For the huns game that night I was in the temporary stand. When I got to my seat I looked over to the huns’ end and seeing and hearing them made me even more nervous than I already was. I can mind thinking the atmospere was like nothing I had ever witnessed. When I watch Old Firm games now, I wish we had more midweek games against them. Somehow the occasion seems better when it’s at night; it gives it the European night look and feel.
Onto the game, and this game had everything. Many Celtic fans will question my logic here, but although the result in this game went in favour of the huns, it’s still one of my favourite Old Firm games I’ve been to.
Rangers started with the familiar faces that night; Goram, Gough, Gascoigne, Albertz, etc. Celtic had Stewart Kerr in goal – only there after Marshall decided to rugby tackle a Motherwell player to earn a red card at Celtic Park, giving Kerr the chance to stake his claim and get the No. 1 jersey full time. Brian O’Neill (we’ll get to him at some point), Tom Boyd, Alan Stubbs and Jackie McNamara made up the back four. In midfield we had Peter Grant, Paolo Di Canio, Morten Weighorst and Andy Thom. Up front were Simon Donnelly and big Pierre.
Only 8 minutes in Rangers scored. The ball was humped up the park from the Rangers’ penalty box, Brian O’Neill chested the ball down but immediately slipped and fell backwards. Laudrup rounded him and with Stubbs backing off slammed the ball across Kerr’s right hand side and into the corner.
I can still hear and see the huns’ celebrations when Laudrup scored that goal. It’s strange but everytime they score at Celtic Park now and I hear them it reminds me of that night.
As the game went on we seemed to take control and had the majority of the play. However as we all know at that time Smith had a game plan. In fact, the Cardigan is still using the same tactics to this day against us.
Weighorst had a great chance to level the game when he was 8 yards out but leaned back and ballooned his shot over the bar. Di Canio broke up the park and was chopped down by Derek McInnes 30 yards from goal. From the resulting free kick, Pierre’s effort was well saved by Goram.
Laudrup had a great chance to make it 2-0 before half time when he ran through on goal. However this time Kerr made a great save which would be the first of many in this game.
Our good friend Hugh Dallas also took some stick. Rangers had a free kick just outside the centre circle in their own half. Gough seemingly pushed the ball towards one of his team mates. Pierre took the ball and ran through on goal claiming Gough took the kick. Looking back at it Gough didn’t take the kick, however would we have expected to get a decision like that anyway? Maybe I’m just paranoid……
I can remember thinking at half time we can get this back, and was praying for Tommy Burns to get Cadete on the field. He’d later come on for Andy Thom.
The 2nd half had more incidents than the first by a long shot.
A penalty for Rangers. Gascoigne slid the ball through to Laudrup and Kerr came running out. Laudrup touched the ball past Kerr and was taken out. I’m thinking if the huns score here, it’s game over. Gascoigne steps up and puts the ball to Kerr’s left however Kerr saves. We’re still in it.
Albertz allowed to run through on goal by Dallas and the linesman on the South Stand side. Tommy Burns was subsequently sent to the stand for chasing the linesman down the track to argue over the fact he didn’t flag for offside.
The fox. Ran onto the park midway through the first half. The animal didn’t know where to go. Not Davie Dodds, the fox.
Weighorst again had a great chance late in the 2nd half. From about the same spot at the opposite end it seemed like he was going to level the score. Gough made an important last gap clearance.
Then another moment when I said “it’s over”. Celtic were pushed high up the park and the ball was played between Boyd and Stubbs at the centre circle. Laudrup was offside but left the ball as he knew this. Albertz took the ball and ran towards goal with Peter Van Vossen beside him. The Celtic defence were still shouting for offside. Albertz got into the box and from about 9 yards pretended to shoot, however slid the ball to his left towards Van Vossen. Kerr was off his line, the pass beat him and it seemed like 2-0 was only a second away. No, Van Vossen lifted the ball over the bar from 6 yards. When I watched this game on Sky a few days later I can still remember Smith going mental at Van Vossen. At least we had something to laugh at that night.
It seemed like the team got belief from that incident and again pushed forward for the equaliser. The ball was lofted into the Rangers box with about 8 minutes left. Cadete won the header and the ball landed at Donnelly’s feet. He tried to play a 1-2 in the box but didn’t get a chance to see “2”. Gough came sliding through Donnelly – penalty. Simon Donnelly’s face said it all – he looked towards the bench fist clenched and you could see how much it meant to him.
I’m standing in the temporary stand thinking we’re back in it. Pierre steps up. Slow run up and hits it low towards Goram’s right hand side. Goram gets down to his right and puts it out for the corner. Eff off….
To this day I’m convinced Goram shouted at Pierre what I think he did. I won’t write it here but I’m sure those who read this will know what I’m talking about.
My dad and I were talking my uncle back home in the car that night. On the way to the car I remember shitting myself as I had geared myself up to see him losing the plot. He said one thing on the way home “how can Pierre put the ball in the top corner from 30 yards week in week out from free kicks, yet miss that penalty?”
And that was that, my first Old Firm game. Again, not the result I’d have wanted but looking back a game that had everything and at a time where passion was at its highest in these games.