We’re running through the CQN 11 guests as we get set for another fabulous night at the Kerrydale Suite this Friday, 13th March to raise funds to build another CQN school kitchen in Malawi, this time to honour Brother Walfrid. After Tom Boyd and Tommy Coyne it’s time to feature Super Joe Miller…
BILLY McNEILL realised time was an enemy when he returned to his spiritual home as Celtic prepared for their Centenary Year in 1988.
Remarkably, four players – Brian McClair, Murdo MacLeod, Alan McInally and the loathsome Mo Johnston – were out of contract that summer and were about to be lured elsewhere. McClair was snapped up by Manchester United for a bargain £850,000 with the figure being set by a transfer tribunal in the days before Bosman came on the scene.
Similarly, MacLeod went to Borussia Dortmund for a mere £220,000, McInally moved to Aston Villa for £250,000 and Johnston fetched up at Nantes for £373,000.
McNeill recalled: “I had to get a squad assembled or there wouldn’t be too many celebrations in such an important year for the club. I had to replace four first team players and I wanted quality in those green and white hoops.”
The Celtic gaffer swiftly put his double-winning jigsaw together. He inherited Mick McCarthy, Davie Hay’s last signing for the club from Manchester City. Over the course of the season, McNeill brought in Chris Morris (Sheffield Wednesday), Andy Walker (Motherwell), Frank McAvennie (West Ham) and Aberdeen double-act Billy Stark and Joe Miller.
And Miller, of course, will always be remembered for THAT goal against Rangers – the Scottish Cup winner against Rangers at Hampden in 1989.
McNeill recalled: “I never had a doubt that Joe would be a great player for Celtic. And his effort that day was most satisfying, to say the least. Our old rivals were going for the treble and I knew we had to derail them at Hampden. Joe’s sweet strike did the job.”
Before Friday’s CQN 11 St Patrick’s Dinner you can win a Celtic jersey signed by the 2008 squad, who won one of the most remarkable titles in our history. All proceeds go towards building a fourth CQN school kitchen in Malawi, for Mary’s Meals.