The 4-2 Game

On the 21st of May 1979, Celtic FC had a date with destiny. Not many games had been played between January and March, due to the big freeze. When the league resumed in March, 3 teams were still in with a chance of winning the title… ourselves, Rangers and Dundee Utd. Over the following weeks, the name of the league leaders changed with every passing week. Dundee Utd fell out of the race, after a 2-1 defeat to the Celts in March.

 

And so, it came to pass, that myself and my dad walked along the Gallowgate, on a fine and sunny late spring evening, on what proved to be one of the finest moments in the history of our great club.

 

Celtic v Rangers. At stake was the destiny of that year’s league flag. The situation was this. This was Celtic’s last game of the season. Rangers still had two games to play after tonight. If Celtic won, they would be champions, as they would be five points ahead of Rangers. It was two points for a win in those days. A draw on the other hand would suit Rangers, as Celtic would be three points clear. Win their last two games, and Rangers would be the champions.

 

This was only my second Rangers game. My debut at this fixture came earlier in the season. Celtic won 3-1 in Paradise. I could not believe the atmosphere, but I was so wrapped up in the game, there was no time for nerves. On the 21st of May? There is no other way of putting this…I was totally bricking it!

 

The crowd that evening was later given as a disappointing 52’000. Here’s a wee fact. This game was originally due to be played in early January 1979. All the tickets-60,000-had been sold. The tickets were of course valid for any rearranged fixture. As there was no pay-in gate operating in May, if you had lost your tickets from January, you weren’t getting into the game. Another reason for the disappointing crowd figure, could have been the transport strikes that had been on-going.

 

As we took our seats in the front of the main stand, right on the 18 yard line at the Celtic End, I looked around the ground with sheer astonishment-the whole place was going nuts. Given what was at stake, this was unsurprising. The tension was palpable…and this was before the teams had even appeared.

 

The game kicked off. From memory there was not a lot of football being played, at least initially. In the 9th minute, the enemy scored, with their first attack of the game. I had a wonderful view of this goal, a fine volley from Alex MacDonald. Three quarters of the ground was in total silence. As often happened in these situations, the goal became a wake-up call for the opposition. Approaching half-time, we were all looking forward to the second half. With the seconds ticking down, our very own Johnny Doyle, became embroiled in an altercation with the Rangers’ goal scorer. With MacDonald on the deck, Johnny aimed a kick at the Ranger. Despite being some distance from the incident, I remember this vividly. Red card. I was almost in tears as Johnny ran towards the tunnel.

 

The second half started with wave upon wave of Celtic attacks. On the 66th minute of the game, a pass by Davie Provan was met by big Roy, who crashed the ball into the Rangers’ net. All around me, fellow Celts were hugging and celebrating like mad. On the 74th minute, George McCluskey put the Celts 2-1 ahead. Again, bedlam ensued. Two minutes later however, we were brought crashing down to earth. From a Rangers’ corner, the ball broke to Bobby Russell, who managed to squeeze the ball passed a packed Celtic defence. Hell’s bells. What happened next is the stuff of legend. The following is a direct quote from Celtic wiki:

 

‘The courage of the team was not to go unrewarded, however. A cross by McCluskey was cut off by McCloy. Unfortunately for the Girvan Lighthouse, he only succeeded in touching the ball on to the head of his colleague, Colin Jackson, and the ball rebounded from Bomber’s bonce, into the back of the net’.

 

Time seemed to stand still. Silence around the whole ground, then an explosion of joy errupted around Celtic Park, as we realised that the ball was in the net. Could the ten men actually do this? The answer to that question came shortly after. As Rangers pressed for equaliser, a Tam MacAdam clearance from a corner, was blootered up the field. Murdo MacLeod controlled the ball, and from what seemed like 30 yards out, hit a screamer past the unfortunate custodian of the Rangers’ goal.

 

On the final whistle, tears of joy and relief were shed by more than a few Celts. We were heading into the following season’s European Champions Cup, and life could not be sweeter.

 

Due to the transport strike, we left almost immediately after the final whistle. For some reason, my dad decided to go into the town via London Road. By the time we got to Brigton Cross, mayhem was afoot. There were Huns fighting Huns, Huns fighting the polis, and polis fighting other polis. Ok, I made that last bit up. On arriving home, we discovered that the game would not be on the telly, due to a strike by TV technicians. Did I care? Not one little bit.

 

So here’s to:

Latchford, McGrain, Lynch, Aitken, MacAdam, Conroy(Lennox), McCluskey, MacLeod and Doyle. Sub: Davidson.

 

Celtic Immortals.

 

Magua.

I am indebted to the fine folks at Celtic wiki.

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BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 7:14 am

TWISTY Napsters follow the link

https://sentinelcelts.com/2023/01/19/the-twisty-naps-competition-part-four/

Last week of the competition. Who will find the 40/1 winner to come out of the pack at the line? Will one of the chasing pack hit a spurt just when he needs it,or will our long-time leader pull out all the stops to prove his quality?

It’s all up for grabs on an otherwise dull day at the races. All the action is here!

Prestonpans bhoys
March 25, 2023 7:25 am

What a night that was, the feeling of dispare when they took the lead is still memorable. Looking at the hoards celebrating a league win was crushing but no it was not to be , as we fought back.

Murdo’s goal as it shot into the back of the net to secure a victory, 10 men won the league. One of those games you proudly say , I was there ☘️☘️

A thing of beauty
March 25, 2023 7:50 am

Magua,
Great leader. Captures an iconic game perfectly though I suppose I’m not qualified to say as I was too young to attend and there was no TV. Your words paint a brilliant picture.
PPB,
From last night. Great idea about posting memorable games. I’m sure there are a few on here that will have some brilliant memories and not all about the match!!
Sol,
Sorry to hear about your MIL. Twisty’s offer of advice was I’m sure much appreciated. Having friends who have had to pick nursing homes for elderly parents tells me that it’s a difficult choice for all sorts of different reasons.
Craig 76,
Thanks for the videos from last night. I’ll watch them later when I will have f all else to watch given that sky seem to have no international football on their channels. Now I can’t be arsed with international football but I hate not having the option to turn it off. Especially when I’m paying for the privilege of having nothing to watch.

Prestonpans bhoys
March 25, 2023 8:00 am

The former Rangers captain is heading back to his old stomping ground for tomorrow’s charity bounce game between retired Ibrox icons and a world select.

Well how much money will go to charity, they have previous……

Craig 76
March 25, 2023 8:00 am

MAGUA
A fine leader to start the day
Some of the only footage of that game that exist’s

Prestonpans bhoys
March 25, 2023 8:42 am

ATOB

One if my stories has been stolen by the leader…..Hampden riot and Madrid quarter final may be next!!

Leggy
March 25, 2023 8:46 am

Morning all,

Great article Bobby 👏👏👏👏👏

Remember it well, behind the goal at the Celtic end and the noise after Murdo scored, well absolutely fantastic.

What a night 🍀🍀🍀

ASWGL
March 25, 2023 8:47 am

Magua excellent article 👍

Prestonpans bhoys March 24, 2023 10:20 pm

During this international break which some may be interested nor not . Think about, two memorable celtic occasions over the decades which are personal, start on Bobby’s new thread tomorrow should make. Interesting reading…..Will post this tomorrow

===============

Prestonpans bhoys, the two most memorable Celtic memories for me, are the 4-2 game as in today’s fine leader by Magua. Ten men won the league, 4 of us went, that year it seemed everything was against us, we had a horrid winter and Celtic had to play catch up with our games, I think we might have played 5 games in the previous 10 days, due to fixtures backlogs, and our chances of winning the league seemed quite remote, I remember we had to play St Mirren at Ibrox on the Friday night for some reason (I don’t actually recall), then Hearts on the Monday.

Then onto the huns at Parkhead game, fekkin buses went on strike, fekkin TV camera crews went on strike, and they scored early on, and a draw was enough for them to likely win the league, if this wasn’t bad enough Johnny Doyle gets sent off. However Roy Aitken was an absolute warrior that night, and he equalised, to make it 1-1, he almost made it 2-1 luckily though his blocked shot fell to George McCLuskey who buried it. A few minutes later they score again and the draw is back in their favour, until Jackson scores an OG that’s punched aff the back of his head by McCloy, we’re going mental, but we know if they get an equaliser the baw is up in the slates. can 10 man Celtic keep it at 3-2 ?, then to cap it all off as Magua says, Murdo scores a screamer to make it 4-2.

Then that famous chant is born “10 men won the league tra la la la lah” Walking home from Parkhead, the 4 of us get chased by a horde of zombies, and have to run, almost to George Square, cnuts still cannae take a beating !

The other unsurprisingly is watching that famous day in Lisbon on our black n white TV with my brother my Da and Uncle (all 3 who are sadly no longer here) but I recall that day well, as a kid, my father and uncles sheer joy, and my brother and me, out after the game had finished, playing football in our street in Maryhill, the street now decked in green and white, knowing we had just witnessed something special.

HH

SteveNaive
March 25, 2023 9:19 am

Was playing football that night. Our team was mixed, around half from Airdrie, half from Coatbridge. Half the team playing like demons the other half despondent depending on the updates from the radio at the side. We won 5-1. Half delirious, half sick at the end. Great night.

The Gombeen Man
March 25, 2023 9:19 am

Great read this morning Magua.
Your contributions to the blog are always welcome. It’s admirable how you always so gracious to other posters.

Thanks for the fine start to my weekend.

Auldheid @ 6.56pm,

“Compared to what happened in Scotland – disguised renumeration and undisclosed contracts to dodge taxes and gain a sporting advantage, paying millions to a referee chief – even if you accept either parties’ version of events, is on a different level.”

P67.

Operation – ‘Very little to see here?’

It would seem, according to P67, that even the misdemeanors of the Chairman of the SFSA and ex- Labour Party First Minister, Henry McLeish surpass the years of cheating in Scottish football.

Who can blame P67 for the minimisation?

The prospect of a Scottish Government appointee as a Football Regulator should not fill folk with optimism.

There is no discernable track record of fairness and equality when it comes to the Scottish establishment and Celtic.

Scotland has a long way to go before it will convince this Celtic supporter that she is able to administer her affairs fairly, without prejudice.

That’s where Wolfe Tone and others have perhaps made a slight miscalculation. In their examination of the exploitation of Ireland by the British Isle, they failed to fully appreciate Scotland’s culpability.

The Six Counties remains Scotland’s little empire and a failure to address the deep rooted faults in the Scottish psyche and the revisionism in Scottish history is a mistake.

Perhaps Hadrain was right to build that wall?

There’s little to suggest that Scotland has left behind her capacity for backstabbing and conflict. Failings that were always her Achilles heel and easily exploited.

There is nothing in the treatment of the malfeasance at Ibrox under David Murray and what happened subsequently, by the Scottish authorities, to have any confidence in Scotland’s ability to regulate football fairly.

Maybe a Regulator should be appointed to regulate the activities of the Scottish establishment (all parties)?

Scotland’s establishment needs to get itself in some semblance of order first.

– Have a great weekend everyone.

Leggy
March 25, 2023 9:21 am

Apologies Magua,

Didn’t know you penned the article.

Cap doffed to your good self.

HH 🍀🍀

Jimbo67
March 25, 2023 9:23 am

Morning all

Thanks for the article. The greatest game ever played at Parkhead? Possibly. Certainly the best I’ve seen. First night of my life I stayed out all night – walking home in the morning past all the wee nyaff bluenoses and big huns going to school and work I felt 10 feet tall.

A game that has long had a ‘you had to be there’ feel to it, a cult match familiar only to those who were there. The lack of decent footage has meant it has never passed into the wider non-Celtic folk memory in the way that some cup finals and the league deciders of 1983, 1986, 2003 and 2005 have. If you say ‘the 4-2 game’ to somebody who missed it and they might think you are talking about the bittersweet win of May 1983 because that was fully covered on TV and which sports a memorable Arthur Montford commentary- but oh, to have the man in the check jacket describing Murdo’s goal.

If I were to choose the most important events in my life- my parents dying, going to live in Australia, meeting Yvonne M, Covid etc- the 4-2 game ( and the Feijenoord loss) would be in there. It was magnificent.

Jimbo

The Gombeen Man
March 25, 2023 9:53 am

Jimthetim 53,

I hope you’re well Jim?

I don’t know if you have came across Sr Clare Crockett from the Brandywell in Derry?
Sr Clare was a young nun and was tragically killed by an earthquake in Ecuador in 2016, aged 33.

Her life seems to have touched many.

Here’s a short video of her life story.
(There’s a longer version on YouTube).

https://youtu.be/HvCwS-Ufl4Y

Keep well Jim.

St tams
March 25, 2023 9:59 am

Great stuff Magua.
Going down the Gallowgate that night after the game , was something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced since after a game.
I actually thought Murdos goal was struck from 40yrds 🤣🤣

Sol Kitts
March 25, 2023 10:41 am

Big thanks to everyone who passed on their good thoughts for my mil. You’re all stars, God bless you all.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 12:14 pm

MAGUA

What a night,indeed! I still rate Colin Jackson’s goal as my favourite ever,and Murdo’s screamer was the icing on the cake. What a view I had of that from The Celtic End.

The TV strike was a bummer. Sprinted off the supporters bus,only to find out the awful truth. CRAIG76 as ever has manfully done his best,but those of us who were there don’t need the highlights-we were there!

And those who weren’t? Well,they’ve heard about that night often enough from us that they might as well have been. Kicking every ball.

What a night,indeed.

bada Bing 1
March 25, 2023 12:42 pm

The greatest Celtic game I have been at.

Jobo Baldie
March 25, 2023 12:42 pm

Magua – a brilliant lead article.
I didn’t get to that name and cant remember why. Was in a friends house and her dad was away to the game. No idea of the score until he came ina round 10.30. Even then it took till about 11pm jntil I knew we had won as he proceeded to detail his journey to the game, every aspect of the play…. it was like reliving it as I’d it was live! Uncle Harry as he was known- and still is – was a real character. Great memories.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 12:57 pm

JOBO

Exams,maybe? My O-grades had just finished around then. Not that anything was stopping me from going anyway.

Brave words,eh? Easy enough when my parents were down south at a union conference…

Magua
March 25, 2023 1:42 pm

Prestonpans bhoys

It was indeed some night.

ATOB

Thank you. Up until the Centenary Season, I always remembered Murdo’s shot as being from about 30yards. A new history of the club was released on video. The goals from the 4-2 game were in the video. Murdo goal was scored from the edge of the 18 yard line.

Craig76

It was actually your posting of the last minute goal links the other day, that gave me the inspiration to pen my memories of the game. So, cheers for that. 😀

Leggy

Thank you, kind sir. 😀

ASWGL

Many thanks. I enjoyed that post of yours.

TGM

Many thanks for your kind comments. I always enjoy your history posts. We are never to old to learn something new.

SteveNaive

Thank you for your reply.

Jimbo67

Thank you for sharing your own memories of that special night. I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘other’ 4-2 game. The YNWA at half-time was one of the best ever.

St tams

Aye, true enough. It’s amazing how the memory can play tricks in you. Thanks for the reply.

BMCUW

What a night indeed. With the way the game panned out that night, we couldn’t relax until Murdo’s goal. It’s amazing to think of how many absolute belters that Murdo scored against the Huns.

bada bing1

What a night it was.

Jobo

Thanks for your kind words.

Catch ye all later.

Hail Hail.

St tams
March 25, 2023 1:53 pm

Sol Kitts

I have the upmost sympathy with you , regarding your mother in law.
I am not long back from the GRI, where my father in law has been for the last 4 weeks.
My wife was called away from work yesterday, being told that he was not good at all.
He seems to have rallied again, mot for the first time.
It’s a complete roller-coaster for my wife, as she lost her mother 6 months ago.

Prayers said for both of them🙏

Martin
March 25, 2023 1:55 pm

I can think of a few games from the last century which offered high drama but for sheer intensity that last fixture of 1978-79 was un-matched. At 3-2 my fear was that relentless Rangers pressure might force an equaliser. Would Celtic’s bravery all be for nought? Up-stepped Murdo. His strike was decisive and all fear evaporated.

Footnotes: I don’t think John Doyle kicked out at McDonald; he nudged him with his toe. In a team of heroes, one man was immense – Roy Aitken.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:01 pm

MAGUA

The other 4-2 game,two down at half time? Oh,that YNWA will live forever. We couldn’t believe we were two down,we couldn’t even remember them being up the park twice! But we knew we were gonna win.

Somehow.

Poor Jim Stewart. Great keeper. Wrong place that day,wrong place at Love St in 86 too. We were in the right place,SOLKITTS and me and apparently everyone else on Timternet. The Enclosure. Standing and giving it laldy.

SOLKITTS has an old press photo of it,and we are in it! Yes,he has a moustache-or a stained top lip from the Guinness-and I seem to have some colour in my hair,but it is definitely us.

That day lasted a little more than the ninety minutes,even if we didn’t win the league. Last hurrah for Charlie Nick,George McCluskey. For Billy McNeil. End of an era. The end of my teens!

Ah fuckit. Gimme the old time rock n roll.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:08 pm

MARTIN 155

I’ve taken the liberty of editing your moniker,as I don’t think you want your full name to be revealed. I apologise,of course,if I’m wrong.

In the box below your comment,where it asks for your name,please put how you wish to be known. Preferably not something that’s already taken! And welcome aboard.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:17 pm

MARTIN

I thought he was nudging him to see if he was still alive! It wasn’t violent, or a flying kick. Bloody stupid though. Also,it was in the second half,aye. But the details don’t make a legend,the narrative does. Strategy and logistics win wars. Not tactics. Like players make headlines,but fans create the heroes.

bada Bing 1
March 25, 2023 2:30 pm

You watch Celtic, then you watch this mob……

CaltonTongues
March 25, 2023 2:32 pm

The 4-2 game. Was in the middle of the Jungle near the back and the camera lights were on throughout the game, they were recording. Now, if the huns had won, the game would have been shown later on STV.

HH

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:35 pm

CALTONTONGUES

Aye,the red globe at the top of the camera,gantry above us? I was in The Celtic End that night,but I certainly take your word for it. Basterts.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:38 pm

BADABING

Yer no’ watching Scotland,ur ye? Yet you sound surprised?

big packy
March 25, 2023 2:39 pm

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, magua brilliant post, was not at the game, because I had only just met wee Joan, so I had to prioritise 🤩 🤩

CaltonTongues
March 25, 2023 2:40 pm

BMCUWP,

STV’s cameras used to hang down below the gantry at the front with two lights on each one – that’s how you could tell what channel the game was on that weekend if you didn’t see the vans outside on Janefield Street.

That night there were four lights on all night.

As you say Basterts!

HH

Jimbo67
March 25, 2023 2:46 pm

Magua

I was at Ibrox for the ‘other’ 4-2 game and that YNWA was incredible and unforgettable. I suppose it’s our equivalent to Liverpool v AC Milan 22 years later.

Jimbo

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 2:56 pm

JIMBO67

I’m always amazed that it took so long for us to actually be introduced! We must have been shoving each other out of the way at bars for years.

McCaff
March 25, 2023 3:19 pm

Liverpool v Celtic legends live at Anfield right now…
https://www.youtube.com/live/qLDWo_KAEKM?feature=share

McCaff
March 25, 2023 3:21 pm

Commentator says Sammy Hyppia runs 10k every day and is probably only a couple of pounds heavier than when he played.
Charlie Adam on the other hand is about twice the size of most players on the pitch!! 🤣

Jimbo67
March 25, 2023 3:25 pm

BMCUWP

Given my high frequency of attendance at matches throughout the 80s and 90 and, it must be admitted, fondness for a pint I think that you and others here were probably involved in some ‘jostling’ with me. More than once

Jimbo

Sol Kitts
March 25, 2023 3:26 pm

BMCUWP @ 201
Bitter sweet memories of that day, and the odd comical one. Bitter that Dundee Utd won the league that day, sweet that we beat the huns in the 2nd half after rousing the troops with the best YNWA ever. Comical memory of that pie skelping the copper with the scrambled egg on his hat, gravy and gristle everywhere. Laughed when he turned to the crowd and asked, “Who flung that?” Oh yeah, right, we’re gonnae tell you.
You never did like the pies at Ibrox. 😂😂

Jimbo67
March 25, 2023 3:27 pm

McCaff

So Charlie Adams has actually lost weight since last season ?

Jimbo

IniquitousIV
March 25, 2023 3:28 pm

Hard to understand the Tartan Army chanting about “Germany, here we come.” We are in with Spain, Norway and Georgia, for God’s sake! Spain will dismantle us, and Haaland and the Napoli left winger could probably beat us on their own.
Did I mention that I was pessimistic about Scotland’s chances?
We’ll be on the outside looking in again, like a street urchin gazing through a window of a bakery.

Sol Kitts
March 25, 2023 3:31 pm

Charlie Adam, fattest diver in football……

IniquitousIV
March 25, 2023 3:35 pm

Brooie’s Fleetwood currently 1-0 up on Lincoln. If results stand, they are 12th, smack dab in the middle of the table, 13 points above the drop zone and 15 points off a play off spot.
A creditable start for Broonie.

IniquitousIV
March 25, 2023 3:40 pm

Lyndon Dykes battling Alex Gogic in an international game looks odd.

McCaff
March 25, 2023 3:41 pm

Stevie G scores a pen for Liverpool, then gives it tight to the Celtic End…cue a load of stuff lobbed onto the pitch at him, including a mobile phone! In a charity game FFS!!!😖

McCaff
March 25, 2023 3:50 pm

Superb play by Scotland to go 2-0 up! Christie wins the ball and crosses from almost the corner flag to the back post…Dykes cushions a header behind the defender for McTominay to take it on his knee then crash it high into the net!! A beautiful goal!!

McCaff
March 25, 2023 3:57 pm

Supersub makes it 3! A quick free kick on the left, in behind the full back and an easy low cross is half cleared in the box but Robertson collects and squares to McTominay for his second goal!
Full time 3-0!
We’re on the match wi Stevie’s Army!! 😁

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 4:06 pm

SOLKITTS

Ah,happy daze. Daft boayishness and never any malice. Which might have been difficult to explain to that cop,or various other ones over the years. Like the two from London Road nick one rather pleasant evening. Etc.

I’ve never had scrambled egg with a pie,I should have asked him if he recommended it.

Leftclicktic
March 25, 2023 4:11 pm

Just watched Equinox win breaking the track record in a canter in dubai.
What a horse.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
March 25, 2023 4:37 pm

LEFTCLICKTIC

Didn’t even realise that horse was running today. Will have a swatch on YouTube,thanks.

The king TAL🍀🍀
March 25, 2023 4:47 pm

Who gives a flying fuck about Scotland.TAL,🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀💯🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪

McCaff
March 25, 2023 4:49 pm

King TAL…me!

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