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95 years since 3-in-a-row league 0-0s

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The prospect tomorrow is to move 12 points ahead with only 12 points available to others.  Win, and 8-in-a-row could be real by 17:00 on Sunday, after our two nearest rivals face each other.

While the championship is all but decided, Killie have everything to play for with four games remaining.  A win would see them go fourth, for a day at least, and into a Europa League.  Whereas a defeat could see Hibs close the gap below them to just two points.  Whatever occupies the minds of Celtic players, Kilmarnock will be there battling for a win.

Kilmarnock have mastered the art of defending in recent weeks, conceding only twice in seven games, most recently as the haemorrhaged players to a flurry of red cards against Aberdeen.  Steve Clarke will have watched how lesser teams have tightened up against us, successfully inhabiting our goals for column.

Kilmarnock’s two central defenders against Aberdeen, Broadfoot and Findlay, were sent off and are suspended tomorrow.  While this will provide encouragement to Celtic, it will convince Clarke to pack his defence ever-tighter.

There’s another thing.  We do not often draw 0-0 twice in consecutive league games, but after Livingston and Hibs kept us at bay, this is where we find ourselves.  It has been 95 years since we drew three consecutive league games 0-0.  Let’s just put the ball in the net and avoid disturbing the record books tomorrow.

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  1. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “not acting in the best interests of football”

     

    Hmmmm. I wonder how you would describe appointing a serial failure as national team manager because he’s your mate and he needed a job and nobody else would give him one, then having to sack him and give him a pay-off?

  2. LARSSONSE8EN – Thanks for the kind wishes ‘re EKFC. EK Thistle still exist and play in the junior leagues. But EKFC are a completely separate team formed much more recently. Really looking forward to both games that I’m attending tomorrow – 2 half time pies, nearly 3 hours apart!!

     

    As for tonight’s TV games I’ve gone for Ross County to score on both halves with Liverpool o win both halves. A correct outcome would actually cover the cost of 3 (THREE) half time pies ;-)

  3. I woke this morning very much looking forward to spending the day with my youngest son Harvey. With his Kindergarten pausing for the Easter holidays it meant I could enjoy quality father-and-son time as I planned our day ahead over breakfast. With his big brother Lennox safely tucked up in school and his mum on her way to the office, Harvey and I spent the best part of the morning building his Lego train set and playing ‘aeroplanes’ It was a blissful morning filled with giggles and laughter. During a pause in our proceedings I quickly skimmed through ‘Twitter’ and learned with great sadness the passing of Billy McNeill. My heart sank. I picked Harvey up, held him tight and shed a wee tear.

     

     

    Throughout my broadcasting career I have been extremely lucky and somewhat blessed to have met some great people from the game, Billy is right up there with the best of them. I first met him in the canteen at the old Scottish Television studios in Cowcaddens, Glasgow. I was chewing the fat with Lisbon Lion Jim Craig over a game of pool and in walked this callosal man. I was immediately in awe. Jim placed his cue on the table mid-shot and greeted his old pal with a firm hug and a huge smile. It was then that I knew that football sometimes goes beyond just the game on the park, these guys were brothers. Billy offered his hand and introduced himself – as if he needed to do that, a class act! We hit it off right from the start. Over the years I have always used my Grandpa’s name to break the ice with ex-players, journalists and managers. If you have regularly dipped into my blogs you will know my Grandpa, John Begg, was a well-known and hugely respected football journalist who was loved by all. As soon as Billy learned of my Grandpa, he, like Jim, took me under his wing.

     

     

    During our first meeting I asked about his time at Aberdeen, much to Jim’s amusement. Billy had nothing but the highest regard for the club and his time there. Billy joined the Dons after Ally McLeod left to take up the Scotland manager’s job in the summer of 1977. For his first game in charge Billy orchestrated a fine 3-1 win over Rangers at Pittodrie; the Dons started the season by only dropping one point in the first six games. Billy was off to a very solid start. In November of that year Billy signed a player who would go on to have a huge influence at the club, Gordon Strachan. Just a few months later he made another momentous signing with Stevie Archibald joining from Clyde. Significantly Billy left a lasting impression on the club in ways that may not be appreciated; he gave Alex McLeish his debut against Dundee United in January 1978, he signed a certain youngster by the name of Neil Simpson and not long after persuaded Willie Miller to sign a new contract with the club for just an extra five quid a week. Billy’s powers of persuasion plus legendary aura left Willie with not much of a decision to make, he gladly put pen-to-paper soon afterwards and went on to become our greatest ever captain and player.

     

     

    In his one and only season in the gaffer’s office at Pittodrie Billy finished runners-up in the League and Scottish Cup Final. Aberdeen only lost five League games all season but came unstuck on the final day of the season; we lost the League by only two points. Just a week later, in the Cup Final, for whatever reason Aberdeen froze on the day despite coming into the game undefeated in twenty-three games since December. At the season end the lure of Celtic was too good to turn down for Billy. After Scotland’s calamitous showing in Argentina Ally McLeod found his position untenable and in-stepped Jock Stein. Despite Chris Anderson and Chairman Dick Donald’s strenuous efforts to keep Billy in the Aberdeen hot-seat Billy’s spiritual home was calling. It’s great tribute to all that Billy agonized over his move back to Celtic Park. His void was soon filled by the great Sir Alex Ferguson who inherited a team and foundation that very much is credited to the great work done by Billy and his right-hand man, John Clark. His contribution will always be remembered by all at Pittodrie, he does after all have the highest winning percentage of any Aberdeen manager in the history of the club!

     

     

    Billy wasn’t just a great football man but an incredibly nice, warm-hearted guy who had time for everybody. During a particularly difficult spell in the early days of Celtic TV Billy sensed I was down one afternoon after receiving an extremely unflattering letter from a Celtic fan who was critical of my presenting style. The fan basically said I was unwelcome due to the fact I was an Aberdeen fan. I showed Billy the letter and he told me to do one of two things – to either allow the words to eat away at me or to use the letter as a means of inspiration to show that particular person I was worthy of the position. He told me that being a fan of Aberdeen was completely irrelevant and that I should never allow my professionalism to waver. I took the second option and became a better person for it. Billy helped me, he guided me and he encouraged me throughout my three years with Setanta Sports. Whenever he stepped into our office, he greeted everybody, no matter their position, with the warmest of smiles. Eventually he would make his way over to our team and after concluding his greetings would walk behind my chair, place his hands on my shoulders, very much like my own father used to do whenever I sat in his office and say the words “alrightie sheepie’ and proceed to gleefully make fun of Aberdeen’s result that particular weekend. It was clear back then that Billy was struggling with his knees and his hip and always looked in pain but that never stopped his sense of fun. I always looked forward to seeing him!

     

     

    When my father sadly died in June 2007 Billy was one of the first to call me to offer his condolences. He was a tremendous source of strength during that very dark period in my life. When I was presented with the opportunity to move to Singapore, he encouraged me to take the job as he knew it would open many new doors for me not just professionally but personally too – he was so right! I met my wife there after all and started my own family.

     

     

    To conclude I am lucky and privileged to have known such an incredible man. Eventually this ‘Lion’ was tamed by the worst of diseases. Upon hearing of his struggles with dementia I was left heartbroken. My own mother suffers from this terrible disease so I fully appreciate the daily struggles that was faced by Billy and his adoring family. I have nothing but the utmost respect for his amazing wife Liz and Billy’s wonderful children. I will always remember and be grateful for his kindness and generosity. Our loss is very much heavens gain. RIP Cesar!

     

     

    Ally Begg Shortbread CSC

  4. Anyone read Sutherland’s report of the Broonie verdict, anyone who does not know what happened in the game will think Broonie has been the instigator of the events and has got off, incredible distortion of the facts and the verdict today, Level 5 clearly involved at Pacific Quay.

  5. Halfway to Paradise ?

     

    Well, almost. Dundee for an overnight stop before a not-quite-so-early start in the morning. Expecting tears, songs and goals tomorrow when we honour My Hero.

     

    ?

  6. Wow- what a powerful piece from Ally Begg.

     

    Happy, sad, beautifully written, just wow.

     

     

    D. :)

  7. PMYTH…you’ve got a dedicated room at yer daughters…she must be a saint and a chip off the auld block…from yer wife’s side ;-))

     

     

    3-0 tomorrow but hoping for 5 – don’t tell yer daughter it’s her or the dog….only gonna b one winner ;-))

     

     

    H.H.

  8. Friesdorfer

     

    Premier Inn beside the Ice Rink.

     

    Last minute decision. Staying over in Glasgow tomorrow – that’s been planned for a bit longer?

  9. Firstly, a big thank you (not for the first time) to BSR for bringing the Ally Begg article to CQN. Found him on Twitter, sent him a message of thanks and got an immediate reply! Shared his writing more widely on Facebook. Credit where credit;s due.

  10. PMTYH

     

    Thanks. That’s it.

     

    I could have googled it, I guess, but I have little enough street cred. these days

  11. BIG PACKY 1 – thank you.

     

    The next 4 Saturday afternoons will feature EKFC v Cove Rangers, Cove Rangers v EKFC, EKFC OR Cove Rangers v (prob) Berwick Rangers and finally (prob) Berwick Rangers v EKFC OR Cove Rangers.

     

    Apologies for the number of ‘Rangers’ in this post!

  12. Celtic have to get Better and Better. It is interesting that comments were about Celtic needing a Young Celtic CH coming through and the lack of. John Kennedy should have been that Man a while back, cruelly taken from him.

     

     

    When a Great passes I reckon another is born.

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