Celtic’s 50 Flags – ‘The unthinkable has happened, a terrible disappointment to Hearts,’ BBC’s David Francey

FOUR points and a game in hand! The next two Saturdays, Celtic won – but so did Hearts. Then on Wednesday 30 April 1986, Celtic played off their game in hand at Motherwell and won 2-0, a slightly disappointing score-line, for more goals appeared to have been required.

Nevertheless, Celtic still had an outside chance of the title if they hammered St Mirren by at least 4 goals at Love Street, and Hearts lost to Dundee at Dens Park.

It didn’t appear likely. All Hearts had to do on the fateful day of 3 May was draw against a Dundee team that was competent but no more than that. But Hearts had looked for a few weeks like a man on his way to the dentist’s, apprehensive and edgy.

They would claim later that there was a “virus” in their camp. Not everyone believed that, although University students before their final exams are often known to suffer from a “virus”, usually of the psychological or psychosomatic variety.

This may have happened here as the strain of not having won the League since 1960 began to tell. Meanwhile Edinburgh outfitters began to sell loads of Hearts scarves for the Johnny-come-latelies who had been nowhere in sight when they got relegated.

Radio told everyone at Dens Park that Celtic were winning 4-0 at half time with some tremendous goals. They scored another soon after, but all that Hearts had to do was draw.

John Robertson and John Colquhoun had reasonable chances, but frayed nerves played a part, and the Hearts fans behind that Tannadice end of Dens Park were now looking at watches and counting down to full time.

They did look like holding out, but decades of awful Tynecastle teams had taught the Gorgie supporters not to get too uppity. Yet celebrations had already been planned…

But then late in the second half, on came the Angel of Death in the unlikely shape of Albert Kidd. It would be a fair bet that no-one in the Hearts support (nor the Celtic support, for that matter) had heard of Albert.

His career with Dundee had been mediocre to disappointing (to put it tactfully) so far, but there are times that Destiny calls. Crucially, Albert, like so many Dundonians, was Celtic daft and he may also have felt that if his professional career was to go anywhere, it had to be today.

Today it was! Two goals, the second one an absolute stormer through a Hearts defence who had already sensed that the game was up, won the League for Celtic, the radio bringing the glad tidings to Love Street where some of the Celtic fans had already gone home to get out of the rain, and to Easter Road, while at Ibrox (where they are never too bright at the best of times) consternation reigned for they thought that the goals had been scored by Walter Kidd who played for Hearts.

No-one could say that Celtic necessarily left everyone standing that season. In fact, there was an element of luck about the 34th triumph, but no-one could deny that it was one of the most exciting ends to the season that one could imagine, and how everyone celebrated at Love Street, singing the praises of a new hero called Albert Kidd!

Hearts now sentenced their fans to even more misery by losing the Scottish Cup final as well in a dismal surrender to Aberdeen.

David Potter

Extract from Celtic How The League was Won 49 Times by David Potter.

Here’s what everyone heard on the radio…a brilliant few minutes listening!

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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