Celtic Change

Celtic Sean Graham



There have been so many great memories and matches between Celtic and Aberdeen over the years that I could have spent all day deciding which one to go for.

Games which were covered on TV which I was unable to attend for one reason or another or a match which wasn’t on TV but will go down in the history books as the day that Aberdeen legend Frank McDougall scored all four against his boyhood heroes but none of the goals will ever be shown due to a strike by cameramen! Frank has never forgiven you for that …

“That's the whole damn thing about it that makes me mad! Said Frank I was the only player in the Dons history to get four goals against Celtic and no one out-side of Pittodrie saw them, even Fergie was furious, bloody cameramen ! I got a perfect 10/10 in the Sunday Mail the next day; you don’t see that too often!”

“It was great scoring all four goals v Celtic but people said it must have hurt you being a boyhood Celtic fan but they didn’t’ pay my wages and it didn't matter who I played against whether it was Motherwell or Queen of the South or Celtic or Rangers I just wanted to score goals and win for Aberdeen or whoever I was playing for, St. Mirren, Clydebank.”

One match that I wasn’t able to attend due to being at a wedding that day but have been reminded by a former Aberdeen player and now friend of mine that he actually scored the winner in a match between these two clubs at Celtic Park when the Dons ran out 3-2 winners that day thanks to a goal deep into injury time from Aberdeen substitute John Stewart back in October 2004.

The match had swung from end to end with the Dons taking a two goal lead with goals from Mackie and Pasquinelli before two John Hartson strikes brought the home side level.

Then Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood was forced to make a change with only 12 minutes left bringing on young John Stewart to replace Kevin McNaughton.

Celtic almost grabbed a winner with 5 minutes left but Ryan Esson (who had come on for the injured David Preece) made a fantastic save from a Balde over-head kick and then as the game was coming to an end an injury time almost over, John Stewart showed great composure after some bad defending by Celtic, to run on and beat David Marshall and grab the winner for the Dons.

This must have been a dream come true for this young man as he ran to celebrate with the Dons supporters, not only him scoring the winner for the Dons but the fact that the wee man is a life-long Rangers fan!

John is often reminded of this goal but he has mixed feelings about it

“Yeah, I remember my goal well. I used to have the match on tape but my Dad played it so often that the tape does not play anymore!"

"It was an incredible feeling for me but even more so as my family were burying my gran the next day so it was also emotional."

“The kit man at Aberdeen Jim Warrender, framed that jersey for me as he knew what that goal meant to me at what was a difficult time for the family, it still hangs on my wall”

Fans don’t realise that players are only human like you and I, they have their own things to deal with and sometimes moments like these come along to make you think twice and I would like to thank John for sharing that with me.

With this Saturday's match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park in mind, I thought that I would dust down the old memory bank to see what match I had attended between the two clubs I could feature for my latest Sporting Memory and one came to mind straight away.

It was the day back in February 83 when a young Aberdeen side came down to Celtic Park and stunned the home fans as Eric Black hit a hat- trick to win the match for the Dons in a 3-1 win.

People always used to say that the school days are the best days of your life, looking back on it now, my parents were probably right and it is only now as I get older and see what is happening in the world that I may probably agree with them.

Back then the football was more affordable and the players were more approachable and it was great when you wrote to a club or a player and they actually replied!

When I was a schoolboy, I went to see Aberdeen while my other friends supported Celtic or Rangers or even Morton!

But then I used to go Celtic games after that with my pals also or my Dad, or Rangers games with my friends, I do the same even now, I just love football.

Going to a school full of Celtic or Rangers fans, meant that when your team played either one of these two, then you were going to get a slagging, especially if they lost.

I remember the stick I took leading up to this match at Celtic Park but I didn't let it bother me as I knew what a good team the Dons had back then.

The players were not only good but I remember writing to Jim Leighton and getting a reply from Jim with him saying that the Dons would win the match and he would see me after the match, this was brilliant news.

It used to be an exciting game to to a match like that back then, both sides had quality players and you would also go with your mates from school (Jeff, Maff, John, Jamie, Dave, Greg and Danny) and this was great till you got there then you went your separate ways to support your team before meeting up at the end of the match to go home, that is if you were not hanging around waiting on the players appearing.

That day at Celtic Park, I remember we arrived late due to traffic but I remember just getting into the Aberdeen end in time and looked up to see that the ground was mobbed, all the way round, it was amazing.

Around that time there used to be a gang called the Aberdeen Casual's, which I didn't agree with and I remember there being a bit of trouble between them and the Celtic fans at various periods of the game as there were only little barriers to separate the fans from each other back then.

We had stood beside the fence to get a better view of the match when all hell broke loose and a whiskey bottle just missed my head by inches- I don't even drink the stuff and back in those days you couldn't be too sure it would have been what it said on the bottle that was actually inside it.

All this carry on could take away from the fact that there was a good match going on between two class sides that day.

Aberdeen were flying high in the league and they had a Cup Winners Cup quarter-final to look forward to against Bayern Munich, indeed the German giants had sent spy's to watch the Dons at Celtic Park that day, none other than manager Uli Hoeness, who must have been impressed with the Dons that day.

Celtic had been top of the pile going into this match but knew that this would be a tough test against Alex Ferguson's men did hit the front in this match with a hooked shot from young sharp shooter Charlie Nicholas on 34 minutes after Paul McStay took a quick free-kick to Frank McGarvey who back heeled it to Charlie boy and he did what he was good at and hooked the ball past Jim Leighton in the Aberdeen goal.

Celtic and they looked like they could coast along quite easily until the half-time whistle but the Dons had other ideas.

In the 44th minute, Dons midfield powerhouse Neil Simpson played a wonderful through ball to Eric Black who in turn smashed the ball past Paddy Bonner in the Celtic goal to pull the Dons level, game on.

But no sooner had the Dons levelled the match then they took the lead seconds later after a Black header beat Bonner and gave the Dons the half-time lead that they could hardly believe.

Celtic came out fighting in the second half but they just could not break the Red barrier of Miller, McLeish, Leighton, Kennedy and Rougvie down.

They had been trying to chase the goal that would have brought them level when a long ball from Miller caught them out and McGhee won the ball for that man Black to complete his hat-trick and send the Dons fans home happy but not before I got the chance to talk to Jim Leighton, Neil Simpson and the man of the match, Eric Black outside in the car park.

Jim Leighton just gave me a smile and said, “Told you we would win! Now go into school on Monday with a big smile on your face.”

The Dons never had a fault in their side that day, the Red barrier that I mentioned all played well, Cooper, Simpson, Bell and Weir in the middle of the park without Gordon Strachan were superb and McGhee and Black never gave the Celtic defenders peace all day, aye they had not a bad team back in 83 the Dons !

I am sure they won a European trophy or two then also!

When I was a kid, these were the matches that I used to love to go to, games when Aberdeen played in Glasgow v the Old Firm.

The family (My Mum, Dad, Gran, Grandad and Uncle Tommy) would just worry till I got home but I would never be interested in any bother, just chatting to the players or collecting my programmes.

Families are great and I would like to dedicate this article to my Mum, over the years she has given me more support than any boy could ever ask for or imagine, including coming on trips to see Aberdeen v Dundee United at Pittodrie on the Doug Rougvie supporters bus which left from the old STV studios at Cowcaddens a pre-season tournament which involved Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham and the Dons, a match on a cold Tuesday night v Clydebank at Kilbowie, where you could hear Fergie telling the players exactly what he thought of them ( but he still signed a book my Mum bought me for Christmas ), and she also went with me and wee Greg on a trip to Tynecastle to watch Aberdeen lose a Cup semi-final against Dundee United –when I was not a happy boy and I don’t think mother was too impressed by the flow of urine coming from the toilets as we tried to get by the police horse! She even got me tickets to see my first Cup Final in 82 when the Dons took on Rangers and won 4-1 after extra-time; she really is a special Mum.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it

Till the next memory then, take care and enjoy your football and your memories


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."



Remember that trip to tynecastle vaguely!

– Greg Fairley, November 22 2013 at 19:12

Thought you would wee man the Dons should have got a penalty too!

– Sean Graham, November 22 2013 at 23:18

Thought you would wee man the Dons should have got a penalty too!

– Sean Graham, November 22 2013 at 23:19

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