The Pivotal Moment

In most league winning teams in my lifetime, there have been one or two points during those seasons, where I have thought to myself:
“We’re gonna win this league.”

For example, in April 1986, the Celts faced a tough away game at Pittodrie. 2 points was a must, if we were to have any chance of chipping away at Hearts lead, in the race for the title. Celtic won 1-0 that day, paving the way for that never to be forgotten league win at Love Street, on the 3rd of May, 1986. Albert Kidd day. With the benefit of hindsight however, a last minute equaliser, in the first game of the season at Tynecastle, also proved pivotal. A certain Mr Paul McStay producing the goods on this occasion, with a typical Maestro thunderbolt.

In the Centenary Season, most supporters will recall the 2-0 victory over Rangers on the 2nd of January, 1988. For me though, the pivotal moment in that season, came a few weeks earlier, on a freezing cold December day, at Parkhead. With 10 minutes of the game remaining, Celtic trailed title challengers Hearts, by 2-0. Celtic pulled one back, and with minutes remaining, that man McStay once again stepped up, lashing a screaming shot by the Hearts goalkeeper.

In Martin O’Neill’s debut season as manager, the Celts were in a strong position league-wise, by mid-December, but faced a tough away game at Dens Park, in a match that a certain Neil Lennon, made his Celtic debut. With the game tied at 1-1, with only seconds remaining, one of my favourite players from that season-Didier Agathe-bulleted a header into the Dundee net, following a Celtic corner. Despite the 6-2 game, this was the moment that I thought:
“Here we go…ya feckin’ dancer.”

Which brings us to this season. Unlike most seasons in Celtic’s history, there have been so many points in the season, that can be labelled as pivotal, in the season’s outcome.

So Sentinel Celts, what was your own pivotal moment in this season’s title race?

Was it perhaps:

The 97th minute Tony Ralston winner v Ross County?

The Liam Boyce penalty miss at Tynecastle on the 26th of January? This is my own pivotal moment. With the Celts leading by 2-0 at Tynecastle, we lost a daft goal, to give Hearts hope. Minutes later, Hearts were awarded a penalty. Now, I’m listening to this live on Radio Scotland, with the ould blood pressure going through the roof. Up steps Boyce. “Goooooooooal”, shouts the commentator, in a display of emotion that would have done a South American proud. “Hell’s Bells”, “FFS” and “oh ya bassa”, were just some of the things that I was shouting at the radio, as I could see our title hopes disappearing over the horizon. After what seemed like an eternity, the commentator states quite matter of factly:
“He’s hit the post.”
Hit the post? This does not do the Boyce penalty miss justice. The ball hit the inside of big Joe’s right hand post, and at speed, ran along the goal line, before going harmlessly out of touch. How many times have we seen penalties like this hitting the goalkeeper, and trundling over the line for a goal, or alternatively, hitting the opposite post, with the same result? Either way, cue a feckin’ massive sigh of relief from me.

Then of course, there were other vital moments, such as:

29/1 Liel Abada’s last gasp winner against Dundee United, in a tense afternoon in Paradise. Earlier in the day, the Huns had dropped 2 vital points away to Ross County in a 3-3 draw.

2/2 The Celts give the Huns a damned good thrashing, with a stunning 3-0 victory at Parkhead.

20/2 Again, the Celts leave it late, but ultimately overcome a battling Dundee side by 3-2, again at Parkhead. Earlier in the day, the Huns had dropped 2 points in the title race, in a 1-1 draw at Tannadice

3/4 In a tense encounter at Ibrox, the Celts had to weather the storm, both on and off the Park, to emerge from a tough day at the office, with all 3 points. After this game, the league flag, was now within our grasp.

So, there is quite a lot there, to mull over, in ould noggin. The REAL pivotal moment for me, as regards this season, occurred on Friday 28th of May. This again, is with the benefit of hindsight. On that evening, Celtic FC announced that former Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, had ditched us at the alter, after a long courtship. To say I was blazing mad at this announcement, is a bit of an understatement. I had conducted a lot of research on Eddie Howe, and was in truth, looking forward to his appointment as our new manager. However, this announcement led to an unexpected happening. On the 10th of June 2021, Celtic announced the appointment of Ange Postecoglou as the new manager. I had never heard of the man, but having done my due-dilligence on the appointment, I had a gut feeling that this was gonna be THE MAN:

A man who has managed at a high level? Check.

A man with a reputation for playing fast, attractive, attacking football? Check.

A man with good man-management and coaching skills? Check.

The real clincher for me, was how, from the very start, the manner in which Ange conducted himself at press conferences. From the very beginning, Ange treated the ‘gentlemen of the press’ with utter disdain and a withering scorn. He realised from the off, that these mugs were no friends of Celtic, and treated them accordingly. To this very day, they do not know how to deal with the man…and neither apparently, do the PLC board. Another point in Ange’s favour, I should think.

So it’s with grateful thanks to Ange and HIS Bhoys, for this quite wonderful season, that I leave you with this heart-warming thought…

If we had gone ahead and appointed Eddie Howe, there would have been no:

Japanese Bhoys

Joe Hart


Big Juranovic


O’Reily etc. etc. etc.

We should treasure every moment, that this warm, loving, kind-hearted and compassionate man, remains with us. Like Wim Jansen, after one season at the helm, the man is already a legend. Thank you, Ange, from the bottom of my heart.


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May 10, 2022 6:30 am

Nice one Magua !

May 10, 2022 6:49 am

Excellent header, for me it was Abada’s goal that won the league.

I was at the game and very few left prior to the goal and the feeling of relief, joy and elation was fantastic. The players knew then that a win on the Wednesday would put us top of the league and the bounce they got was clear for all to see.

Even that shower still with 3 hours on a bus faces tripping them brought an extra bonus.

Hail hail

May 10, 2022 6:55 am


Great stuff,and an interesting question. Some fine memories in there,too!

I’m not sure that there was an actual moment when I thought-we can do this!-for me,maybe more of a gradual awakening. Yes,I was indeed that scarred from last season,and I certainly didn’t want to lumber AP with unrealistic expectations simply because I’d had an uncharacteristic bout of optimism.

I will say though that I probably got that bout of optimism after we beat them at home. You have to remember how long it had been since we had beaten them at all! But it was tempered with the dread of blowing the title from there. I don’t think I could have coped with that,for all my intentions to give Ange the season to steady things up ready for next season.

Which is why the improvement in the three months up to Christmas,following our home draw against Dundee Utd,is what heartened me most. Putting us right back into the mix too. So you can imagine the state of my coupon on Boxing Day after that bliddy draw against St Mirren…

Celtic Champs Elect
May 10, 2022 7:47 am

Great piece Magua

The 3-0 home game and the green brigades display was the best atmosphere I have attended at paradise especially with no Huns in the ground keep them out

Beating them in their own midden convinced me w ex would win the title

May 10, 2022 8:03 am


Great timing and enjoyable read on this topic.

Meticulously well researched, with the details we all like to remember. Wee flashes back in time.

Expect a flurry of memories now…

Ronnie Glavin’s free kicks …any of them tbh

Joe Craig hook over his shoulder at Ibrox

Danny and Maestro inspired one two up the wing at Love Street

Hearts finally dropping a point -drawing with Aberdeen in the Sunday televised game in ’86

Paul Lambert’s Saturday Rocket at Motherwell after doing the same on the previous Wednesday

That Barry Robson tackle on Christian Daily ..early doors

Nakamura’s 35 yard Sidewinder

Hopefully, this is the first of many items from you buddy!


Jobo Baldie
May 10, 2022 8:16 am

Good morning, friends and that’s a great article Magua. Personally I’m still only thinking we will ‘probably’win the league so my own defining moment is still to come!

May 10, 2022 8:16 am

Smashing article Magua.
I’m with Pitymevin.
Abada scoring in 90th min, against Dundee United, after, BMCUWs favourite, Bitton, had been sent off,10 mins earlier, to give us a 1.0 victory ( What a smashing finish it was ) with 10 men.
Sevco had drawn 3.3 earlier, in Dingwall, in a game they should have won, easily.
That gave us the opportunity to go top, on the following Wednesday, against Sevco.
If that finished 0.0, would we have had the same momentum?

May 10, 2022 8:19 am

King Kenny …all good …the Dundee United one at the end

big packy
May 10, 2022 8:20 am

MORNING all AND JIM, MAGUA great stuff, in ange we trust ,bet garry postecoglou is looking down smiling,👍

May 10, 2022 8:24 am

Well done Magua, Telt yeh!

The pivotal date for me was the end of June 2021, when Peter Lawwell resigned from the Celtic board.
No more amateur signings, no more player’s turning up unannounced at Lennoxtoun without the managers knowledge, no more signing players for onward investment, instead of for the here and now. No more Peter Lawwell interference in anything football related. Football managers need to make their own decisions within budgetary constraints, but the choice should always be the managers to make, it is their careers at stake after all.
Mind you I’m still celebrating Willie Maley’s Celtic teams success in winning the Scottish Cup in season 1930-31.
Well done to Ange and the team.

May 10, 2022 8:43 am


I was saving this for close season … but that’s twice now you’ve mentioned ‘31 Cup Final

Bet you knew Bertie Thompson of this parish scored twice in the replay ..

Did you know he was related to the fantastic guitarist Richard Thompson ?

Here is the very man playing in the hoops in his Fairport Convention days .. ( Paris?)

Big Audio Dynamite
May 10, 2022 8:51 am

As much as we all love a last gasp winner, I’d go with the signing of CCV as being pivotal.

Seems key to everything that’s followed

May 10, 2022 8:59 am

Morning all,

Great article Magua 👏👏👏

Pivotal moment for me, like many others on here, was the Abada 90th minute goal against Dundee Utd.

Special mention also for the Tony Ralston header and the atmosphere at the 3-0 game v You know who.

Great memories and hopefully 2 more to come 👍

HH 🍀🍀🍀

St tams
May 10, 2022 9:22 am

Great article Magua.
Similar to others , I’m going for Abadas winner against Dundee Utd.
As someone else mentioned, very few had left the ground for a change and the place went wild.

Hopefully there’s a few pivotal moments, tomorrow night

Google Translator
May 10, 2022 9:25 am

Great article Magua! Was reading it thinking it was Bobby had wrote it and wasn’t really getting his usual pessimistic vibe!! The defining moment has to be the 3-0 versus Them, it was probably this game more than any which left the support in no doubt that this mob were there for the taking. Wee Gollum’s performance helped too, of course as he went completely off script and reffed the game in as fair a manner as we’ve seen in a long time. The atmosphere that night was incredible and really put that mob back in their zombie box for a bit. As you say, there’s been a few decisive moments on this rollercoaster but for me that game is the one to savour and remember above all others.
For Magua and Garry…

May 10, 2022 9:27 am

HeHe…forgot to change my moniker back!! 🙄😀

May 10, 2022 9:32 am


I have been looking into that 31′ Cup final for weeks and weeks, but the information is quite limited, I’m waiting for Magua’s top tip of the book to come out before I close the door on it.
So, yes I do know a bit about Bertie Thomson scoring twice in the replay along with the two goals from McGrory, but there has been for me a number of ‘I never knew that’ revelations. That team fascinate’s me, but also I never knew of the connection between Bertie and Richard Thomson, you learn something new every day, so cheers for that. Let me share this with you…
Years ago I picked up a Glasgow Cup medal, a Celtic cross entwined with shamrocks, won by Alec Thomson, it is the most beautiful medal and the thought that it was won by one of the three Thomson’s who played in that team gives me a feeling of great joy, I treasure it. John Thomson, Alec Thomson, Bertie Thomson, Peter Scarff, Jimmy McGrory, Willie Maley WoW.

May 10, 2022 9:48 am


Yes a great team with some real superstars … sadly too many died young.

Bertie is buried in view of my dad’s grave ( as is Peter Douds)

I received an interesting item on why the Richard Thompson’s name changed from Thomson. It had always bothered me that name variance. From my own research I knew the family had originated in Dumfries and Richard spoke about his ‘uncle’ who played with Celts in the 20’s

Anyway the mystery was solved with an article sent to me by my buddy.

It all hinged on a new brass door plate … with the wrong spelling


Ps there is an iconic foto of both Peter Scarff & Bertie Thomson chasing the referee around the back of the goals at Hampden in the 31 Cup Final ( or replay). Maybe they thought the ref. Had made a wee mistake…

Both lads grew up literally a mile from each other and were both dead in their twenties.

Heroes both!

PPs can you post a foto of the medal?

May 10, 2022 10:01 am


Peter Scarff & Bertie Thomson… wantin’ a word with the ref..1931 Cup Final replay.

May 10, 2022 10:05 am


Classic photo!

May 10, 2022 10:23 am

Ses, Got a picture (saved) of the medal but don’t know how to post it.

Noel Skytrot
May 10, 2022 10:33 am

There have been some goals that have been massive moments in the league but slapping the huns about in the 3-0 game at CP was the turning point for me. I’ve attended countless games against the dead club and the current mob but the atmosphere that night was something special.

May 10, 2022 10:38 am


I’ll do a trade – if you agree to Bobby sending me your email ( or get mine from one of the lads )

I’ll send you the newspaper item – it’s a screen grab as behind a paywall )


May 10, 2022 10:45 am


Check your mail,please. Just sent you SALTIRE’s addy.

May 10, 2022 10:47 am

Bobby thanks buddy

Bada Bing
May 10, 2022 11:07 am

Dundee United have cancelled a number of tickets for tomorrow night’s game, possibly after checking postcodes…….

Sol Kitts
May 10, 2022 11:08 am

The 3-0 victory over them was the turning point for me. Up till then, I hoped we would win the league. After that match I KNEW we would win it. The players that night were immense and showed the huns who was the boss. We’ve been Champions in waiting since that night. Roll on Wednesday to make it official.

May 10, 2022 11:16 am

Morning all & Packy.
Enjoyed that lead article Magua, keep them coming!
For me those games at the end of Jan. & the begining of Feb. especially after the 3-0 victory, gave me the belief.

May 10, 2022 11:34 am

Ses – Bobby, Sent the pictures twice and both times they have been returned as undelivered.

May 10, 2022 11:49 am

Tony Ralston’s 97th minute winner at Ross County and Liel Abada’s 90th minute goal against Dundee United are right up there this season but the appointment of Ange (the luck of this board is unbelievable in that regard) is certainly the most important filled vacancy the club has made. I don’t like to get carried away but there’s something about the man that makes you think he’s built a team from scratch and won the league in his first season, with the shitshow he inherited then what could he achieve with the right backing? Now this board certainly have a lot of faults but they’ve given Ange everything he’s asked for thus far and should be commended for that, although I’m not absolving them from their many, many contentious decisions over the last twenty years. If Ange can build a side to challenge in Europe then we might see the glory days return to Celtic Park. We all know we’re a club with the stature for Champion’s League football every year but that’s where the board have failed us consistently over the years, hopefully Ange can get us through the group stages at first and build on that in subsequent years. The future looks bright under our manager and the only thing that can change that is this board, surely even they can’t fcuk that up could they?

May 10, 2022 11:56 am We Stand With Seville

May 10, 2022 11:56 am

Torky56, agreed, I mentioned similar yesterday. What Ange & the board do this summer is pivitol and will let us know how much things have changed without PL on the throne!
ps Welcome to the site!

May 10, 2022 12:17 pm

Fantastic article MAGUA 👏 👍
Like a lot of folk, Ralston’s 97th winner was a point in which I thought we can do this.
So on to Tannadice on Wednesday and get the party started 🎆🎆🍻🍻🥂☘☘
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 🤬🏆

May 10, 2022 12:26 pm


Brilliant and about time 🙂


May 10, 2022 12:38 pm

Early winter break won Celtic the league.

When the winter break was started earlier than scheduled, it gave us an outside chance.

We had such a limited squad available at that point, that there was a high likelihood we would would have lost to both Hibs and Sevco.

We took the chance and did well in the January transfer window and we’re now Champions.

Well done to Ange, he really has worked a minor miracle and to all the players who have given absolutely everything, and to everyone behind the scenes as well who has contributed to making this season a wonderful success.

Hail Hail.

May 10, 2022 12:51 pm


Not sure why bouncing mail must be a faulty addy.

I’ve sent Bobby a personal mail to forward – hopefully, that fixes ok.

Will check later as must dash.


Jobo Baldie
May 10, 2022 1:16 pm

For me, when Tony Ralston won the game in Dingwall I didn’t immediately think we might win the league. It was more that the goal just kept us in with a fighting chance.

May 10, 2022 1:47 pm

Greetings from a pub in sheep land
On way to Elgin and with the no alcohol on train malarkey I needed a pit stop 🍻🍻

Billy Bhoy
May 10, 2022 1:47 pm

Great stuff Magua l

Of all the pivotal moments of the season the 97th minute in Dingwall clinches it for me. No, not THAT one – the other one!

Now, I’m not claiming ALL the credit for our imminent title win (I put that extra word in just for Jobo) but I have a wee story to tell you all.

On SCF day in 2016 with the score at 2-2 Hibs got an injury time corner. Just before Liam Henderson took the set piece I dropped to my knees on the carpet clenched my hands together TB style and said aloud ” if there’s a football God up there……” I didnt get any further as David Gray bulleted a header into the roof of the net. My son and I went absolutely crazy!

And so, ,6 years on, with the huns hanging on 3-2 in Dingwall in the 97th minute and a corner being awarded to Ross County I looked across to my son, dropped to my knees and, well, you know the rest!

That for me was the moment when I said to myself we’re going to do this! The 3-0 at Paradise simply confirmed my suspicion that we had the best players, the best team and the best manager.

Like many, I’m absolutely staggered that this collection of low budget journeymen have somehow stumbled their way to the EL final. They have been technically inferior to the last four sides they’ve played and yet there they are!

One of my hun neighbours said to me yesterday ” its amazing to think we can both win two trophies this season”. I felt like saying – to paraphrase wee Bertie Auld – AYE – but oor two are GUARANTEED ll

The Real McCoy
May 10, 2022 2:01 pm

Can I please request a special indulgence on the 18th and 21st of this month of Mary 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Bada Bing
May 10, 2022 2:12 pm

Jota’s late winner at Pittodrie in October, was a massive result as well

May 10, 2022 2:15 pm

Here you go MAGUA
Dundee 1 Celtic 2 10th December 2000 / Irvine Bhoy

Puff puff
May 10, 2022 2:26 pm

Brilliant MAGUA … definitely agree with all the posts and the moments in games. 2 moments i remember also were the first game of the season against the wee huns and a defeat but i saw enough to think Garrybhoy and McCaff just might be brighter than i had thought .
The other one was 20 before the game away to Bodo and reading the team sheet , let’s get this shit show over there’s a title to be won .hh

May 10, 2022 2:37 pm

Puff. 2.26.
Ha, that made me laugh.
McCaff will be on in about 6 hours time, once he’s worked out a comeback line, to you.

St tams
May 10, 2022 2:38 pm

The last time that I was at Tannadice was 2008 , when we won the league.
My brother and I were in the Utd stand . When we scored we both jumped up and stewards saw us and got coppers. We were taken downstairs, where the cop was taking my brothers details, I said I had to go to the toilet and came out the other door and went back into another area of the stand.😂😂

I’m still hopeful of getting a ticket for tomorrow night. But if not, I can’t decide whether to stay in house or venture into Coatbridge somewhere to watch it.

May 10, 2022 2:39 pm

Just a reminder that the next round of Superbru starts with a fixture tonight between Dundee and Hibs

Puff puff
May 10, 2022 2:43 pm

Jimmynotpaul . Definitely by Friday night.

May 10, 2022 2:55 pm

Thank you all for your kind comments. I would love to have replied to you all individually, but hell’s bell, there’s a title party coming up. So valuable drinking time is of the essence. Some of the ideas in this article, formed within me, after we had put the Huns to the sword at Ibrox. So I was jotting down a wee idea here, a wee idea there, but did not dare commit anything to print…until the recent 1-1 draw with you know who. After Saturday’s game, I was confident enough to finally press the send button in my email account.

Thinking on tomorrow’s game, got me to thinking about two of the previous times, where the Celts have clinched the league at Tannadice.

Back in 1981, Celtic clinched the league at Tannadice, with a thrilling 2-3 victory. Tommy Burns scored an absolute beauty that night.

In 2008 of course, we again clinched the league at the same venue, with big JVH scoring the winner. Shortly before this game, Tommy Burns went to his heavenly reward. That particular title was dedicated to the immortal memory of a Celtic great. Tommy Burns R.I.P.

Hail Hail.