McCarthy reveals how a Rangers joke spurred Billy McNeill on to Centenary Double

Former Celtic defender has revealed that a comment made by a teammate at the start of the Cenetary season spurred Billy McNeill on to seal a League/Cup Double. McCarthy told Virgin Sport that he had been present at the pre-season team photograph when a comment about the lack of trophies prompted a response from Celtic’s greatest ever skipper, McNeill.

The season before Rangers had won a League and Cup Double with St Mirren famously lifting The Scottish Cup. Celtic were left empty-handed and the comment incensed McNeill, who is one of football’s most successful captains having lifted the European Cup for the club in 1967. The manager gave the team a dressing down and it set the basis for the hard work that would follow.

McCarthy quickly realised that the aim at Celtic would be to compete and win, there would be no easy games. The Irishman pinpointed that moment where McNeill told them how important success was to the club was a catalyst to an entertaining, successful season.

It was on this day in 1988 that Celtic beat Dundee 3-0 to seal the league title. A few weeks later, they would beat Dundee United in the Cup Final thanks to a late Frank McAvennie strike. It is a season that will live long in the memory with a team of winners led by the great man.

McCarthy joined from Man City in May 1987 in a deal worth £500,000 and the Yorkshire-born defender would win two Scottish Cups and one League title in his two years at Celtic. McCarthy made 64 appearances, scoring once for the Hoops.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

1 Comment

  1. Sean McGinley on

    Ah great memories and what a season ! A real set of heroes who fought hard for everything. Can’t believe its so long ago and when Celtic strikers are talked about, that was another team with men who could put the ball in the net. Every generation has had them and I can go through the ones I saw in my lifetime since the sixties with great fondness. Please keep the memories coming lhads.