When anyone mentions Murdo, I immediately think of the wonderful goals, he scored for us.
The first 3, I thought about, when I started this article, were all against Rangers. It’s maybe an indication of how important they were, at the time, and how sweetly struck, the goals were.
The first one was, possibly, his most famous, the thunderbolt against Rangers, in the dying seconds to ensure the league title, in a 4.2 victory, the 10 men won the league game in 1979. A game that will never be forgotten.
Murdo himself says it was a 20 yarder, but over time folklore has changed it to a 40 yarder.
The next one was in the 2.1 League Cup final in 1982, he scored the second, and what a sweet strike it was, in a game remembered, apart from us winning the cup, for the torrential rain and the absolute soaking the Celtic fans got, in the uncovered terracing at Hampden, that day, I think half of us ended up with pneumonia after that game.
The third and my own personal favourite, was the fourth goal, in a 4.4 draw at Ibrox.
This was another game, played in torrential rain, at least this time, we had a roof over us.
This game was played in March 86.
Celtic had gone 2 up, after 29 minutes, however Willie McStay was sent off after 31 mins and Rangers pulled one back before half time.
Early in the second half, Tommy Burns made it 3.1 and all seemed well, Celtic then lost 3 goals in an incredibly disappointing 11 minute spell, to go 4.3 down, it was, then, Murdo who stepped up with 20 minutes left, to rifle an unstoppable shot, into the top corner, if you watch that goal on you tube, you can actually hear the fans screams in anticipation, as soon as the ball leaves Murdo’s foot and when it hits the net, absolute joy and total bedlam.
There was no further scoring and it was one of those rare occasions, for a Celtic/Rangers game, when both sets of players were applauded off, by their fans, at the full time whistle.
The fans appreciating that the players had served up a cracker, under very difficult conditions.
Murdo signed for Celtic in November 78, from Dumbarton, there was no transfer window back then, and He made his debut the following day against Motherwell.
Murdo was a midfield player of the highest calibre who, as I’ve already written about, had a wonderful knack for scoring spectacular and often important goals, Murdo also, in emergencies played both full back positions for Celtic and never let us down, when playing in those positions.
His first goal for us, was a 25 yarder, at Easter Rd, which was a sign of the type of goals, that were to come from him.
Murdo kept some of his best performances for the European arena and scored some more memorable goals, playing for Celtic ,in Europe, Juventus, Real Sociedad and Nottingham Forest, spring to mind.
He was another Celt, who had to wait a long time for a cap, there’s definitely a pattern here, it finally came, in May 1985, in a 1-0 win over England at Hampden. He did then become a regular in the Scotland squad until 1990.
Borussia Dortmund, who were the sleeping giant of German football, came calling, in 1987and Murdo joined them for a fee of £250,000 which gave Celtic a tidy profit, especially after the great nine seasons of service he had given. It was strongly suggested that Murdo actually wanted to stay with Celtic, but with contract talks not working out and the offer in from the Germans, he took the leap to move on. On this occasion, I don’t think Peter Lawwell can get the blame for that one.
As fate would have it, Celtic were later drawn against Dortmund in the UEFA Cup in September 1987, the Germans narrowly triumphing 3-2 on aggregate. Murdo was given a richly deserved great welcome by the Celtic fans in the home leg at Parkhead.
As a Celtic Player, Murdo made 386 appearances and scored 81 goals
Murdo won 4 League titles, 2 Scottish Cups and 1 League Cup.
Of course, Murdo returned to Celtic as Assistant Manager to Wim Jansen in 1997 and played a big part in us winning the league, that season, and, in the course of doing that, had the bonus of preventing Rangers achieving 10 in a row.
It’s no wonder that Murdo is fondly remembered by the Celtic support.
Once again, thanks to the wonderful Celtic Wiki, which helped me piece this article together.