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DAVIE HAY – FIRHILL FOR THRILLS

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CELTIC face Partick Thistle at Firhill on Wednesday night in a crucial SPFL encounter.
There have been many remarkable encounters between the Glasgow neighbours in the past. Here is one that will always be memorable to Davie Hay, a good friend of CQN.
It was a bright evening on August 9 1983 as Celtic travelled across the city for a Glasgow Cup-tie against Thistle.
All eyes were on Davie Hay for one very good reason – it was debut as the Hoops’ manager after taking over from Billy McNeill in the summer.
McNeill, after a series of rows with the old board, quit to take over at Manchester City.
Hay took over the Parkhead hot seat and knew he couldn’t afford to slip up against the Jags in his first competitive game.
He said: “It may only have been the Glasgow Cup, but it might as well have been the European Cup for me.
“I knew the fans wanted answers and, of course, Big Billy is such a legend at the club. Quite rightly so, when you consider everything he has achieved.”
Ironically, the player who eased the pressure on Hay was Brian McClair, bought for £100,000 from Motherwell by McNeill at the end of the previous season.
McClair, in fact, never got the opportunity to play for McNeill.
Danny Crainie got the opening goal in the tenth minute after a neat pass from McClair.
And three minutes from the interval, it was the new boy who sealed a 2-0 victory with a neat lob over the keeper.
Hay recalled: “It was a relief to start with a win.
“Equally important, though, was to hear the Celtic support chant my name.
“That was heartening because I knew Billy had left big shoes to fill.”
* ‘Caesar and The Assassin: Managing Celtic after Jock Stein’ it is available at www.cqnbookstore.com  and  at all Celtic stores and good book shops.
 
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