Jim Craig – Celtic’s Disappointing night against Real Sociedad

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After a fine win in the opening round of the European Cup for that season of 1982-83 over Ajax, Celtic were paired with Real Sociedad in round two.

In the first leg, in Spain, on 20 October, Celtic had a bad night, going down 0-2 as the Spanish side showed their quality. So, there was a lot to do on the evening of this day in 1982 and manager Billy McNeill asked this team of players to perform a minor miracle for him – Pat Bonner, Danny McGrain, Mark Reid, Roy Aitken, Tom Macadam, Murdo MacLeod, Davie Provan, Paul McStay, Frank McGarvey, Graeme Sinclair and Charlie Nicholas.

Right from the start, Celtic had the initiative, the Spaniards content to sit back a bit and let Celtic come at them. Unfortunately, though, one incident in the 24th minute effectively settled the tie. A cross from the right from Ufarte landed right on the head of the unmarked Uralde and he made no mistake to make it 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate.

That meant that Celtic had to score 4 to win, not a likely prospect. They did pull two goals back through fine drives by Murdo MacLeod but the longer the game went on, the more the Spanish side defended in depth and held out to the end.

Many Happy Returns to Charlie Gallagher, born on this day in the Gorbals of Glasgow in 1940.

Jim Craig

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