Celtic Change

Celtic Sean Graham

With this weeks Champions League match at Celtic Park coming up on Tuesday between Celtic and Ajax, it had me thinking of a fantastic match that I had the pleasure of witnessing at Celtic Park between the two sides back in 82.

As was the normal back then, I remember this being an all ticket match so I remember we had to go over to Celtic Park to buy the tickets before the actual match itself and it was only £2.50 to get in !

It was the usual lads from school, Jeff, Maff, Dave, Andy, James, Danny, Jamie John and myself.

Now we were looking forward to this match more than any other at that time because everyone admired Ajax and the Dutch style of football which most of us had only seen
on TV.

The Dutch had a fantastic way of playing football, everything they done back then was a joy to watch and they had a few good players back then including a player that we all admired, the Dutch master Johan Cruyff, who made his one and only appearance at Celtic Park that night in one of the most exciting matches seen there for many a day, a match that is still talked about till this day.

Ajax came to Celtic Park with a big reputation and some other star players including Molby, Lerby, Olsen and a legend in the making on the bench that night one Marco Van Basten.

Celtic had one or two more than decent players in their side also, the fantastic Danny McGrain, the mid-field dynamos of McStay, Burns and MacLeod with Davie Provan providing the pin point crosses for the deadly duo of Nicholas and McGarvey, the Hoops would certainly not fear their opponents just respect them.

Coming into the ground, you noticed two things, one just how great an atmosphere it was and two that Ajax would not be playing in their famous Red and White strip but a natty Blue strip.

Perhaps Celtic side were shocked at the way the Dutch side came out of the traps against them but with over 56,000 fanatic fans cheering their side on, any side would have been up against it that night and on many other European nights over the years but Ajax dealt with this as they drew on their years of experience on the European scene
to help them deal with the Celtic threat on the field and the twelfth man of their support off it.

The Celtic Park crowd were totally stunned after only four minutes when Olsen scored after a fantastic run.

Ten minutes later, Celtic drew level after a quick Davie Provan corner kick found Tommy Burns at the edge of the box and as the mid-field moved in the box, he was fouled by Johan Cryuff and it was left to young Charlie Nicholas to dispatch the penalty past Galje.

But Celtic would soon be behind four minutes later.

Another Olsen run caused Celtic problems and he found Cryuff with a pass who in turn found Lerby with a delightful touch and he lifted the ball over the advancing Bonner.

This could have knocked the stuffing out of Celtic but they fought back again and after a long ball and flick on, McGarvey ran on to bring Celtic level once again in this simply wonderful and breathtaking first half .

Despite both sides having chances to win the game, this fantastic match ended 2-2 and I remember two things from standing at the Celtic end at the end of the match.

1) At the end of a match a man said to me, "Ah well that's us out!" I said, " I think Celtic can win over there ! to which he replied "If Celtic win over there I will give you a tenner !

I wish I had got his name and number for that tenner....with interest from 82 as Celtic did win 2-1 !

2) The Ajax players were cheered by the Celtic fans at the end of the match as they had a great deal of respect for their Dutch opponents.

I hope the match at Celtic Park is half as good as that Dutch of Class by Celtic and Ajax back in 82, I am just sorry that I won't be there to welcome our Dutch friends to our city once again.

The teams on the night


Bonner, McGrain, McAdam, Moyes, Reid, McStay, Burns (Sullivan 84), MacLeod, Provan, Nicholas, McGarvey Subs: Latchford Crainie McCluskey Sinclair
Celtic scorers: Nicholas (14 pen), McGarvey (27)

Galje, Molenaar, Van Veen, Molby, Boeve, Schoenaker, Ophof, Cryuff, Lerby, Olsen, Vanenburg Subs: Schrijvers, Silooy, Van Basten, Godee, Van T'Schip
Ajax scorers: Olsen (4), Lerby (18)

Referee: Fredriksson (Sweden)
Att: 56,229


Sean Graham

Follow on Twitter @FeaturesSean

"I am just a guy who has over 40 years of memories of watching various clubs and matches since my Dad took me round the grounds in Glasgow each week before we went to meet my Mum after work and we always went to the Berni Inn where I had scampi and chips !

From watching Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, Maryhill juniors and Scotland as well as watching Everton and Manchester United, I have plenty of memories to share for fans to hopefully enjoy and remember."


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