15 May 1982: ‘That Celtic side was excellent, packed full of exciting players, like Tommy Burns’

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ON THIS DAY in 1982 Celtic ‘won the league for Doyle’ at an emotional Celtic Park after a dramatic afternoon. We wrote about this game this morning – catch up HERE – and asked for your memories of that day. As usual you didn’t disappoint. Let’s start with Charlie McGuire’s memories…

In the 1981-82 season I was 14 years old and remember very clearly Celtic’s title win. That Celtic side was excellent, packed full of exciting players, like Tommy Burns, Murdo MacLeod in midfield, Provan, McGarvey and Nicholas up front, and of course legends such as Danny McGrain at the back. There was also a very young Paul McStay, who made his debut that season, scoring in a 3-1 win at Pittodrie.

We had won the league in ’81 and seemed to go from strength to strength in 81-82.

From what I remember, the team was very good in the first half of that season and blew everyone away. I saw them beat Rangers 2-0 at Ibrox in a game they could easily have won 4 or 5, and remember a brilliant match v Aberdeen at Celtic Park, which we won 2-1.

Aberdeen were our main rivals then and the 3-1 win at Pittodrie in January or February 1982, where McStay made his league debut, seemed to put the title well beyond them. We did drop a few points after that, and suffered the loss of both McGarvey and Nicholas to broken legs, but did enough to stay in front.

Danny Cranie came into the team alongside George McCluskey up front and scored a few goals, one of which came in the first minute of a match against Rangers, from the distance of about 6 inches from goal.

The team had a chance to win the league at the beginning of May v St Mirren. I remember that match, it was played on a cold and dull bank holiday Monday afternoon and on that day Celtic put in a performance to match, drawing 0-0.

That meant we needed one more point, but got thumped the following week 3-0 at Tannadice. All of a sudden, the league was in the balance and memories of the 1980 title run in, when we effectively threw the league away to Aberdeen, began to re-emerge.

Aberdeen played Rangers twice at Pittodrie in the 1982 run-in. The first one was a re-arranged match and Aberdeen won either 3-0 or 3-1. It was a midweek game and Rangers got murdered that night. I knew going into the last game of the season that if Aberdeen had to beat Rangers by 4 or 5 goals, they would do it. As it turned out, that’s the scenario that unfolded.

I went to the Celtic-St Mirren title clincher on the last day of the season, with my brother and dad and the atmosphere was a tense one. The game was a bit like the 0-0 draw a couple of weeks earlier. We all heard the half-time score from Pittodrie and none of us were surprised. The only shock was that they didn’t get more in the second half. But from what I remember, we only needed a draw and I don’t think any of us thought that Celtic were in danger of losing to St Mirren.

Celtic were always the better team that day. But at 0-0, anything can happen.

That’s why, when McCluskey finally scored in the second half, the place went wild. The second and third goals followed soon after and the title was ours again. The celebrations after the game were brilliant and I remember the players being mobbed by lots of fans.

I also remember them coming out to do a lap of honour, My final memory of that day was being taken to an Italian café on Duke St for an ice cream after the match. A nice way to celebrate a great day!

Charlie McGuire

IF you would like to share your memories of that afternoon in 1982 with us please email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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