‘European Cup despair in the Bernabeu for unlucky Celtic,’ Jim Craig

THE evening of 5 March 1980 turned out to be a wonderful one for every Celtic fan. The best-known name in European football – the mighty Real Madrid – had come to Celtic Park for a quarter-final tie in the European Cup.

They were expected to win or at least draw but the Celtic eleven on the night rose to the occasion and beat the Spanish champions 2-0. Now, the Hoops players had to travel to the Bernabeu in Madrid for the second leg and face a Real Madrid side desperate to show their fans that the result in Glasgow had been a bit of a fluke.

On the evening of this day in 1980, an amazing crowd of 110,000 gathered at the Bernabeu to urge their players on to success. The teams were –

Real Madrid…..Garcia Ramon, Sabido, Benito, Pirri, Camacho, Santos, Del Bosque, Juanito, Santillana, Stielike, Cunningham.

Celtic………Latchford, Sneddon, McAdam, MacDonald, McGrain, Provan, Aitken, Doyle, McLeod, McCluskey, Lennox.

Celtic could have had the perfect start. Murdo MacLeod won the ball in midfield,  he passed it to Johnny Doyle who then moved it on in front of George McCluskey, clear in front of goal. Unfortunately, George fluffed his shot and the ball went weakly past the post.

That was a crucial moment in the game. Real raised the tempo and Peter Latchford had to make fine saves from Juanito and Del Bosque. He could do nothing, though, to stop the shot hammered in by Santillana just before the break.

Just after the re-start, a header by Santillana hit the bar before being cleared. Then, in 56 minutes, came a crucial moment when Stielike equalized the scores with a fierce drive. Celtic were certainly not out of it and did apply some pressure to the Real defence but the sucker punch came seven minutes from time.

Substitute Angel burst to the byeline and sent over a perfect cross which Juanito headed past Latchford. 3-2 to Real Madrid and Celtic’s European dream was over for another season.

Jim Craig

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About Author

Lisbon Lion and Celtic Ambassador Jim Craig provides The Celtic Star readers with a 365 day diary of all things Celtic, providing a remarkable and unique insight into our club from one of the players who won us The Celtic Star in Lisbon on 25 May 1967.

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