East End Park, Dunfermline – The week before Celtic stopped Ten-in-a-row

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WE walked out at the end of the game dazed and confused. It felt more like a defeat that a draw on that gloriously warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. Dunfermline had spoiled our title party in the last match with terracing at East End Park when their substitute Craig Falconbridge looped a header from a free-kick into Jonathan Gould’s net to stun the huge Celtic Support.

Wim Jansen was screaming at the his Celtic players from the touchline to get out, they were sitting far too deep, defending a free just inside the Celtic half. But there was so much at stake, Rangers had lost to Kilmarnock the previous day when 7 minutes of added time was played at Ibrox as the home side desperately chased a winner. But it was Kilmarnock’s Ally Mitchell who scored in time added on, suckering Rangers and getting the only goal of the afternoon to hand Celtic the chance of a title party at East End Park the next day.

The weather that weekend was glorious. On the Saturday I was having a BBQ at home with friends and family round. I’d stayed away from the score at Ibrox all afternoon but at 4.50pm I had to find out what the score was so I sneaked away to turn on the radio, heard it was goalless and then sat listening for what seemed like a lifetime to the minute after minute after minute of stoppage time praying for the final whistle. Them dropping two points was a great result for Celtic in this, the second last game of the season.

Bobby Tait added 7 minutes on as his favourites needed a goal.

The referee, Bobby Tait was retiring after that game and as was the tradition for his final game he was allowed to choose the game he’d referee in his final match. He opted for his favourites,  Rangers.

Then it happened. Ally Mitchell got into the box and got on the end of a cross from the right and knocked the ball into the net to give Kilmarnock a shock 1-0 lead. Celtic fans everywhere ROARED at this development and I was no different. The boos at the end are glorious, on the extended highlights below, the goal is around 29 mins in incidentally.

So the next day we were on cloud 9 as we headed to Fife to kill off their chance at Ten-in-a-row and when Henrik Larsson set up Simon Donnelly for a lovely finish early on, the stage was set for a huge Celtic party.

Around 10,000 Celtic Supporters, without tickets for the game, gathered at Celtic Park to watch the game on the big screens. If you were at either East End Park or back at Paradise that day we’d love to hear your stories. Email them to editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

But like at Motherwell years later in 2005 Celtic had an early lead, couldn’t get a second to wrap up the title, then sat too deep and paid the price. It was more a frustrating day in 1998 rather than the Black Sunday 7 years later. The ball was still in our court, beat St Johnstone the next week at Celtic Park and the title was ours. What a party that was and many more Celtic Supporters got the chance to be there and part of stopping their Ten.

But we weren’t thinking that way that Sunday in Fife.

Watch the match highlights from East End Park then check out some pretty special photographs from that Sunday, the week before we stopped the Ten, courtesy of Jim Greenan.

Go to the next page to check out the brilliant photos from East End Park…

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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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