Celtic’s Ten Greatest Last Minute Goals
The Italian Job: Massimo Donati Seals Champions League Knockout Qualification Deep Into Injury Time At Celtic Park.
On Wednesday 28 November 2007, Shakhtar Donetsk came to Celtic Park in a Champions League qualifier that was to as tightly contested as any game that season. They were a highly technical, and tough to break down, team who’d given us a bit of a roasting in the Ukraine earlier in the series.
When they took the lead after just four minutes Gordon Strachan must have thought all the lessons we’d learned from that game had gone unheeded. Yet they hadn’t; Celtic rallied and played well for the remainder of the match.
We got the equaliser just before half time, courtesy of Jiri Jarosik, a player I always enjoyed and who I thought would have been a very steady performer in the Hoops. That night he paid back his transfer fee and then some with a nicely hit shot.
Deep into injury time, we were still chasing that elusive winner. Then Aiden McGeady whipped a lovely ball in and Massimo Donati, another of those players who promised much at Celtic Park but never quite got it together, hit a first time shot. It hit a Shakhtar defender on the way into the net, but there was not a soul inside Celtic Park who cared.
That win put us into the Knockout Phase of the competition for the second year straight, quite an achievement from Gordon Strachan, particularly as Martin O’Neill hadn’t been able to it once. It was one of those nights that made Celtic Park seem like an invincible football fortress; more than just the Ukrainian’s left there feeling they’d been done.
The thing that sealed that night in the memories of a lot of fans wasn’t even the goal and the automatic qualification; it was the incredible rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone which followed the full time whistle. It still brings a tear to the eye.