By Macaroon 15th May 2022
This was perhaps one of my most memorable games growing up watching Celtic. The league title was fought out between Celtic and Aberdeen on the last day of the season, Celtic v St Mirren at Parkhead and Aberdeen v Rangers at Pittodrie.
I was a 12 years-old two-tone fanatic with a crew cut whilst acknowledging a shift in styles from jeans to sta-press and skins to wedge haircuts. One of the things that drew me to the matches at Celtic Park was the sheer volume and noise of the jungle, especially at a big match.
The league title should have been wrapped a couple of weeks before on the 3rd May on a wet Monday bank holiday. This was also against St Mirren in a game in hand, we only manage a 0-0 draw; this was after defeating Hibs 6-0 two days before at Celtic Park.
So, it’s up to Tannadice on Saturday the 8th May to play Dundee United and we require a draw to win the championship. United back then were also a very good outfit under Jim McLean and they had been up the top of the table challenging in the much of early ‘80s.
We come a cropper in this match losing 3-0 and it’s all about questioning the minerals of Celtic for the last game of the season .
The 15th May 1982 is very vivid in my memory every time Celtic win the championship I can’t help but reminisce back to it. Me and my guardian for the day Stevie Burns arrive at the Janefield Street and I get the obligatory lift over the turnstiles, I still managed this but I know I’m growing in size.
The noise is immense, the soldiers song is in full flow as we walk through the middle of the jungle. The music on the tannoy is either chart music or the Celtic song by Glen Daly. The other tannoy favourite at the time is Wild Rover and after the first line of the chorus there is a chant of “God Bless the Pope” from most of the terracing. That was our heritage music at the time. I recall the jungle also chanting “Argentina” this was in support of the Malvinas conflict; the reaction from the police was a picture to behold, wanting to react but couldn’t.
The game was very tense much like the 0-0 draw the week before where St Mirren fielding a young Frank McAvennie and dug in and parked their badger bus. Celtic had a good season but were missing both Charlie Nicholas and Frank McGarvey through injury. The main chance in the first-half was a ball about to fall to Murdo McLeod from a cross but young Danny Crainie put his head to it when he should have left it for McLeod.
So, half-time arrives and the tension is increasing. Obviously the old Rangers had their flip-flops on at Pittodrie and it’s Aberdeen 4 Rangers 0.
Coincidentally, the scenario is, if Celtic get beat and Aberdeen beat Rangers by four goals then we lose the title. So it’s job done for Aberdeen.
At 0-0 I didn’t think anyone thought we would lose to St Mirren. It was tense, however, in the 62nd minute Celtic took the lead through George McCluskey with a screamer to the top corner showing our intent. All through the match I was sitting at the top of the exit for number 8 in the jungle. Each time Celtic attacked a group of older men were ready to grab me; and that’s exactly what happened. This was the first time I had witnessed a goal with such relief and hysteria it took around two minutes for it to all calm down.
The final score 3-0 to Celtic with McCluskey again and Tom McAdam grabbing the other one.
The Celtic boards Tom foolery stating the attendance of 39,699 on this day was an interesting one. Perhaps the rest of crowd got lifted over the turnstile.
An emotional day and summed up by the terraces chanting Johnny Doyle. “We won the league for Doyle.