The Season Book Years – 2010/11
Continuing the season book years series, remember that the one rule I set myself here was that I could only pick a game that was on the season book that I actually went to. As such, they’re all home league games. I might mention other games from that season to put it into the context of the season, but the main focus will be on that one home league game. So, with that in mind…
Celtic 9-0 Aberdeen, 6th November 2010.
Stokes 26 (pen), 45+1 (pen), 74, Hooper 28, 33, 63, Magennis 61 (og), Ledley 71, McCourt 85 (pen).
On the 6th of November 1887, Celtic were founded in St Mary’s in the Calton. Lesa than seven months later, that team kicked a ball for the first time and the rest, as they say, is history.
Exactly 123 years after that St Mary’s meeting, the Celtic Graves Society held their first ceremony to mark the grave of Dan Doyle. Dan had played for Celtic in the latter years of the 19th century, yet lay in an unmarked grave in St Peter’s Cemetery, Dalbeth until the Celtic Graves Society put that right. I attended the ceremony that day, and recorded it for the LostBhoys podcast.
Or at least that was the plan.
As it turned out, I was “spotted” and that recording ended up on the Celtic Underground podcast instead. So, out of guilt, I thought I’d try something else new. If Celtic Underground were getting the Celtic Graves Society recording, then the LostBhoys were going to get an experimental recording where I recorded my thoughts from the Aberdeen game that same day.
Little was I to know just what a game that would turn out to be.
Aberdeen were struggling badly. Mark McGhee, the former Celtic player, was manager there and the calls for him to go were increasing with each passing week. So turning up at Celtic Park and having your most experienced player – another former Celt, Paul Hartley – save a goalbound shot in the penalty area after just 25 minutes was probably the last thing he needed. Anthony Stokes tucked away the penalty and Celtic were off the mark.
Two minutes later, Gary Hooper made it 2-0, and then 3-0 a further five minutes later. It looked like Aberdeen might have a lifeline in the game though when Thomas Rogne was sent off for a last man challenge. However, despite that levelling the numbers at ten-a-side, it didn’t seem to make much difference to the game and Celtic continued to push on. It was 4-0 by half time as Jamie Langfield was booked for a challenge he should probably have been sent off for, and Stokes scored his second penalty of the day.
Maybe it had something to do with the special guest that day. Chris Sutton was at Celtic Park for the second time that season, and this time he had brought a friend – Henrik Larsson. Henrik had actually been along to training earlier in the week and you had to wonder if he’d worked his magic on the Celtic team as they continued to bang in the goals in the second half.
It took another 15 minutes before Celtic scored again, and it was a cracking own goal from Josh Magennis. Two minutes later though and Hooper completed his hat trick to make it 6-0. The pressure was now on Stokes to get his hat trick, and while he tried to get the seventh he made a bit of a mess of it and Joe Ledley got it instead. Stokes did finally get his hat trick with 15 minutes remaining to make it 8-0 and suddenly Celtic’s own league record of 11-0 against Dundee was in danger of being caught.
As it was, Celtic stopped at 9-0 when Paddy McCourt scored Celtic’s third penalty of the day with just five minutes left. To this day 9-0 is the biggest scoreline I’ve ever witnessed first hand. I thought it would be hard to beat, but since then both Hamilton Accies and Hearts have scored 10 goals in one game in the second tier – the latter doing so to nil!
And, of course, the match report from that day went down a storm as a new feature on the LostBhoys podcast. You can listen to it here. It only grew arms and legs from there, whether it was the praise I got for recording the visit to Ibrox a couple of months later, or the games that came later. So much so that I still get referred to as “the Tony Watt guy” in some circles!
Unsurprisingly, Mark McGhee didn’t last much longer. The only surprise was that he didn’t go immediately after this game. As for Celtic? Well, we were back, but a few untimely stumbles meant that only the Scottish Cup ended up in the trophy cabinet. The League Cup final was a disappointing defeat to a Rangers team we thought we had on the ropes, especially after knocking them out of the Scottish Cup in a Celtic Park replay after being 2-1 down and down to ten men in the first game at Ibrox. A brilliant 3-0 win in the league came between those two Scottish Cup games, but it was an off day in Inverness in a pre-split game played after the split that left us hoping for a Rangers slip in the title race that never came. The final day 4-0 win over Motherwell saw the whole stadium still enjoying ourselves immensely despite knowing Rangers were romping to victory in their game.
But the final cheer that day came when Neil Lennon – a man who had been assaulted by a home supporter at Tynecastle and sent bullets through the post as death threats – refused to bow to the intimidation and confirmed that “this isn’t the end, this is just the beginning”.
Little did we know what was to come next.