If you look into the midwinter sky tonight, you’ll see one of two things; Father Christmas giving it the absolute pelters over the Renfrewshire horizon, or a couple of those stray Ryan Christie efforts from last night’s drudgery-filled fixture finally hitting the surface of the earth. No matter if you feel you’ve been placed on the naughty list this year, we’ve got you covered with some form of joy as we take you back to an eventful Christmas Eve in 1977…
Unknown to Celtic fans at the time, this was to be the clubs’ worst season in thirteen years, as the Hoops’ eventually finished 5th in the Scottish Premier Division – the first time they’d finished outside of the top three since 1964-65. The signs were already there, though – they endured their worst start to a campaign ever as they picked up just two wins and a draw from their first nine games; an incredibly shambolic title defence from the reigning champions, who looked as though they may even slip down to the second tier at one point.
However, a resurgent run started with a win at Dundee United’s Tannadice Park in mid October, and an eight-game unbeaten streak propelled them back up the table – which incidentally culminated following the victory over the same opponents on Christmas Eve.
Having lost Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool in the summer, the onus was on young Joe Craig to score the majority of Celtic’s goals that season; the Bridge of Allan born striker had been signed from Partick Thistle for £60,000 just a year earlier, but as promising as he was, it was evident he wasn’t going to replicate the skill set that Dalglish offered and subsequently took with him down to Merseyside.
Instead, it was left to Icelandic centre-back Johannes Edvaldsson to wrap up victory against the Tangeries, with ‘Shuggy’ grabbing the solitary goal in a 1-0 win in front of 20,246 adorning fans at Celtic Park – although their joy was to be short lived as Celtic embarked on a 5-0 losing streak following the festive period.
The Celtic team that day was: Latchford, Filippi, Lynch, Aitken, MacDonald, Dowie, Doyle, Edvaldsson, McAdam, Craig, Conn.