It is a strange game to start a new feature with but the reason why I picked our second heaviest European defeat will become clear later on.
We went into this game in late October as favorites. Xamax were a mid table Swiss outfit struggling both on and off the park. I suppose the same could be said that we were a struggling Scottish outfit both on and off the park.
We had reached this stage after dispatching Ekeren 3-1 on aggregate but the game in the Stade De La Maladiere Neuchatel turned into our worst nightmare. The game proves that European away nightmares haven’t been just a recent occurrence.
Hassan scored four on the evening and as the footage – albeit grainy and seeming filmed on a hand held camera – proves our defence was as welcoming to European striking no-marks as an Essex girl is to peroxide and fake tan.
Our manager – Liam Brady – pointed to the lose of Mike Galloway and Gary Gillespie for the defeat. Clutching at straws there.
The return leg saw Charlie Nicholas miss an early penalty and us failing to score the 4 goals needed to turn the tie around. Joe Miller grabbed a consolation. The return leg was shown live on the BBC either in the hope of a unbelievable turn around or so that the nation could laugh at out futile attempts to retrieve the lost cause.
I didn’t go to the second leg. The first leg was a hard enough listen on the radio so I decided to follow my teenage rites of passage by attending my first ever gig at The Barrowlands instead.
Manchester band James didn’t disappoint where Charlie Nicholas did.
The reason Neuchatel came back into my mind is that the club no longer exists. In January this year the Swiss League revoked the twice league winners license. The club were formally declared bankrupt after Chechen owner Bulat Chagaev was arrested for financial mismanagement and fraud.
There is talk of the club – which Sepp Blatter is/was the honorary president – reforming in the fourth tier amateur league.
The foes going to the wall. I wonder if it will catch on?
Celtic team for both legs:
P Bonner; M McNally, D Wdowczyk, P Grant, D Whyte, S Fulton, B O’Neil, P McStay, A Cascarino, T Coyne , C Nicholas. Subs used G Creaney & J Miller
Bonner; McNally, Wdowczyk O’Neil, Whyte, Galloway, Miller, McStay, Coyne, Nicholas, Collins. Subs used T Cascarino & G Creaney
Memory jog via www.thecelticwiki.com