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CAESAR’S WINNING PAISLEY PATTERN

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RONNY DEILA will be hoping for an action replay when Celtic take on St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow night.
The last time the Hoops faced the Saints on a Friday was in season 1978/79 – and they were crowned champions in a breathtaking title finale two games later.
It was also Billy McNeill’s first season as manager of the club after succeeding Jock Stein in the summer.
The Parkhead legend took his team to play the Buddies at Ibrox on the evening of May 11 while Love Street was being renovated.
The game was also switched to prevent a clash with the Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Hibs at Hampden the following day.
McNeill recalled: “It was an unusual kick-off time on an evening when your players are normally preparing for a match on the Saturday.
“I told the players just to think of it as a midweek fixture with the added bonus of getting a weekend off.
“That seemed to work a treat and we won 2-0 with goals from George McCluskey and my old Lisbon Lion mate Bobby Lennox, who had come on as a substitute.
“I put Bobby on that night and said: ‘Go out there and put this game to bed.’ He didn’t let me down.
“He netted the killer second and came in at full-time and said: ‘Ach, you knew I would score, didn’t you?
“‘I always get at least one goal at Ibrox!’ I had to smile.”
Celtic then beat Hearts 1-0 with a goal from Mike Conroy at Parkhead four days later.
And in an amazing climax to the campaign, Celtic, with only 10 men after Johnny Doyle had been sent off early in the second-half, beat closest rivals Rangers 4-2 to lift the championship on a memorable Monday evening on May 21.
* There are more revealing memories from Billy McNeill in ‘Caesar and The Assassin’, published by CQN. We have SIGNED ¬†copies available at¬†www.cqnbookstore.com.
 
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