Lisbon

GAME OF THE WEEK

Glasgow Celtic 2 Hibernian 2

Ladbrokes Premiership

Attendance: 59,259

Gate: £35

Programme: £3

A figure like 200 requires something special. Very special.

So for my 200th ground, I wanted to do something a bit over the top compared to where I usually go. So I put together a list and there was one standout option. Glasgow Celtic. Parkhead. Home of the Lisbon Lions. First British side to win the European Cup. A club with a special history.

Ticket bought over the old internet, I had decided to pay the extra few quid for a padded seat and would be watching the game from the Jock Stein Stand. First of all though I had to get there. Setting off from home at 9am in the company of my pal Mr Wilks, we were soon driving through sun then rain, then sun again and then rain again. Stopping for refreshments en route a couple of times we arrived in the East End of Scotland’s biggest city.

Parked up we headed to the ground, had a walk around, headed to the club shop, had a gander and then parted for the game. Yes, we were sat in opposite stands. Don’t like him that much!

Once inside Parkhead the buzz grew, even whilst I was having a drink on the concourse, the music was playing. This place is special. Out to my seat, soaked up the atmosphere and waited for the afternoon to unfold. A version of ‘Dirty Old Town’ was played, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was belted out by the fans and finally the teams come out. Followed by the home boss, to a big cheer, then followed by old boss, Neil Lennon, returning to Celtic for the first time as a visiting boss, cue massive cheer.

Situated at the opposite end to me, in the railed seating (standing) area are the fantastic Green Brigade. They never stopped singing, waving flags. I need to be in this end at some point of my life.

Attacking the end hosting the ‘Green Brigade’ the hoops started the better, though Hibs were obviously not over awed and attacked when they could rather than just sitting back. Half chances were appearing at both ends. Celtic struck first, Dembele holding the ball up until McGregor arrived on the scene, controlled the pass and dispatched the ball into the back of the net, 1-0.

Efforts straight at the keepers were swapped before the best chance of the game, Boyle was put clean through, running 40 yards he was just about to pull the trigger when somehow Boyata had got back and prevented the equaliser.

Things got even better at half-time. Picking out the winning ticket was Coolio. Brilliant!

Second half saw the introduction of Sinclair for the largely ineffective Edouard, but apart from one effort from the sub, it was the visitors that had taken the game by the scruff of its neck, especially McGinn. He was bossing it, Ntcham was struggling. It was no surprise when in the 53rd minute the ball broke on the edge of the box for McGinn, he hammered into the bottom corner, their fans went mad, 1-1.

Whittaker headed just over from a free-kick then came a moment of brilliance. A corner flicked on at the near post and there was Whittaker to make it 2-1 for Hibs. Somehow Gordon got across and kept his effort out, If you haven’t seen it, Google it. It is incredible. I cannot remember ever seeing a better save.

Then Hibs took the lead. With just 13 minutes to go, McGinn again picked up a loose ball and hammered it past Gordon, 2-1 to Hibs. Was the unbelievable going to happen, was a 57 domestic game unbeaten run going to come to an end? Was Neil Lennon going to do the unthinkable?

No.

The lead lasted 3 minutes.

A ball to the far post broke in the area, who was on hand? McGregor. Side footing the ball past Laidlaw and also a stray boot on the line. 2-2. The release was enormous.

I can only imagine what it would have been like had Celtic been awarded a penalty in added on time. How the referee missed the hug given to Sinclair yards in front of him I will never know. Though to be fair a draw was a fair result.

Game over, I headed back to meet Mr W and the long trip home.

A great day. I am going to come back. Again and again. Love it.

ADDED ON

At one point every season I will be at a match around this point when the weather has turned, I am ill prepared clothes wise and I think to myself ‘Why on earth do I bother?’. Then the football entertains me and all such thoughts go out of my head. High flying Linnets made the trip north on this cold, wet and thoroughly miserable Wednesday evening and totally controlled the opening 45 minutes.

A strike from Bryant just past the halfway point of the first half was all the visitors had to show for their efforts when the players went in for the break. They should have had more. Quite a few more.

As the teams swapped ends so did the pattern of play, the hosts were reduced to 10 for a second yellow to right back Brown, and then picked up their game. Darwen went for it, as the weather continued to play havoc, they were eventually unlucky not to grab a point. Good effort lads.

Linnets may well look back on this as a very important evening. Awful weather, didn’t play particularly well, opposition had some decent chances, but they still came away with all 3 points.

GAMES

Wed: AFC Darwen 0 Runcorn Linnets 1

Sat: Glasgow Celtic 2 Hibernian 2

FACTS

Games: 420

Goals:  1430

Grounds: 200

Games since a 0-0: 33

Milestone: 200th Ground – Glasgow Celtic

SOUNDTRACK

My Love is Cool – Wolf Alice

3 responses to Lisbon

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