Alan Stubbs, 26 years ago today, scored a vital goal in an all important season…
Celtic, 26 years ago today, played the old Rangers in what will historically be remembered as one the most important games in recent times. From a Celtic point of view anyway.
It was a Wednesday, a night kick off, a game which was re-scheduled due to the death of the Princess of Wales a few months earlier. The pressure was all on the Hoops as we were three points behind having lost our last two league games, one of them to Rangers at Ibrox.
In this all important season a loss would be seen as detrimental blow not just to the league standings, but also from a psychological perspective in our bid to stop Rangers winning a tenth consecutive title. The stakes were very high indeed.
It wasn’t a game to remember from a footballing point of view, it was a disappointing Old Firm derby, a forgettable first half with nothing of note whatsoever. The second half started the same way until John Paul Gascoigne (or is Paul John Gascoigne?) was sent off in the 58th minute for elbowing Morten Wieghorst. That should have been a moment for us to push on and win the game, but as we know sometimes football is not like that.
Instead it was Rangers who took the lead through Marco Negri in the 71st minute. It was typical of them in that era, it now looked bleak for us as the Ibrox men looked to sit in for the final 20 minutes or so.
Then with the clock on 90 minutes and us staring a costly loss in the eye, Jackie McNamara whipped in a ball from the right into a packed penalty area and Alan Stubbs got his head to the ball to send it past Andy Goram into the back of the Rangers net.
Bedlam in Paradise, especially in the packed famous temporary stand behind the goal where the old Celtic end used to be. It was a goal we might not have deserved on the night, but it counted and we were all thrilled, it was only a draw but it felt like a victory and the opposite was true for our rivals.
As things turned out that Alan Stubbs goal counted massively when the prizes were handed out six months later. We would of course win the title on the last day by a two point margin, proving how vital that late equaliser really was.
Of course wasn’t the only factor in a season of twists and turns, or ups and downs, but that goal on a cold November night by Alan Stubbs for many Celtic supporters will go down as one of the defining moments in us stopping the dreaded Ten.
Just an Ordinary Bhoy
19th November 1997, Celtic 1:1 Rangers.
Alan Stubbs equalises in the final seconds of injury-time. @alanstubbs_6
One of, if not the most vital goal in winning the title that season. pic.twitter.com/I6fu68q1Xq
— Li’l Ze (@LilZe785) November 19, 2023