? I thought no but I was wrong. Within 10 minutes Petrov and Lambert had added 2 and I had the fortune to see Henrik scoring twice. 6-2 the final score. Hypnotic heroic stuff from the bhoys in green.

Paradise exploding at each goal, a sound could be heard on a 10 miles radius around us.

I could not ask for a better day , my grandchildren will learn of it .  


Guest post by Beppe


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The Gombeen Man


The 6-2 game was a classic and I watched it again recently. My daughter was born on the 23rd of August 2000 and I’ll always think of it as ‘her game’
I’d given my Season Book to a workmate in Dublin due to the birth of my daughter and I watched the game with my two-year-old son and drove to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin after the game. I literally bounced up the stairs to the ward and my mate, Conor rang me from the airport. It was his first game and he was ecstatic.
I must have replayed the day in my head a hundred times and Henrik’s famous run and chip is possibly my favourite Celtic goal.

I’ve made the trip over on the boat many times too and you describe the scene very well and the commitment of the guys who make the trip regularly is incredible.

Thanks for reminding me of that great day.


Bloody hell,lads! Have you never heard of keeping the best till last?

You’ll frighten off any would-be contributors with that,absolutely immense.

Beppe,you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last to be held in thrall the first time and forever when you “Walked through Parkhead’s gates” for the first time. But to do so in THAT game,wow,that’s special.

Thanks for sharing,lads. Great read.


What a great read – both parts of it ! I was at that 6-2 game, incredible, probably my favourite. I remember drinking a carry out in the graveyard before it.

Bobby Petta played a blinder.

saltires en sevilla


Great memorie of a fantastic day.

Never made it home for the game but clearly remember there was no way to watch on tv. Pacing the kitchen litening to the radio and trying to picture the scenes.

The way you desribe it is how it was imagined.

Lucky Bhoys


saltires en sevilla




Howdy,bud! Aye,Bobby had a peach of a game-they all did! Even Berkovic might have got off his arse and enjoyed himself,but Martin fortunately left his arse parked on the bench.

Celticwiki are uncharacteristically brutal in their assessment of him-and,naw,I didn’t write it!

Great to see you on Saturday,mate. Now you know some of the troops,no need to be a stranger.


Reminding us? They painted a pretty picture and win a major prize!


Thanks. Nice we can all share memories. Keeps me going


No worries…thank you


I know….lady luck was on my side..thanks


A carry out in the graveyard,,you old rogue !!
Funny I canna remember Bobby playing well that day , she was one he’ll of a party. Boat very quiet on way home ,, battle weary I have heard it referred as . Seemed like it anyway.
What a day. I remember Andy gray walking out of the sky sports studio when the highlights started,,very unprofessional and wouldn’t happen today.
Hail Hail


No it wouldn’t. He got bulleted from there a few years back.

No loss.


Tgm,,,the cattle boat or the nicer ones? Can you confirm when the cattle boat stopped? Hail Hail


Did you rate him as a player ? Seems if he was made of chocolate he would eat himself.
Hail Hail

mike in toronto


A great post! Post more often mate!

Petta humiliated Fernando Ricksen.

“Before long the game was marketed in a Celtic video titled Demolition Derby. These days the game is often misremembered as a relentless flow of Celtic attacks. Actually Rangers steadied the ship. Ricksen’s awful debut, tormented by Bobby Petta, ended when he was substituted after just 22 minutes.”

(Michael Grant, Glasgow Herald)


JimTheTim,,thanks for that. I recall watching a replay and it seemed Wallace had a good goal disallowed which would have made it 3-2. We still would have won. I read later just before the game some suit asked Martin his thoughts and he said we will kill them. So very true and he knew his dressing room it seemed.
Hail Hail

big packy

hi mahe and beppe great post, yes watched it on the box special memories, that Larsson chip with his tounge hanging out, thought moravcik and lambert controlled the game, remember the cameras cutting to the sky tv studio and frank mclintock with a big big smile on his face. in a way that was my generations 7-1 game .hh.



Mahe, I think the reason I remember Petta is because I was sitting in the North Stand lower, about 6 rows from the front. Bobby was playing left wing, so he was right in front of me for half the game.


Bp,,,cheers partner and hope all is well with you and Joan and the dugs.
Hail Hail

Great posts today, well done bhoys.
Aye the 6-2 game is hard to beat, over the decades there have been so many games to savor, too many to mention in fact, beating the brit teams always special as we were never expected to win, more recently the Barca game, the result not the performance, but nothing will come close to Lisbon, I was just a young fella of twelve but I remember it well, I often watch re runs of the game, pure beautiful, inventive football as someone once described it 😉

Welcome Beppe, keep posting please.

big packy

hi mahe hope you and yours are well, me and joan are ok but one of the dugs Jorge, has kennel cough and is on antibiotics, but getting better.hh.


I know that gait across the sea of Guiness, many’s the time Beppe I visited your homeland with my family, never to Venice though, we loved our visits to “Colle De Valle De Elsa, where we made frequent visits to a recently widowed mother and her two wonderful sons, strange ly enough they were Inter Milan supporters, but we shared and enjoyed our footballing stories. My favourite city was of course Firenze and we would sometimes go and watch Fiorentina play in their marvellous stadium. We were always made very welcome and we retain many great memories of our visits. So thank you for sharing your Celtic memories both yours and mahe’s. A great game my two sons and I really enjoyed it, another great memory of a really good Celtic side with some really great players, Sutton and the King of Kings, we won a prize with those two strikers. Sad were we when they left. Today, I really like Odsonne, he I think has a great future to look forward to, the sad thing is that if he is as good as I think he could be, envious eyes might drag him away. Hail Hail Beppe and Mahe.

A thing of beauty

Thanks for the memories bhoys. What a game indeed. I was living in London at the time and playing. Football with a local team so had my teammates well versed in the famous Glasgow Celtic. The only thing was every time we watched us play them it only ended one way. We’d outplay them and they’d inevitably win. I never had sky in those days so went to a mates to watch it and left hubby babysitting. When lambert scored the third I remember being down on my knees banging the floor from sheer elation. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Needless to say hubby had to babysit for a lot longer than he thought he would as I got into a proper state. It’s no every day we scud that lot and when we do it needs to be appreciated in the correct manner. Loudly and with lots of strong drink. Good job my wee neighbour was of good Galway stock. As beppe and mahe already told us it was a memorable day indeed. One for the history books.


ATOB , thanks and hope all is well . Quite a day indeed . Hail Hail


Cheers Mike , glad you enjoyed it . Hail Hail


My apologies for keeping you all in suspense about the big news oof the weekend.
The butchers in a very smokey Sacramento had proper bacon and British style bangers so a bit of a fry was had at least. Irish breakfast links and blood ring are due to be made for the holidays so hopefully this time next month or so.

I was behind one huge truck with the reg plate 1shot1kill,,wrong fella to try and carjack,, and seen a nice boat being towed that was named ” she got the house”. Welcome to America. Although I personally would want the house.
Drove past s church named after a saint I had never heard of,,Saint Katherine Drexel.
Has anyone heard of her by chance?
Band was on point aand a step nearer to the Holy grail of playing for beer.
Apart from the hangover was fantastic !!!


Brilliant article, Beppe.
I think, sometimes, us Glasgow buoys, take it from granted, how close we are to Paradise. It’s always good to get a reminder.
What I remember most is how my neighbour of 14 years ignored me when I returned from the game. A Rangers season ticket holder, but one who I could always talk about football to. Anyway 2 days later he chapped my door and apologised and admitted he was hurting so bad that he couldn’t bear to talk to me about it.
That was the start of the Martin O’Neill effect.
Hail Hail.

Garry Duncan

Thank you. Wonderful tale. My memory of the 6-2 game is of my youngest son Ryan. He was a 7 year old season ticket holder at the time. My mum and Ryan’s mum, were both against him going to that match. So I took my mate John using Ryan’s ticket. John was 30 but had never been to a Celtic v Rangers match. Needless to say it was the best game of his life. I am still unsure if my son Ryan has fully forgiven, his mum, his granny and myself to this day.
John bought him a scarf and pile of sweeties. ?

big packy

mahe you keep namedropping sacamento ok ive been to Orlando,miami,new York and Toronto but managed to miss that rascal mike.?.hh.


BP,,,how about Vegas in June,,,fancy it?

big packy

I will let you know nearer the time .hh.


Isn’t the NACSC convention this year in Toronto? Sure hope so,cos I told two of my Swindon Tim pals that was the case.

And they’ve booked up!


Ah,I can only imagine…

You know where I watched it. Trust me,they needed more of that strong drink than I did.

Happy daze…


Fair play to him,T. Not everyone has the balls to put their hands up.



Majoc,,,it’s in Vegas. Might be a couple of us,,make no plans hey !
I guess yer mates are meeting MIT and getting another flight? Customer service will sort it but will be a fee to change destination.

mike in toronto

Young Ryan doesn’t seem like the type to hold a grudge …. I’m sure he has forgiven you by now…. mind you… that was a really, really great day and a tough one to miss … you might have to buy him a few pints this weekend, just to make sure.

Blinkin’ flip.

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll mail them the info.



Mahe and Beppe,

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. May be the series should just stop with your efforts!

I do not remember how I saw that game live. Was CelticTV around then? I do remember buying the video on VHS. The score did not flatter Celtic but I do remember Rangers fighting hard to get back into the game.

There was a poetry about our performance that day and you just knew we were entering a special era.

Like Mike, I also love Italy and have visited Sorrento, Naples, Bergamo, Garda, Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence and ViaRegio. I enjoyed all of these but I have special memories of Sorrento and of Fiessole(above Florence).



Rebus 67.
You are correct about Rangers fighting hard to get into the game.
It was 3.1 at half time and my son still teases me because I said, as the teams were going up the tunnel, I wish it was full time.
That’s one wish I’m glad didn’t come true.
Hail Hail

JNP-Rebus 67
Wallace I think scored a good goal that was disallowed, had it stood it would have been 3-2, they also had more attempts than us and more on target, but when the 4th went in we really tore them apart, that scroat Bammy Fergiehun should have walked a couple of times as should a fair few others, the Henke chip was and still is the best goal imo, it was rather special.

Garry Duncan

You are wrong about Ryan.
He is a Davie Hay type.
Quiet assassin.
Looks after his auld man.
He holds grudges then gets revenge using his brain. ?

Garry Duncan

I sometimes wake up watching the Henrik nutmeg and dink fae a magical memory dream.
Probably my favourite ever Celtic goal.

Mike in toronto

I guess I am buying the beer when the arrive in TO. If they have come all the way to see little old me, it seems the least I can do.

Mike in toronto

I sincerely hope I didn’t piss him off then!?

Mike in toronto

Probably the favourite goal for a good many of us. Must have seen it hundreds of times now, and still marvel at it every time

New article posted!!