It is five years to the day since Ronny Deila’s Celtic team hosted Inter Milan at Paradise in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32. It was a day the young Celtic boss would never forget.
I had flown up from Southampton Airport that afternoon and headed straight for the Gallowgate. By the time I reached The Squirrel Bar, it was 4.20pm. I pushed the front door open to a wall of noise: “Open up your hearts and I’ll sing for you this song!” Glasnevin were performing and an already intoxicated pub full of punters gave good back up.
After a couple of pints my friends from Port Glasgow turned up. They couldn’t get in, so we headed across to The Saracen Head for a few beers and got a good laugh catching up again. The party was soon in full swing with the floorboards stamped and the walls thudded, as the stories of our heritage were roared in song. Everything from Rock on Rockall to Celtic That’s The Team For Me was played on the jukebox, and belted with gusto. Then You’ll Never Walk Alone came on. The pub swayed together, scarfs and flags aloft. It was electric.
With that start to the night, we headed closer to Parkhead and called into Kerry’s Bar. Some Italians were in the bar with us and seemed to be in awe of the atmosphere. The place was mobbed and absolutely bouncing. Claymore were performing and finished by playing The Heat of Lisbon, which, given all the historic connections with the fixture, raised the decibels beyond anything that evening and didn’t abate for a good five minutes.
Onto Celtic Park and there was the usual spectacular rendition of YNWA, with the fans taking over as the music is switched off. This was in the days before the disco lights, so the scene of 60,000 scarfs up looked much better. The game kicked off to the sound of the Celtic Symphony and the place was jumping.
Inter hit two quick fire goals, which dampened the mood, but the Celtic support remained defiant with a few chants that got the full stadium engaged. Suddenly, bedlam! It was 2-1 and the celebrations were still going mental by the time we grabbed a second. The celebrations were phenomenal and the atmosphere from the second goal until the 45th minute, was genuinely up there with the best in Europe. The concrete beneath my feet was shaking under the weight of the full ground jumping throughout Just Can’t Get Enough.
We were brought back to earth quickly before the break, when Craig Gordon made a howler to hand Inter the initiative again. Craig had been excellent up until that point in that season and so the Celtic support rallied behind him with the whole of Celtic Park chanting One Craig Gordon.
The second half was entertaining and hard fought. Every attack was met with an intense roar and there were patches when the noise was electric. The Fields of Athenry and the straight forward chant of Celtic, Celtic at each corner stand out in my memory.
Then, when all seemed lost, the ball was looped onto the chest of John Guidetti inside the box. Parkhead held its breath as the Swede swiveled. YASSSS! It was another last minute goal at Celtic Park in Europe. Gordon saved a free kick from Shaqiri soon after and the full time whistle quickly sounded.
The match ended 3-3 and we stayed to enjoy the moment for a good ten minutes or so, before I headed to Parkhead Cross for my taxi to Glasgow Airport.
It was a great European night, in a season when there wasn’t a lot of exciting matches.
The goals and pre-match display can be seen in the videos below:
5 years ago today, Celtic draw 3:3 with Inter in the last 32 of the Europa League.
— Li’l Ze (@LilZe85) February 19, 2020