The Lost Ten-Part Five
Continuing the series of articles about our exploits between 78-88 when we should have won Ten In A Row,this one deals with season 82/83.
Again,having won the league,Celtic declined to build from strength with no new signings. In four years at the club by then,the only major signings Billy McNeill had made were Dom Sullivan,Davie Provan,Murdo McLeod at the start of his reign,followed by Frank McGarvey and,erm,Willie Garner. A total outlay of around £600,000. By this time,we were being outspent as usual by the huns and even Aberdeen who had spent more than half of that on Peter Weir the previous year.
It didn’t seem to faze us though,as we blitzed through our six sectional League Cup games,scoring 29 for the loss of three. We welcomed back Charlie Nicholas,and had high hopes for him after his leg break in January. And basically we just carried on from there,the good form of the first half of the year taking us on a tremendous run right through to the end of the year.
Again,we had no luck in the draw for the European Cup,being paired with firstly Ajax and then Real Sociedad. We may have rode our luck against Ajax in the first leg-a Celtic defence without Roy Aitken was not a pretty thing back then-but it sure ran out against the Spaniards in a game which I thought was there for the taking. Lose a stupid goal at home,lose the tie.
But as the thoughts of the faithful turned towards Spring-a rare mild winter had cut down dramatically on the match cancellations-we were to receive an Arctic blast. We were already holders of The League Cup,having beaten the huns in a tremendous match to win the trophy for only the second time in thirteen years. (We wouldn’t win it again until fifteen years later,which is why I really enjoy winning it. I’ve seen us lose too many finals over the years!) By the end of January,we had played twentytwo league matches,with a record of 18-2-2 and 38 points. And scoring goals for fun,mainly from Charlie Nicholas!
We stood loud and proud at the pinnacle,but there were those amongst the support who remembered three years previously,when we had somehow surrendered our title from a similar vantage point to an Aberdeen side who just wouldn’t go away. But our first match in February was against Dundee United at Tannadice,and they hammered us 1-1. I had thought that holding Ajax to 2-2 earlier in the season was a stroke of fortune,but getting a draw in this match was daylight robbery. Charlie Nick scored his 35th of the season and that was all we could take from this. And with Aberdeen up next too…
No bother,Charlie settled the nerves in the first half and we were playing well. Until a minute before half time,when Eric Black managed to score twice! He completed his hat-trick and all of a sudden we were looking slightly less confident. We had two Scottish Cup ties and two games against the relegation fodder of Kilmarnock and Morton before we faced Dundee at Dens Park. Which we bloody lost,just as we did three years earlier though this time not so heavily. Followed by successive home draws against St Mirren and the huns,we were losing our grip on the title and had seen Aberdeen overtake us to lead by a point.
There were still eight games to play though,so no panic on that front. Not at all,what had us panicking was that we were playing crap! And with such a limited squad,Billy had little room for manoeuvre.
We got the wheels back on the wagon though with three successive victories,including one against Dundee United. That was important,because they had crept up almost unnoticed to lie just a point behind us beforehand. And then the bloody wheels came off again…
Papped oota the cup by Aberdeen-I was really starting to hate playing them,you know!-we had to play Dundee United again on the Wednesday. This really was a game we couldn’t afford to lose,but a draw would do,to be honest. No Danny McGrain so we had to play Willie Garner at right back. Aye,Desmond,ya tight old twat,Willie Garner at right back! And he only lasted about fifteen minutes before being injured,leaving Murdo to do his best there. People who think I’m hard on Peter Lawwell should hear me about White,I can tell you. We went a goal down early on before Charlie scored a penalty just before half time. Presumably the referee was reminded of his obligations at half time and promptly gave one to Dundee United to put them back in front.
To be fair,this was a difficult match for even a good referee to manage,and he sent off Richard Gough shortly afterwards. Celtic capitalised on the advantage with an equaliser from Tommy Burns and went all out for the winner. And it came from the unlikeliest of sources. Ralph sodding Milne.
3-2 to Dundee United. Advantage them. Except that we were still a point to the good. Except that our next game was at Pittodrie…
It was a rubbish match. Murdo hit the bar before Mark McGhee hit the post with a header. It bounced along the line,hit Roy Aitken,game over. As was our season,and we knew it. A point behind,three to play,it’s gone.
Sure,we won our last three games. Sure,we beat the huns at Ibrox after being two down at half time. Sure,Charlie got his fiftieth goal of the season. But for sure,this was a serious boot in the bollocks for us. The team was clearly lacking in the depth required for a rigorous season,and it showed in the later stages. It was being starved of investment just as clearly as the stadium was. This was not a season to remember,yet only three months earlier,it had been all sweetness and light. That was our second title we had thrown away in the last four seasons,and it was time we cut out the crap and got some decent players in.
White reacted by offering Nicholas an inducement to leave-by way of a derisory contract offer-and insulting Billy McNeill so greatly that he chased him out of the door too. I actually felt more down at the season’s end than I had in 1978. Which takes some doing. What next? Well,we would soon find out.
Above article by BMCUWP. Usual rules,submit an article and we will publish it. I’m off to look out the razor blades,because I hated every minute of reliving this particular season. Particularly that Ralph Milne goal-because that was when I knew. Knew we had blown it. Not Aberdeen the following Saturday. THAT goal.
Anyway,cheer me up and submit an article to Mahe
New Naps Competition
Starts on July 4,with a slightly different format and some VERY GENEROUS PRIZE MONEY,courtesy of…a generous benefactor!!!
Selections from UK and Ireland meetings ONLY on the applicable Saturday. A non-runner can be replaced with a selection on the Sunday.
ALL selections must be entered before the first race of the day.
Points will be decided as before. An imaginary £1 stake,and winnings credited to your running total.
Competition will run for forty weeks-which means,I think that it ends on April 10-Grand National Day.
After 20 weeks,the entrants will split into two groups,Premier League and Championship,based on standings at that stage.
Prizes are as follows.
Premier League Winner-£100
Additionally,there will be separate competitions for The Cheltenham Festival and for The Grand National Meeting,each with a first prize of £30.
And the Brucie Bonus of an extra £50 will be available for the spawny git who manages the treble!
So that’s £300 to play for next season,which is more than the SFA have managed to get in sponsorship for the Scottish Cup. Might be worth investing in Timeform,I reckon…
PS-there will also be a Royal Ascot competition. Prizes as follows…
2nd…£15 free bet
3rd……£5 free bet
Can you drop me BP mail address. Thanks
How is everyone?
Another good wee read back, thanks everyone.
It’s another dreich morning, in the land that time forgot, Cumbernauld.
Just read your post.
Welcome and enjoy.
I was up at Balintore, last November, which I think is fairly near you, went to the nature reserve, seen loads of sea birds,, loved the Golden Plover.
I hope you are in good health and look forward to more of your posts.
Same weather here . Been pouring, AND, I’ve got a leak in my summer house ?.Need to wait till it clears up a bit to go and sort it out.
Not working today so I’ve got the time, though not the weather nor inclination!
4 days to re entry. ( holiday home and golf course). Hope it clears a bit.
How’s you n yours? Looking forward to your own wee vacation I know.
Hopefully leak, nothing too serious.
Yes, I’m good thanks, working this morning but can’t start until 7.30,which is frustrating but that’s the rules, no system availability until then.
Can’t wait until Sat, we’ve been stuck indoors, except for odd walk for, what 16 ,weekd, countryside and more self isolation, here we come!!
Wee treat for someone from an album called Hollywood Town Hall.
It’s a summer house,so not fit for purpose if the sun isn’t shining. Or at all,given the average Scottish summer!
MORNING ALL and JIM , TWISTY YOU GOT MAIL?
Morning all and Packy 🙂
this afternoon sees us pulling down the shutters for the last time, and handing the keys back, its going to be an emotional day if i know my wife, but we are both getting on now, im nearly as old as that jimthetim fella? ? joan is still going to groom part time ,from home, and ive got drum students, so we have still got money coming in? H.H.
Bobby, Those buying stats during Billy McNeill’s reign sound so depressing and familiar. Seems to be in the DNA of Celtic boards.
HI JIM, very dreich down here
Packy, sounds like a tough day for you and Joan. Building up a business you loved coming to an end. A lot of folk (and pets) you met along the way.
But, from a distance, I have a lot of hope for you. You have faced worse in the past. You both still have activities to enjoy and keep you busy. You will be fine buddy!
Got it. Responded. ?
JIM, what are you doing today
TWISTY, just replied?
I’d like to get some indication of numbers for the new naps competition so I’ll be plugging it constantly until Friday night / Saturday morning.
I’ll need to make up a spreadsheet because when the league split comes along, we could have some people tied in the demotion spot, so it’ll need to go to count back on number of winners, or, second and third places.
So – I’ll be collecting names.
I’m in ?
Packy, nothing planned. Another lazy day!
Twisty, I’m in for the Naps compo 🙂
TWISTY, so am I?
Jim the Tim
Jim – BP – should I close the entries now and we get. 1-2-3 ?
Naw not yet Twisty, I’ve got too many pals amongst the napsters.. The site’s dead in the mornings.
Bobby, you should use your influence to get Senga & Solkits on board.
Packy, you get the night shift boys to sign up.
Twists- I’m in, ta..?
I hope Ray Mac stays. The wee soul 🙁
Packy, do you think Weefra & Uber might join?
JIM i would love them too?
OK dug walking, then shop closing time, catch u all later
If you don’t mind….I’m in.
Of course. Most welcome. I’ll bump Bada oot to make room for ye. Or Jimmy NP. They’re a threat?
Jimmy Not Paul
( I’m making assumptions here but I’m sure all of the above will be in)
I am troonbhoy
Bloody Nora! You kept that quiet Chalmersbhoy LOL 🙂
Gotcha bud. I knew you were Troonbhoy. Must’ve read it somewhere!
I’ve led SOLKITTS astray for nearly forty years,but he has never put a bet on. Not his thing.
Bobby, when I think about it, it doesn’t surprise me. As a referee with integrity he wouldn’t be seen within a mile of a bookies.
I’ll be hoping for a lot of new posters joining SC, and participating in the naps as well as contributing to the debates.
However I’ll also be watching for names I’ve never seen on here before joining for unscrupulous reasons. If I spot some joining and only posting on the naps, I’ll be suspicious that they’re either huns or only in it for the money.
At which point I’ll be applying to Bobby and Mahe for league reconstruction. Create a 3rd division, Chuck em in there, stick a “ The” prefix on their moniker and let them fight their way back to the premiership.
Also, they will not, I say will they will not, be keeping their history. ?
Is Sol Kitts interested in making a come back?
Is he corruptible?
Asking for a friend who likes a bet.
Twisty, what if they are Celtic board members?
Jimmy Not Paul
One piece of unfinished business on the naps ( oh there’s two actually but I’ll cover the last one a bit later when finished chatting to BP) but;
There’s a £50 donation to go to a charity on behalf of SC from the naps competition. I’d like you to choose where it goes. I neither want to know or need to know where you send it.
Just choose someone you think could use it and leave it at that. No need for anyone to know who benefits in the event you want to give it to someone down on their luck. It can remain private.
Just mail me some details of your account please and I’ll leave it to you to sort it if you can kindly spare the time.
Thanks in advance.
Ffs I hadn’t considered that possibility! We’d need to put that to a vote!!
Aye, Bobby, I was at CP that night v Dundee Utd. We got the goal to make it 2-2, we only needed a point and they were down to 10. All around me in the Celtic end we’re shouting for the team to play it cool; but no, they charged forward like juveniles. Ralph Milne’s goal was a belter and a total stunner. It was a good United side with some quality players, albeit with a horrible but very astute manager, moanin’ McLean. We could and should have won that season but the board’s parsimony won put paid to that notion. What a total arse Desmond White was.