On a day when the first team were desperately fighting for the title at Easter Road, another match took place that would live long in the memory of those who witnessed it. The sun was shining, the pitch was immaculate and the crowd were most definitely in full voice; a stirring rendition of ‘You Will Never Walk Alone’ greeted the players as they made their way from the dressing rooms into the tunnel and out onto the hallowed turf of Celtic Park.
Sunday 17th May 2009
Celtic Home vs Celtic Away
Match Officials: Frank Queen, Gerry Hannah, David Munroe and Tony Ventri
It took a few minutes for the players to settle down and start playing some football. The Away team seemed to have more cohesion in the early stages and with more hunger for the ball, the desire become evident in the 9th minute when a clash in the middle of the park resulted in the ball breaking free for Away striker, Captain Martin Brown, to run at goal and slot the ball home low into the bottom left of goal.
Six minutes later and the Away side extended their early lead after some neat passing moves down the right channel finished off with Martin Brown shooting low into the right of the net for his second goal of the match. The Away side were continuing to create chances largely due to the Home team giving possession away far too easily, and on the 20th minute they were again gifted an opportunity to extend their lead when the ball was intercepted and they ran at goal with a 3-on-1 advantage. But this was to no avail.
Just when the game looked to be slipping away from them, the Home team got on the score sheet through an Ian Croarkin left footed shot. Once again Martin Brown played the ball along the edge of the box, but it was dummied by a midfielder before Croarkin hit it into the left hand side of the goal.
In the 28th minute Away captain Martin Brown got his hat-trick. Once again the beneficiary of some interesting defending by the Home side, Brown ran at goal from the left channel, rounding the keeper and finishing it off by shooting low into the net. A mere two minutes later and a penalty was awarded to the Home side for a trip right on the edge of the area. And this time it was Home Captain Stuart Murray who got his name on the score sheet – calmly slotting home with his right foot to make the score 2-3.
On the 31st minute, the match was back level once again, as the ball fell to Ian Croarkin in the middle of the pitch and from 25 yards he cracked in a dipping, swerving right footed shot that went over the keeper and into the net.
The game was much more competitive now, with both teams creating opportunities. In the 33rd minute Away striker Derek Spalding drove down the centre of the park, won a few challenges and then going one-on-one with the keeper, he shot right from a few yards out only to hit the post.
As half-time approached, the Home team were growing in confidence and applying some late pressure. They took the lead for the first time in the match on the 42nd minute when Colin Skillen drove towards the goal from the left of the area and then shot high inside the left post.
The crowd were on their feet again 2 minutes later when Gerry Diamond of the Home side hit a terrific volley from the left edge of the box low into the bottom right of goal to increase the lead to 5-3.
Half Time: Celtic Home 5 – 3 Celtic Away
The second half began in lively fashion when after only one minute of play the Away team were awarded what the Home team saw as a debatable penalty. It was Andy McMahon who ‘won’ the penalty and then stepped up to hit it past the keepers left to close the gap.
Two minutes later and the match was level again after Tom Lanigan headed the ball towards the goal which had stemmed from a corner. The ball then ricocheted off the head of Colin Skillen in the Home team, only to hit the bar and have Derek Spalding tucking home the rebound. The frenetic start to the second half didn’t show any signs of letting up as on the 49th minute, the Away team took the lead as Derek Spalding grabbed his second goal in as many minutes. The ball was played into the area finding Steve Lanigan, who spotted his team-mate and lay it off for Spalding to hit it right footed into the net.
The game settled down after that chaotic opening, with both teams having their fair share of possession. The next real chance fell to the Away side when Steve Lanigan strolled through the Home defence and took a shot which hit off the crossbar. Martin Brown was there smashing the rebound into a home defender who went down winded – great, if unintended, block!
On 64 minutes the match was level. An attempted shot from outside the box took a deflection and landed at the feet of Gerry Diamond, who managed to curl his first touched shot inside the right hand post. Unfortunately, the midfielder’s celebration came to an untimely end, when after taking his off his shirt, he quickly earned himself a yellow card.
Both sides were creating chances now and the Away side almost took the lead in the 66th minute with a nice through-ball for Derek Spalding intercepted by the Home keeper, Thomas Hunter.
The crowd had to wait until the 72nd for the next goal in what was proving a highly entertaining match. With what was arguably the goal of the game, and the hat trick for the striker, Gerard Diamond once again hit a fantastic, curling, right foot shot from the edge of the area into the bottom right of the net to make it 7-6.
Within a mere minute however this topsy-turvy match was level yet again, this time Derek Spalding being rewarded for harrying the Away defence, as he stole possession on the edge of the box and managed to chip the keeper for his hat-trick (7-7).
Both sides had chances to get the winning goal before the end, but it was fitting that such a high scoring game ended all square.
Full Time: Celtic Home 7 – 7 Celtic Away
Home Team: Hunter, Harkin, McDade, Mackinnon, Diamond, Skillen, MacRury, Murray, M Croarkin, I Croarkin, Gallacher, Clemenson, Armstrong
Away Team: Rodger, McGowan, Mccready, T Lanigan, G Lanigan, S Lanigan, Riley, Brown,
Mcguinness, Spalding, Beacham, Pearson, Mcmahon
Mascots: Zoe Croarkin and Cian McLaughlan
Man of the Match (home): Gerard Diamond
Man of the Match (away): Derek Spalding
Moment of the Match: Colin Skillen