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On This Day - The Demolition Derby
2000-08-27: Celtic 6-2 Rangers

2000-08-27: Celtic 6-2 Rangers

The importance of this game cannot be overstated. Prior to this game, there had been various false dawns for Celtic fans over the past 15 years, such as the Centenary double, the "St Patrick's day massacre" (both under Billy McNeil) and the classic Lubo-inspired 5-1 win (under Venglos). That was the background the club had to suffer under for many a year.

Rangers were in the ascendency having comfortably won the league the previous season and spent a massive sum on transfers on top of it all. Before the start of the season, the Huns genuinely believed they were to enter the next phase of domination both at home and in Europe (highlighted in their now infamous "spikey shoes" article). In truth, few Celtic fans saw any hope of us overhauling them but the club was beginning to regroup after a couple of disastrous years under the previous team managers.

New management and a new set of players in (most of whom needed time to bed in (supposedly)). So how was MoN to cope in his first game? Celtic tanked Rangers 6-2.

A reality not a dream, a glorious exhibition of football which really shook the game in Scotland to its core.

In this match, there were plenty of moments of glory, most special of which was the greatest goal in Celtic v Rangers history: Larsson's classic chip. This cemented Larsson as the legend that he is regarded as today, with even better still to come.

This match became a turning point in Scottish Football, with Rangers to begin a decline and for Celtic to begin a rise back up to respectability under Martin O'Neil.

In a sense it is almost possible to pinpoint the precise moment of the turn - the second that Henrik's glorious, imperious, chip hit the back of the net. Immediately before Celtic had been 3 - 1 up and while easily the better team there had been some signs at the end of the first half that Rangers might recover their poise and at least push for the draw. After that moment of genius there could be no going back: a terrible beauty had been born.

The shock of the scale of this victory - for Celtic fans as much as anybody else - was emphasised by the deft psychological game Martin O'Neill had played in the days before. Stating that "Rangers are the benchmark" and talking of the possibility of a Celtic defeat while implying it was too early in the club's rebuild to hope for anything other than the narrowest of victories.

For those not around prior to this game, it's hard to explain the importance of the match and its impact, and in retrospect we ourselves began to only realise what we had the potential to achieve with what we always had in the club after this match, and all we needed was MoN to unlock it for us. Without the demolition in this game, it's hard to see how we could have succeeded as we did in the coming years without it (both at home and later in Europe). The psychological impact was immense on both ourselves (positively) and Rangers (negatively).

It was the beginning of a new era for Celtic.

Posted by voc1967 on Tuesday 27 August 2019 - 10:17:00 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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