If You Know Your History: SEALING O’ NEILL’S TREBLE


“Happy days are here again” might have been a good song for Celtic supporters to sing on their way to Hampden that bright sunny day of 26 May 2001. The League Cup had been won in March, the League (by miles) in April and now the Scottish Cup in May.

And it was all down to Martin O’Neill whose quiet, intense, committed style of management had seen some shrewd buys and a great deal of success from a team which had, occasionally, that year looked virtually unbeatable.

But above all else there had been goals. We all knew that Henrik Larsson could play. He had done well in a mediocre Celtic team in 1998 and 1999 before breaking his leg, but now playing in a good team, the goals kept coming in the way that McGrory’s did in days of old.

He had already scored a fine hat-trick in the Scottish League Cup final and how nice it would be if only he could do likewise in the Scottish Cup final and thus put himself in the same glorious bracket as Jimmy Quinn and Dixie Deans.

Celtic suffered a bad blow in the early stages when the little genius Lubomir Moravcik, now ageing and beginning to struggle, had to go off injured. Such was the depth in Celtic’s pool however that Jackie McNamara came on and it was Jackie who scored the first goal, picking up a nice ball from Didier Agathe.

That’s how it was at half-time. Larsson hadn’t been happy with his boots and changed them at half-time to ones made of kangaroo hide! Fairly soon after that he scored the decisive second goal, swivelling beautifully to hammer home into the roof of the net, and then with time running out, Henrik scored a penalty kick after he himself had been fouled in the penalty area.

It would have been nice to see him get a hat-trick, but it was not to be.

Celtic, having now won the Cup for 31 times, showed a wonderful regard for their traditions by then changing into the green and white hoops for the trophy presentation. Officialdom had made them wear an insipid yellow colour in the game itself, but Celtic are not really Celtic unless they are wearing the green and white hoops,

Celtic: Douglas, Mjallby, Valgaeren, Vega, Thompson (Johnson), Agathe, Lennon, Lambert (Boyd), Moravcik (McNamara), Larsson, Sutton

Hibs: Colgan, Fenwick, Smith, Sauzee, Jack, Laursen, Murray, Brebner (Arpinon) (Lovell), O’Neill,

Paatelainen (Zitelli), Libbra

Referee: Mr K Clark, Paisley.


One Comment

  1. giggsy
    Posted May 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked that yellow kit.

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