Posts Tagged ‘Celtic’

2009/10 – Game 3 – Albion Rovers vs. Celtic XI

July 21, 2009

Albion Rovers vs. Celtic XI

Albion Rovers 0 vs. 0 Celtic XI
Celtic win 5-4 on penalties

Jock Stein Friendship Cup
Monday 20th July 2009, Kick-Off 3pm
Cliftonhill, Coatbridge

It’s a bank holiday today. Not being a 9 to 5 worker I’m not sure what bank holiday it is exactly. Anyway I presume that’s the reason that this game is kicking off on a Monday afternoon.

I attended this fixture last season. It’s an annual match between two of the late Jock Stein’s clubs. Last year the side featured Thomas Gravesen and Derek Riordan, but since there’s no desperate fire sale of unwanted players at Celtic Park this close season there are no big names on show.

It’s pouring down when I leave the house, but the weather has cleared up by the time I alight the train at Coatdyke. There’s a few Celtic fans getting tucked into some bottles of Buckfast on the train.

To honour Jock Stein it looks like Rovers have dug out a bar of soap he washed himself with as a player, and put it on the sink in the toilet.

There’s only one side of the ground open. I presume that’s probably the case for all of Rovers’ home games. There’s a decent crowd filing in.

I buy a pie and a burn-the-moth-aff-ye style Bovril for two quid. I decide to take a seat in the stand. It’s pull down wooden seats and after a while it becomes pretty uncomfortable. I’m sat at the far end beside the area reserved for the big-shots. From here I can see the trophy sat on top of the DJ’s decks.

The cup is to be presented today by the actor David Hayman who is taken out onto the pitch beforehand to plug his charity, for which there’s a collection being taken. Former Rovers manager John McCormack is also introduced to the crowd.

There’s a wee young squad of Celtic fans that position themselves just underneath the DJ box. They’ve come decked out for the day with plenty of flags, balloons and scarves. They’ve also got a green flare. They set that off much to the consternation of the stewards who scramble around for a bit not quite sure what to do in order to deal with it. One of them grabs a fire extinguisher, but doesn’t use it. Another lifts the flare and puts it down in the wee nook in front of them. All this really does is swirl the smoke around closer to them. An official asks who threw the offending item, but as no one has any clue there’s little that can be done about it.

A green flare goes off

The lads give it plenty of singsonging all day, even although occasionally, like when they ‘all do the huddle’ they’re facing away from the actual match. They sing a few songs in support of John Hartson and even unfurl a ‘Get Well Soon Big Bad John’ banner which was a nice touch.

Dance Dymanic are Albion Rovers very own cheerleaders and they take to the field before kick-off to dance around to some awful thumping techno music. Frankly they seemed a bit young for some of the wolf-whistles they were getting from some sections of the crowd.

The fixture was a one-sided affair last year, but the two teams are quite well matched today. Rovers have the odd half-chance but it’s all Celtic with Rovers’ keeper pulling off one great save in the first half.

Tony Mowbray, Peter Grant and Mark Venus turn up midway through the first half and take their seats behind the DJ box. They get a warm reception from the fans and Mowbray returns with a wave or two.

During the half-time interval the small child sat in front of me is left on his own by his Granddad, who goes off to the pie stall. He wasn’t on his own exactly as his grandad did have a couple of pals with him, but they completely ignored the wee boy. Obviously bored out of his nut he spent the whole interval jumping on seats and at one point trying to pull one from off its hinges. His Granddad didn’t really bother much with his antics for the second-half.

There’s not much entertainment to speak of in the second-half. Celtic have two headers cleared off the line and their keeper smothers a one-on-one attack all in the last five or six minutes.

We go straight to penalty kicks. Celtic eventually take it 5-4 after both sides had taken 8 kicks each. Hard luck on Rovers’ keeper who saved two of Celtic’s penalties. Nomadic Fitba has got the penalty shoot-out up on his YouTube page. Or you can watch it down below.

The winning Celtic team

The DJ is straight down onto the pitch to interview the two team managers, Neil Lennon and Paul Martin. After the presentation to the two teams the DJ turns his attention to the match officials. “I know we sometimes don’t like them but we couldn’t have a game without them, please show your appreciation for the match officials.” There then followed a chorus of boos and jeers that drowned out the handful of folk applauding.

I have a couple more photographs here.

There’s another report of the game at Nomadic Fitba.

This is what I think the Celtic starting elven was. If and when the teams are provided on any websites I’ll update accordingly.

Celtic: Fox, Kurakins, Lafferty, Marr, Gallacher, Conroy, Ferry, Millar, McGinn, McGowan, Sheridan

Game Forty-Five – Rangers Reserves vs. Celtic Reserves

May 4, 2009

Celtic celebrate

Rangers Reserves 0 vs. 1 Celtic Reserves

Scottish Premier Reserve League
Tuesday 28th April 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow

With Celtic only requiring a draw to land their eighth Reserve League title in a row there’s a decent turn out for this afternoon’s match at Ibrox.

I opt to go into the Celtic end as I presume they may have more to shout about than the home support.

This must be a unique occasion in that the Celtic fans at Ibrox easily outnumber the Rangers supporters. From where I’m sat it’s hard to see how many Rangers fans there are, Celtic’s website estimates that the Celtic support eclipse the home fans two to one, while the Daily Record writes it is 3 to 1. Fan forums suggest this just means that Rangers fans with jobs outnumber employed Celtic supporters by similar numbers.

I choose a spot down the front next to the dugout. Due to the retractable tunnel being in place for the players to walk in and out of, I don’t really think of the close proximation to the Rangers support this seat provides, as at this point I can’t really see them.

When I take my seat the song on the PA system is ‘Jump‘ by Van Halen. This makes me think that almost everyone responsible for pre-match music at football matches hasn’t got much of a record collection that extends beyond 1989.

The Celtic fans are certainly in good voice this afternoon. The most vocal of the support sets up farthest away from the Rangers support, at the bottom end of the pitch. There are plenty of flags and banners at this end too.

John Fleck seems to enjoy the boos and heckles he receives from the Celtic fans, sticking his tongue out at them as he runs down the tunnel after the pre-match warm up.

After a few weeks of watching Junior games on pitches that aren’t the country’s best, it’s nice to see the ball rolling as smoothly as it does on the Ibrox grass today.

The game starts off at a decent pace, with Celtic knocking the ball around a little better than their opponents.

About fifteen minutes into proceedings a small group of Celtic fans arrive to join their pals already there. They seem to immediately start on shouting abuse at the Rangers support.

You could call it ‘Good natured banter,’ but it really wasn’t. It could more accurately be described as ‘Goading’.

Initially no more than a handful of Rangers fans are interested in responding, but after about five minutes of it a large portion of the home support rise to it and a prolonged period of verbal jousting begins.

Celtic and Rangers fans

The stewards come into both ends and attempt to get people to settle down. They have very little joy in this regard.

There’s then a faint murmer of ‘Up the ‘Ra’ singing from no more than a handful of folk in the Celtic end. This is then matched by a similarly tame rendition of ‘The Sash’ from the other end.

I think to myself that I haven’t seen a policeman all day. Not at the subway station, not on the approach to the ground and not inside the stadium itself. Just as I think that, I see a police hat peak out from through the tunnel. The police have now arrived in a sizeable number. The Rangers stewards lead them into either end where they begin to pick folk out for ejection.

Really there was never any chance of the commotion turning into anything physical, but it was an ugly enough distraction from the game.

The first half comes to a close at 0-0 with Celtic still looking the better team.

At half-time some Celtic fans with flags, no doubt having seen the argy-bargy from a distance further down the seating plan, decide it would be a good idea to wave their banners at the Rangers support in the second half. The police immediately clamp down on this idea and there’s a prolonged period of debate before again folk are removed.

Out on the pitch the sprinklers are turned on forcing the Celtic substitutes to scuttle away from the penalty area and find somewhere drier to kick the ball around.

In the second half Allan McGregor takes a constant pounding from the Celtic support with “Let’s all do the V-Sign” and “Scotland’s Shame,” being directed at him.

Celtic are looking the much better team and in particular Paddy McCourt is the man tearing through the Rangers defence. The Northern Irishman is at the heart of every Celtic attack.

One guy is still determined to make something of the earlier blustering, going on about how “That lot [Rangers fans] won’t give us a square go in the toilets.”

With 20 minutes to go Celtic get the goal they’ve been threatening for some time. Ryan Conroy put over a cross to the back post from the left wing. It dropped perfectly for Simon Ferry who rifled a vollley past McGregor for the winner.

Ferry picks up a caution for taking his shirt off to celebrate his goal. Always a needless booking I think. Although I’m sure he won’t care.

At full-time the Celtic players do a brief lap of honour for the fans.

On Celtic’s website Ferry jokingly compares his strike to Marco Van Basten’s goal for the Netherlands in the 1988 European Championship final.

The report of the match is on Celtic’s site here. Rangers have a report on their site.

The Evening Times has a write-up of the game here. A feature on the game and Paddy McCourt is in The Scotsman. The same from The Herald, and again, in a slightly more tongue in cheek fashion, from the Daily Record, along with some odd remarks in the comments section about the singing.

I have more photographs here.

The Celtic team

Rangers: McGregor, Durie, Scott, Webster, Forbes, Naismith (Craig 54), Fleck, Little, Lennon, Bagci (Wright 66), Niguez (McCabe 79). Subs not used: Smith, McGeough.

Celtic: Brown, Marr, Lafferty, Misun, Kurakins, McGinn (Towell 88), Ferry, McCourt, Donati (Millar 75), Conroy, Cawley (McGlinchey 69). Subs not used: Kennedy, Gallagher, Hughes, Tidser

Scorer: Ferry (70)

Attendance: 2400

Game Twenty-Six – Glasgow City vs. Celtic Ladies

March 4, 2009

Glasgow City attack

Glasgow City 4 vs. 3 Celtic Ladies (AET)

Unite Scottish Cup Third Round
Sunday 22nd February 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Petershill Park, Springburn

A Scottish Cup tie between probably the two best teams in the Scottish ladies game. This is my fourth ladies football match this season and the third at Petershill Park.

With the two Cup favourites going head to head there is a decent sized crowd of around 70 or so.

Before the game kicks off the loudspeaker is playing earbleed dance music. For some reason when people try to marry football and music thumping dance is what they plump for. On behalf of football fans almost everywhere – Naw.

Of the four ladies football matches I’ve been to this season today is the first time we’ve had a female referee. She is joined by two assistants, also a rarity, although this is a cup-tie.

The game kicks off with a strong wind blowing.

The standard of the play on offer here today is far higher than most ladies matches and indeed in entertainment value as good as you’ll see anywhere. Both teams are open and attacking, with Glasgow City starting that little bit brighter.

It may be of some interest to know that the girls shout “Man on!” whenever an opposition player is near a team-mate with the ball. “Lady on!” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The first real chance of the match presents itself in the 14th minute when confusion in the Celtic defence allows the ball to be knocked past their grounded keeper and hit the post. City’s Jane Ross is in swiftly to latch on to the loose ball. Faced with an empty goal and the ball a couple of yards out she manages to knock it into the side netting.

City get themselves in front in the 20th minute when Sue Lappin leaps to head a crossed free kick from Leanne Ross past Claire Johnston in the Celtic goal. The first of several cracking goals this afternoon.

Fifteen minutes later Celtic are on level terms. They win a free kick out on the right hand side of the penalty box and Pauline Hammill fires a shot through the City defence and into the net.

It stays that way at half-time.

The teams go into the changing rooms at the break. Mostly teams at this level have their team-talks on the pitch, but big cup tie this.

Two minutes into the second half and Glasgow City had made it 2-1. Jill Paterson smacked a clearance back at the Celtic goal from around 35 yards. Her shot cracked the crossbar but fell to Rachel Corsie who chested it down and prodded it home.

The Celtic keeper makes a couple of terrific saves to keep her side in it, including pushing out a goal-bound corner kick.

Celtic get their second equaliser in 58 minutes with almost an action replay of their first. They get a free-kick some way out on City’s left-hand side and the ball is rocketed into the goal by Christie Murray.

Glasgow City vs. Celtic

I get talking to the gentleman standing next to me who turns out to be City forward Jane Ross’s dad.

Good work by both goalkeepers adds to what is by now a very entertaining match.

Celtic are reduced to ten ladies in the 69th minute when Christie Murray picks up a second booking.

Glasgow City take the lead again when a free-kick is sent into the penalty box and Corsie leaps to head it into the Celtic net.

Three minutes later a Celtic long ball is picked up by Jo Love who prods the ball home. It’s 3-3.

I’ve already asked Mr. Ross if he knows what happens if the game finishes a draw and he tells me it’s extra-time.

Two minutes into the extra period Jane Ross found space down the right and sent a low ball across goal for Katharina Lindner to bag the winner.

A seven goal thriller and two well matched teams. The standard of football on display here is much better than some of the men’s matches I’ve been to this season. You could spend worse Sunday afternoons than coming along to a Ladies match.

Reports of the match are on both the Glasgow City and Celtic websites. I have more photographs here.

Glasgow City attack

Glasgow City: Williamson, Montgomery; Lappin, Lindner, Paterson, Sneddon, J. Ross, Littlejohn, Corsie, Gemmell (Fearnon 72), L. Ross Subs not used: Livingstone, McNicol, Campbell, Lappin, Stewart, Brown

Scorers: Lappin (20), Corsie (47, 73), Lindner (107)

Celtic: Johnstone, Ferguson, Robertson, Beattie, Penglase, Love, Crichton, MacMillan (Scott 55), Stokes, Murray, Hamill Subs not used: Cook, McInally, Malone

Scorers: Hamill (35), Murray (58), Love (77)

Sent Off:
Murray (69)

Attendance: A headcount would suggest around about 70.

Game Twenty – Celtic vs. Villareal

December 10, 2008

Villareal Fans

Celtic 2 vs. 0 Villareal

UEFA Champions League, Group E
Wednesday 10th December 2008, Kick-Off 7.45pm
Celtic Park, Glasgow

It wasn’t my intention to visit the Old Firm’s grounds one after the other. It’s just the way it turned out after Saturday.

When I bought my ticket for this game it was unclear if it would be an all-to-play for nail-biter or a dull, meaningless fixture fulfilment. As it turns out with Villareal securing their place in the last 16 and Celtic going out of the competition by losing to Aalborg in the last round of matches, tonight’s fixture has little at stake.

There is prize money of course. On the table for tonight’s victor is £520,000. Villareal also need the three points in order to top the group, providing Manchester United don’t win their match with Aalborg. Pre-match, Celtic gaffer Gordon Strachan is playing up the chances of it being a decent encounter. He told a press conference, “I think it will be a good game. They will try to get to the top of the table and we will be looking to keep our good home record going.”

Everything however points to it being a non-event.

While the Celtic players and management have been suggesting that the players will ‘play for pride’ and keep the good home record going, no one has suggested that they’ll be out to provide top drawer entertainment for the thousands of punters who have spent 40 quid on a ticket to come here.

That’s pretty much the highest bracket for live entertainment in this part of the world. The cost of tickets for fans just doesn’t seem to be a concern for sides who expect people to pay it just because they support the team.

The press in Scotland have been all over the fact that this is set to be Scottish clubs’ worst ever season in Europe. There has been not one victory among our entrants in European competition this season. Tonight’s game bookends the Scottish season in Europe for me, as I attended the first game for a Scottish club in Europe this season, while tonight marks the last.

If Celtic don’t manage a win this evening, this will be the first time in 53 seasons of European competition that Scottish clubs have failed to chalk up a victory. Still it’ll give the Scottish press plenty to write about.

Which brings me to a comment from this article in the Evening Times which puzzled me slightly. If anyone can enlighten me I’d be grateful.

“But it is the prospect of, for the first time in their history, going through an entire European campaign without a win which is driving Stephen McManus and Co.”

Now that got me thinking, ‘Surely Celtic played a season in Europe and got knocked out without winning a game?’ Just a brief glance at Celtic’s history in Europe confirms this. In their very first season in Europe, Celtic went out in the first round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup after losing to, and drawing with Valencia. The season they defended the European Cup they did likewise when they came up against Dynamo Kiev.

I can only presume that by ‘entire European campaign’, Ronnie Cully, the author of the article, means several games. However a club’s ‘entire European campaign’ is just that. The campaign lasts however many games the side play before getting knocked out.

Of course he could mean ‘The Champions League’ as opposed to ‘Celtic’s history’, as many folk seem to think European football only really came into being in 1992/93.

If anyone can decipher what he’s on about I’d be happy to hear it.

The ground is heavy with frost as I make the walk to Celtic Park from Bellgrove train station. At the stadium in plenty of time I take a wander round to the club shop and then hang around the main entrance for a while.

A guy who looks like he’s no stanger to the runner-up prizes in bar-room brawls comes past shouting, “Anybidy want to buy a ticket for a tenner?” He gets no takers. A seasoned entrepreneur, he adds, “It’s legit. I’m sitting a couple of seats behind you so that’s how you’ll know it’s legit.” Unfortunately no one seemed to be taking him any more seriously.

Celtic vs. Villareal

My seat is in the Jock Stein Stand. When I get inside and go into the concourse I find that it’s a veritable shopping mall. There’s a Celtic Shop, a Ladbrokes and a pie stall with an extensive menu. Cod and chips is only £4.50. There are also framed pages from a book called Celtic’s Greatest Ever Team on the walls, which gives us a chance to read about some of the legends who have worn the green and white over the years. As well as many photographs and paintings of former players and managers there are a few newspaper cuttings from matches such as the famous 1970 European Cup semi-final against Leeds United.

The atmosphere in the ground is certainly a little bit stale. It feels more like a Scottish Premier League game against a mid-ranking side than a European night. Not even ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ really lifts it.

Oddly the stadium announcer reads out the Celtic team’s first names only. “Number five, it’s Gary!” I presume this has become the norm at Parkhead, but it feels a bit weird to me.

The game starts off well enough though with both teams showing a competitive edge.

With 14 minutes gone Celtic get in front as Mark Wilson’s cross is fumbled by Sebastián Viera in the Villareal goal. The ball slips out of his hands and onto the head of Shaun Maloney who nods it in for 1-0.

Maloney’s goal is Celtic’s 396th in all UEFA competitions, fact fans.

The game takes perhaps its defining turn in the 35th minute when the assistant referee calls the ref’s attention to something. The Celtic fans jeer momentarily as it appears the referee is calling for a free-kick to be retaken. However the assistant has noticed that Guille Franco swung an elbow at Gary Caldwell. This results in a red card. To be honest I think the assistant was the only person in the stadium who saw it. On TV afterwards I can see that he was right, even if it seemed pretty tame.

Villareal were never a serious threat to Celtic with only ten men.

Just as half-time approaches Aiden McGeady goes on a run, finishing with a low shot from 20 yards which lands in the bottom corner of the net.

At the interval I go to the toilet and notice that smoke swirls around the air. It seems more like the bikesheds at school as it’s being used as a smokers’ den, by about two dozen folk. It almost seems like it’s a designated meeting point.

In the second half we’re treated to some calm and assured play from Celtic as Villareal are barely interested. Villareal’s Bruno causes a few of us to ‘ooh’ as he shows off a lovely move out on the left wing. But that was about it from the Spanish side.

Nakamura shows a silky touch or two, although Samaras frustrates me with his lumbering play this evening. He takes the ball towards the halfway line more often than he sends it forward.

In the Celtic goal Artur Boruc makes a great save from Nihat Kahveci in the 70th minute and the cheers come from all around the ground. The Celtic fans went out of their way to give him their backing tonight, after his blunder against Hibs on Sunday.

On the way home I opt to see if I can get a bus into town, but after the driver of the number 64 pretends not to see 20 folk standing at the stop, I walk instead.

Celtic defend a corner

The report of the match from Celtic’s website is here. This is the report from the BBC’s website. The Guardian’s report on the match is here.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Wilson (O’Dea 81), Nakamura, Scott Brown, Hartley, McGeady (McGowan 75), Maloney, Samaras (McDonald 81). Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Loovens, Mizuno, Caddis.

Scorers: Maloney (14), McGeady (45).

Villarreal: Viera, Angel, Fuentes, Rodriguez, Bruno, Cani, Senna (Nihat 46), Edmilson, Fernandez, Franco, Ibagaza (Santi Cazorla 60). Subs Not Used: Diego Lopez, Eguren, Pires, Cygan.

Sent Off: Franco (35).

Attendance: 58,104

Referee: Claudio Circhetta (Switzerland)

Assistant Referees: Manuel Navarro (Switzerland), Beat Hidber (Switzerland)

Fourth Official: Daniel Wermelinger (Switzerland)

UEFA Delegate: Pekka Hämäläinen (Finland)

UEFA Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (Holland)

Game Twelve – Celtic Reserves vs. Rangers Reserves

October 8, 2008

The Rangers keeper gathers a cross

Celtic Reserves 3 vs. 1 Rangers Reserves

Scottish Reserve League
Tuesday, September 23 2008, Kick-off 2pm
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie

A Tuesday afternoon in Airdrie and it’s the Old Firm. Or the Reserves at least. This is the first time I’ve been to the Excelsior Stadium. Or The Shyberry Excelsior Stadium. Or New Broomfield. Or whatever it’s called. I’ve been to Broomfield a few times though.

The ground is not that difficult to find. It’s a fifteen minute walk from Drumgelloch train station and the stadium sits on its own on what appears to be a big chunk of wasteground.

I take a walk around it and come to the main entertance where I find several folk in Rangers and Celtic tops all milling about waiting for the gates to open.

Once inside there seems to be a good couple of hundred fans there to cheer along their favourite half of the Old Firm. I overhear one guy on the phone telling someone that he was just out for a walk when he heard the noise from the ground and was pleasantly surprised to find an Old Firm reserve match underway. This meant that he just happened to have been out for a walk decked out head to toe in Celtic gear.

Chris Burke of Rangers

Seggregation is provided by a typed sign telling us which entrance is for the Celtic fans and which for the Rangers. I opt to sit with the Celtic support.

Neil Lennon is in the Celtic dugout and spends most of the game shouting instructions, mainly to Paddy McCourt on the left wing. Reserve team manager Willie McStay is comparatively quiet.

It’s a decent game of football with both teams having chances Rangers having the best of them as Aaron Niguez skelped the crossbar with a free-kick. It’s Rangers who take the lead as we approach half-time as Ross Harvey comes in at the back post to meet a crossed ball and head home.

In the 66th minute Celtic get the equaliser with a McGowan header. It looks to be all the green half of the Old Firm from now on.

Charlie Adam, on as a half time substitute doesn’t have the best 45 minutes and takes it tight from the Celtic support, being the closest thing to a first-team player in the side.

McGowan got his second as he finished off a nice bit of team play to take Celtic into the lead. Late on Ben Hutchinson got his reward for his 90 minutes of hard work. Picking up a long ball out on the right he had a look before lofting the ball over the on-rushing Graeme Smith in the Rangers goal.

3-1 to Celtic and a decent Tuesday afternoon’s football.

A report from the Celtic website is here. A report from the Rangers site is here.

The confirmation that I was at this game is in the photograph below from the Celtic website. That’s me on the far right.

Me at the Celtic vs. Rangers Reserves Game

My photographs are here.

Celtic: Fox, Doumbe (Towell 28), O’Dea, Lafferty, Conroy, Cawley, Millar, McGlinchey (Mizuno 5), McCourt, McGowan, Hutchinson.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Tidser, Monti, Graham.

Scorers: McGowan (66, 78), Hutchinson (84)

Rangers: Smith, Little, Harvey, McMillan, McLachlan, Burke, Shinnie (Bagci 85), Edu (Adam 46), Niguez (Stirling 75), Fleck, Loy.
Subs Not Used: Perry.

Scorer: Harvey (45)

Attendance: Not sure exactly, but a good couple of hundred at least.

Game Two – Albion Rovers vs. Celtic Reserves

July 18, 2008


Albion Rovers 1 vs. 4 Celtic Reserves

Jock Stein Friendship Cup
Thursday 17th July, Kick-Off 7.30pm
Cliftonhill, Coatbridge

This game was a bit more like summer football. A warm night and a good wee turn out at Rovers’ Cliftonhill ground.

This is the third year the two clubs have played for the Jock Stein Friendship Cup. Stein of course played for both sides during his career.

There were a few murmurs in the ground when it was noticed that Thomas Gravesen was in Celtic’s starting line up. Only a couple of years ago he was playing for Real Madrid and now here he was in Coatbridge. He was joined in the Celtic team by Derek Riordan. Not a regular first team player at any point in his Celtic career but another guy who stood out in the team selection.

Celtic also featured a trialist in goal. A gent beside me muttered that he ‘looked Mediterranean’, and someone else decided that ‘with a tan like that he has to be Italian.’ It turned out that he was Italian right enough. 17-year-old Daniele Giordano.

As for the game itself it was a pretty one-sided contest. The Rovers keeper made a terrible blunder for the first goal. Coming to collect a long ball in the eleventh minute, he missed it completely and Gravesen was left with an empty net to tap the ball into. Celtic followed that up with a scrappy second a few minutes later and as a contest it was as good as over.

A cracking long range effort from Mark Millar for the third goal ended the scoring for the first half.

In the second half I watched the game standing beside a disused tractor that a large number of children were playing on. As a Clydebank supporter I couldn’t help but listen in to the conversation taking place beside me as I realised it was two former players reminiscing about the Clydebank team I grew up watching. As I craned round to see, I recognised them as Tommy Coyne, whose son was wearing no 11 for Rovers and Gerry McCabe, now Assistant Manager at Dunfermline. That Clydebank team were well known for their open, attacking play and McCabe was one of the most gifted wingers I ever saw.

Gravesen was substituted at half-time and Riordan looked more alive in the second half than he did in the first 45. He got his reward by nabbing Celtic’s fourth goal, going round the keeper to slot home. Rovers kept plugging away and got themselves a consolation late on when Pat Walker fired in a belter of a shot.

My full set of photographs can be found on my Flickr page here.

Celtic: Trialist, Caddis, Cuthbert, Monti, Conroy, Gravesen, McGlinchey, Millar, Lafferty, Cawley, Riordan

Celtic Scorers: Gravesen, Lafferty, Millar, Riordan

Rovers: I couldn’t find a listing anywhere for the Albion Rovers line-up.

Rovers Scorer: Walker

Attendance: Decent, but I couldn’t find any official numbers apart from the unofficial Rovers website saying it was a ‘sell-out’.

Speaking to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, Rovers’ director, Pat Rolink, ‘revealed the gates had to be closed moments after kick-off due to the sheer size of the crowd.’

He said: “We had to turn people away which we weren’t happy about but we felt we had reached our capacity.”

The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser have some film and interviews with fans going to the game below, as well as some scenes of the crowd, but no actual match footage.