On This Day: Tony Watt Cliches Immortality and Rapid Outrage

On This Day November 7th. In the history of Celtic, there are some moments that will never be forgotten both for good and bad reasons. Thanks to @LilZe85 on Twitter, we can share two of the most memorable European nights in Celtic’s history – as well a notable mention to Paul Lambert.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1 – 2012

The greatest team in the world are beaten by the greatest club in the world. Neil Lennon’s Celtic, ravaged by injuries managed to do the unthinkable and beat Barcelona. A first half header from Victor Wanyama before a second half glimpse of goal gave Tony Watt the chance to write himself into Celtic’s history.

The game began with an incredible stadium tifo celebrating 125 years of Celtic. Tense is the best description of the game as Messi, Sanchez, Xavi and Iniesta knocked the ball around with such ease but the defence, marshalled by Fraser Forster held firm.

Barring a chance that Leo Messi converted late into the game, Celtic were assured and managed to ‘hang-on’ in the face of constant attacks and sealed a legendary win.

Celtic 3 Rapid Vienna 0

The Celtic Wiki‘s take on the night that Celtic overturned a 3-1 defeat in the return leg but were still ordered to play a deciding fixture at a neutral ground.

“The follow up game was to be a real test of character for the Celtic players. To come back from two goals behind is no easy task, even the richest sides in world football from the larger leagues have struggled in such situations. However, nothing was to prepare the Celtic players for what was to pass on this night and the character required was of a type far removed from the training ground.

The match was for the most part in football terms a joy for Celtic. The support had gathered in great numbers and were in full voice. We were treated to some wonderful football from our side that lifted our spirits, and when McClair put us in front, we knew that we were in for some special. Murdo MacLeod grabbed a second to put us in front on away goals and we were not taking our foot off the pedal. What we didn’t count on was the extreme cynicism of the Austrian, and the match turned into one of the darkest nights in both football’s and our club’s history.

Tommy Burns raced into the box to score from a rebound and send the support into raptures. We were 3-0 ahead and had practically put ourselves through to the next round of the tournament. The Austrians were in pieces but rather than be spurred on, instead they resorted to violence. Kiensat was so incensed that a goal was given instead of a foul against their keeper in the (mistaken) belief that the challenge that led to the goal should have been penalised, that on the first chance he raced up to Tommy Burns and punched him on the back of the neck. A disgusting and cowardly act, and picking out Tommy Burns (as decent a man as you’ll ever get) is just startling.

These moments need some strong action from the officials, but that is not what we got. Instead what we got from the official was a limp wristed response. Firstly, after the more eagle eyed linesman pointed out the infringement, the referee sent off Kiensat but then failed to somehow not award Celtic a penalty!!! The referee was baffling even the most patient of match observers. The Rapid goalkeeper then decided to join in on the violence and kicked Burns as well. What should have been a simple set of decisions for the referee, saw him instead waste too much time discussing with his linesmen during which time the UEFA observers had to persuade the Austrian captain not to lead his team off the park (why when they were the cheats!).

For one game that was all too much but it wasn’t over. With 12 mins left, one idiot amongst the Celtic crowd threw a bottle on to the pitch, and next one of the Rapid Vienna players (Weinhofer) rolled about the ground as if he had just been hammered. The catch? The bottle was thrown nowhere near the player. He was acting it all up! Taken off the pitch, he was later seen wrapped up in bandages. It was an embarrassing and cringing farce.

Television highlights showed that Weinhofer had not been hit by a bottle. Red Cross man Eddie McGarrell, a first-aid attendant with 35 years’ experience, helped Weinhofer when he fell to the ground and submitted a report to Celtic that said: “I saw no sign of bleeding, bruising or any other injury affecting the player, and he was fully conscious.” The linesman on the night confirmed this also!

For Celtic, the full-time whistle couldn’t come fast enough. However, we were finally awarded a penalty late on which Peter Grant missed! If the support could put with any more drama then this wasn’t the type they wanted.

Paul McStay was the best player on the park and was ably supported by Provan, MacLeod and McClair. Celtic were worthy winners on the night and deserved to go through before the Austrian’s misbehaviour started.

Full-time and thankfully it was all over. Celtic had clearly won on every count, but most importantly on aggregate 4-3 to take us through, and that’s that. It was a horrible night but we had the next round to look forward to, or so we thought!”

Former Celtic captain, Paul Lambert signed for Celtic on this day in 1997. The midfielder came back from Borussia Dortmund to Scotland and helped stop the ten a few months later.

Special mention to Barry Robson and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink – who were born on this day.

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.

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