In the first of series of articles and reviews looking back on the last decade, we start with a simple showing of the early Seasons and some basic facts from Wikipedia to get the memories and nightmares rushing back… feel free to leave your comments below..
Sir John Reid was our Chairman much to the chagrin on many Celtic fans.
Of course “The man with a handy Security Contract Contacts Phone Book” ( this was the suggestion when Dermot brought him on board earlier the previous season) couldn’t care less and made no attempts to win fans over.
Tony Mowbray was in the dug-out after Strachan had left after his 3 year tenure and then Tony would be leaving the dugout after a shameful tools-down 4-0 gubbing at St Mirren.
I can still clearly recall Frank Skinner laughing at us paying £2m compensation for a guy that West Brom were quite willing to pay £2m to leave. One for Peter to take on the chin there.
In stepped Neil Lennon when a clown let us down…quelle surprise.
Lenny would do well enough but sadly somehow he managed to lose one game in the remaining few months and its was to ROSS F******* COUNTY at Hampden!
Robbie Keane as top scorer kinda says it all, he still feels embarrassed winning Fans POTY that season and he even felt sorry for a certain Aiden McGeady!
As for the League, well no cigar there and no surprise given the Managerial drama we suffered. In Europe we got professionally done by Arsene Wengers Arsenal and in Domestic cups, we had that Highlanders shock and also the shame of Hearts beating us at home in the Scottish…oh dear, never mind as Mowbray would often mutter.
Hey, we did win The Wembley Cup beating Al Ahly and Spurs on the way! How bright those Mowbray fortunes seemed in the early July days!
This was also the season we had a World Cup finalist full back in our squad…anyone remember who?
Sir John Reid was still hanging about like a bad smell but at least we now started to see a real full time striker on board with Gary Hooper banging them in. Wee Izzy, Stokes, Commons, Ledley and young Tony Watt arrived that year along with a certain Fraser Forster who arrived on loan that season as the Holy Goalie Boruc bid arrividerci and headed to Fiorentina.
Meanwhile Aiden McGeady, lip fully petted and bored out his tree, would take the long road to Moscow for a record £9.5m which kept Pedro happy.
A Scottish Cup 3-0 win over Motherwell with an OG from Stephen Craigan for added joy, helped ease the pain of abject European Humiliation ( Braga and Utrecht FFS!) and a League Cup extra time defeat to the Huns who also claimed the League that season after we knocked them out the Scottish Cup. A season in which we played them 7 times no less and only lost twice.
In the November that season, we gubbed Aberdeen 9-0 in one game. A game where Hooper and Stokes both got Hat-tricks and the Derry Pele got the final penalty. In charge of the Dons that day was Mr Happy Jaws and ex Celt, Mark McGhee.
This was also the season we had the referee strike. At least now we can all say the Standards, Respect and Relationships have improved so much since those dark times, cant we?
This would be the penultimate season of the dreadful joint sponsors…anyone remember who it was?
Its the end of Sir John Reid as we know it, and we feel fine as REM never ever sang.
Interesting to see a certain Ian Bankier arrive to replace him.
In the domestic Cups, Lennys Hampden hoodoo struck as Kilmarnock of all sides, won 1-0 in the League cup final. Then it was Hearts of all sides who beat us 2-1 in the Scottish Cup semi final, this after we had progressed to meet them without conceding a goal in the competition.
In Europe, it wasn’t to be despite Sion being excluded after gubbing us in qualification and making an arse of their player registrations. We had decent box office ties against Athletico, Udinese and Rennes but weren’t good enough to progress.
Saving the best till last…and what a domestic league season that was though.
By October we were 10 points behind!
By November we were 15 points behind!
By the years end however, Joe Ledley scored and we were top of the table and whispering Ally McCoist was fucked, he just didn’t know it at the time.
Come Valentines Day and we were sore with laughter and come May it would be our Title and CL football. Motherwell would also look toward trying for the Champions League after Rangers died leaving Hearts, Dundee Utd and St Johnstone looking towards the Europa.
No Celtic fan will forget that scary day when we were 3-0 down at Kilmarnock and Tony Stokes grabbed the game, and Lennys career by the scruff of the neck and dragged us back from the abyss to claim a share of the points and a massive charge forward.
We would win 17 games in a row that season and go 21 games unbeaten.
On the park, Hooper and Stokes combined for 50 goals to help ease the pain of us buying Mo Bangura.
However for every Bangura, we have a signing like Victor Wanyama, a steal at under £1m that summer and we also picked up Mikel Lustig for heehaw that year.
The main departures were Shaun Maloney who would go onto FA Cup glory at Wigan and wee boy named Islam Feruz..not sure what happened to that guy but we all thought he was gonna go onto such great things too.
Talking of awards, a certain fresh faced wee whippersnapper named James Forrest would win 2 Young Player awards that season too and interestingly come the run in, Charlie Mulgrew would win 2 Player of the Month awards . Whodathunkit?
Let us leave THAT season with Wikipedia SPFL 2011-2012 site info on a certain club:
Rangers were deducted 10 points for entering administration. As Rangers did not exit administration by 31 March, they were ineligible to compete in Europe in the 2012–13 season. Rangers were unable to agree a CVA with their creditors and the club’s holding company entered proceedings to be liquidated. After being reformed in a new corporate structure, Rangers were admitted into the 2012–13 Scottish Third Division in time for the start of the season.
Coming soon….The Lenny and Ronny Years