MURDO MacLEOD won a championship medal in his debut campaign for Celtic when he sealed the title on the unforgettable evening in the east end of Glasgow on May 21 1979.
The powerful midfielder, bought by Billy McNeill from Dumbarton for £100,000, lashed in the final goal in the 10-man Hoops’ 4-2 triumph over Rangers at a rocking Parkhead.
It was the first of four league honours for MacLeod as a player at the club, but there was another crucial celebration for the ex-Scotland international star in the chase for the crown in season 1997/98.
The fans’ favourite was named assistant manager to Wim Jansen and was part of the contingent who had to rally in the pursuit of the title following a disappointing 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final loss to the Ibrox side that wrecked any hopes of a dream treble after the team had won the League Cup – then in the guise of the Coca-Cola Cup – by beating Dundee United 3-0 earlier in the season.
TEN MEN WON THE LEAGUE…Murdo MacLeod celebrates the final goal in Celtic’s 4-2 title-winning triumph over Rangers in May 1979. Andy Lynch and Davie Provan show their joy.
Jansen and MacLeod’s squad, with defender Tom Boyd as the onfield leader, achieved a memorable success – stopping the Ibrox team’s bid for 10 in a row – with the race going right to the wire before goals from Henrik Larsson and Harald Brattbakk in a 2-0 win over St Johnstone making absolutely sure.
The 63-year-old believes Ange Postecoglou, with John Kennedy as his right-hand man and Callum McGregor the inspiration in the middle of the park, WILL win their 52nd flag this time around.
But MacLeod has told his old team they will have to fight for the championship, no-one is going to hand it to them on a plate.
With the team six points ahead with only five games to go and a visit to Dingwall on Sunday kicking off the countdown, the former Hoops star said: “Celtic are going to have to go and get it. Go and earn it.
“The way Celtic are sitting at the moment, they are so comfortable with a big gap at the top of the table.
“But they will face five tough games because all of the teams who have made it into the top six are there due to the fact they have had great seasons in their own ways.
THE CUP THAT CHEERS…Wim Jansen and Murdo MacLeod hold aloft the newly-won league trophy in 1998.
“Hearts have had a great season, Dundee United are doing so well, then you have Ross County. Look at their season compared to some of the teams who are down there in the bottom six who are seen as much bigger clubs. Motherwell, too, and these teams will be relaxed going into these games.
“Reaching the top six is the bonus for a few of them and they’ll go and enjoy the games.
“Celtic have their own target, so the matches will be good and they’ll be looking forward to them.
“But look at the last game in Dingwall. In recent years, County have been down near the bottom scrapping for points here, there and everywhere at times.
“Yet this season they achieved greatly to get into the top six and will be looking for that same performance as the last time at home up there when it took Celtic until after 96 minutes to get their winning goal.
“The title won’t be handed out to Celtic and nor should it be because leagues have to be won by the team who goes out there and wins it.”
MacLeod, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “They will be gutted with last weekend, especially when it seemed they were firm favourites for Hampden going into the match.
HAT-TRICK…Henrik Larsson and Wim Jansen celebrate the title after the final-day 2-0 win over St Johnstone.
“For us back then, there was nothing that lingered beyond the match. The game was finished. It was over. And once any game is over, you just have to move on. The big thing that year was stopping 10-in-a-row and we always went back to that. That’s what it was all about for us in 1998.
“To come from the position they were in at the start of the season, then being a number of points behind at one stage to canter away at the top of the table, it’s been a great run.
“You’d have to give a lot of credit to the manager for the way he managed to get his team playing.
”The incentive is different this time, but also very rewarding. It’s great to go straight into the Champions League.
“That is what all footballers want. To have the opportunity to play against the best.”