Jim Craig – McClair’s goal settles the 2nd replay against Aberdeen at Dens Park

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The early and mid-1980s had been a very successful period for Aberdeen Football Club. They had won the league title in 1983/84 and 1984/85; three consecutive Scottish Cups in 1982, 1983 and 1984; and the League Cup in 1985/86.

Over the same period, Celtic’s record was three league titles – 1980/81, 1981/82 and 1985/86 – two Scottish Cups in 1980 and 1985 plus a League Cup in 1982/83.

So when the two top teams of the decade were drawn together in the Scottish Cup in season 1986/87, there was much anticipation among the Scottish football public. The match was played at Pittodrie on 2 February 1987 on a poor pitch.

Celtic took the lead through Alan McInally in 14 minutes and made it 2-0 through a Brain McClair penalty thirteen minutes later. But the Dons came back, Jim Bett making it 2-1 from the penalty spot in 68 minutes and John Hewitt getting the equaliser with fifteen minutes left.

Three days later, a crowd of 55,000 turned up at Parkhead for the replay, played in a constant downpour. Unfortunately, the play rather matched the occasion and by the end of extra-time, it remained 0-0, with neither keeper having had a save to make.

The clubs agreed to play the second replay at Dens Park and on this day in 1987, 22,000 were there, soaked to the skin right throughout the match.

Brian McClair got the only goal of the match in 16 minutes to put Celtic through to the next round, where Hearts were a-awaiting.

John Hewitt was in the red of Aberdeen in the above matches but from 1989 to 1992, he made 16 appearances for Celtic. John was born on this day at Aberdeen in 1963.

Jim Craig

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