My Hampden Misery

ON this day eight years ago, Neil Lennon took charge of his first game at Hampden Park as manager of Celtic after being placed in temporary charge until the end of the season. The Hoops were to take on First Division outfit, Ross County.

The team which started for Celtic was:
Lukasz Zaluska, Andreas Hinkel, Lee Naylor, Josh Thompson, Darren O’Dea, Landry N’Guemo, Scott Brown, Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane, Georgios Samaras and Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Ross County stunned Scottish football and beat the Hoops. There is no doubt that Ross County deserved to win the game. They pressed from the start and never allowed Celtic the time to settle in the game. There were some first-half chances for the Hoops, but nothing seemed to be working out while the Staggies always looked dangerous going forward.

Shortly after the interval, Ross County stunned the seventeen or so thousand Celtic supporters by taking the lead. Steven Craig cut in from the right and produced a scything through the Celtic defence and finished emphatically.

Following Craig’s goal, the Highlanders had to endure a Celtic onslaught as the Hoops tried to save their season, but County held firm. Samaras came close, only for his effort to hit the post. It didn’t look as if it was Celtic’s day with fantastic opportunities being missed. The game was then put to bed on the eighty-eighth minute when Martin Scott volleyed home from close range to end Celtic’s season.

This was Celtic’s most embarrassing defeat since the day that I was born on 8 February 2000 when Super Caley went Ballistic and defeated John Barnes’ Celtic which led to his sacking. This game against Ross County was unfortunately my first ever visit and is one which I don’t look back on fondly. However, as a Celtic supporter, you must take the bad times with the good!

Declan McConville

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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