Ireland’s Celtic Connection in famous win over England in June 1988

The setting was Stuttgart, the date, 12th June 1988, and the Republic of Ireland were taking on England in the European Championships, in what was a historic first major tournament for Eire.

Jack Charlton’s side were rank outsiders against an England side which contained the likes of Gary Lineker, John Barnes, Glenn Hoddle and Bryan Robson.

Photo: imago/Colorsport Pat Bonner (Republic of Ireland) and Bryan Robson (England, L) / European Championships 1988. 12/6/88. .

Ireland though were certainly not pushovers and had fostered a fantastic team spirit under the leadership of Chartlon. The Eire back line had no less than three Celtic players tasked with keeping out an English side who had scored 19 goals in qualifying not to mention having World Cup golden boot winner Gary Lineker leading the line.

The three Celts representing their nation were Goalkeeper Pat Bonner, Right back Chris Morris and centre back Mick McCarthy and all were brimming with confidence after a fine centenary double winning season in the Hoops.

Peter Beardsley & Mick McCarthy, England V Republic Of Ireland. 14 June 1988, . Photo  Mary Evans Allstar Stewart Kendall

It didn’t go to script for England as Glasgow born Celtic supporter Ray Houghton headed the Republic into a sixth minute lead. England desperately tried to get an equaliser, but couldn’t get past a determined Irish back line, and the Irish had our own Pat Bonner to thank as he pulled off an impressive instinctive save from Lineker in the closing stages.


Granted, Lineker missed a few chances during the game, one’s he would usually convert, but you need to ride your luck sometimes to get a result. In the end it was a job well done for the Republic as they held on for a historic 1-0 victory with a great number of fans wearing the Hoops at the match.

The Irish partied into the night to celebrate a monumental win and deservedly so. It was a historic win for the Irish and our Bhoys at the back played a big part in a victory that’s still fondly remembered by the Irish supporters to this very day.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

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