BRENDAN RODGERS takes Celtic to play Livingston in West Lothian on Sunday in the first of their eight-game obstacle course as they bid to win their twelfth title in 13 years.

If the Hoops boss requires any advice on how to plan ahead for the ultimate silverware success, he could ask club ambassador Davie Hay.

The Parkhead legend knows exactly what it takes to win the flag with the same amount of hurdles to overcome after successfully manoeuvring his way through soccer’s minefield to the finishing line to achieve the feat after a breathtaking finale to season 1985/86.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, the Hoops great, speaking to his long-time friend and author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the icon’s best-selling autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin ‘, details the extraordinary run-in to a tumultuous, topsy turvy campaign.

Hay told all in his life story which was published in 2009. Here is the sixth instalment of his recollections from his best-selling book.

The former player and manager, now 76, looking back on the game at Love Street on the afternoon of May 1986, said: “We were 5-0 up and their keeper Jim Stewart had the ball in his hands and was about to launch it downfield when a huge roar came up from the terracings. He looked startled for a moment.

“Our fans were going doolally. We didn’t have any radios in the dug-out that day as I didn’t want any distractions, but we all knew on an instant what had happened – Dundee had scored.

“I knew there were two players named Kidd on the Dens Park pitch, Hearts’ Walter and Dundee’s Albert. I was told Kidd had scored and, by the reactions of our support, I didn’t have to enquire which one.

CROWNING GLORY…Brian McClair gets the party started with the opening goal in rampant Celtic’s 5-0 win over St Mirren with keeper Jim Stewart helpless.

“There was unconfined joy as the fans danced jigs everywhere and then there was another massive cheer. Dundee had scored again. The title was ours!

“Albert Kidd had netted a second and that was that. Hearts had slipped up, but, all credit to them, they made it one helluva championship run-in.

“Alex MacDonald and Sandy Jardine had put together a professional, workmanlike unit and it had clicked that season. I had sold outside-right John Colquhoun and left-back Brian Whittaker to them because I didn’t think they were up to it at Celtic.

“That may seem a bit harsh, but that was my belief. I had signed them both, John from Stirling Albion and Brian from Partick Thistle, but they had not performed consistently at the level I required. I knew they could both do a job elsewhere and I wished them the best of luck when they left Parkhead.

“My good wishes came close to coming back to bite me, but these are the risks you take in football. They had Craig Levein, the future Scotland manager, in central defence, an excellent midfielder in Gary Mackay in a key position while Sandy Clark and John Robertson dovetailed well up front.

“Putting the jigsaw together, they were formidable opponents who were worthy rivals during that campaign.

JOY BHOYS…Peter Grant and Murdo MacLeod celebrate in Paisley.

“By the way, I always liked Albert Kidd. He was signed by Ally MacLeod from Arbroath and played for me at Motherwell. I could never have guessed the landmark role he was to play in my career.

“I must state here and now that we were NOT lucky in being crowned Premier League kings. The league race, as is so often claimed, is a marathon and not a sprint. The best team over 36 games deserve to be the winners.

“It was tight, but we were the champions on merit. We were the league’s top scorers with 67 goals. We were locked on 50 points with Hearts, but, in goal difference terms, we were plus-29 and they were plus-26.

“That was the winning margin. And well deserve it was, too.”

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the eighth and concluding instalment in the epic 1985/86 title battle.

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