CELTIC face an eight-game obstacle course as they bid to win their twelfth title in 13 years.

If Brendan Rodgers seeks 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 after successfully manoeuvring his way through soccer’s minefield to the finishing line. The former player and manager achieved 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, 76, told all in his life story which was published in 2009. Here is the second part of his recollections from his best-selling book.

The Celtic icon recalled:

“We had finished second in the league to Aberdeen again and I was more than ever determined to bring that title to Celtic Park. That was my main target when season 1985/86 kicked off.

“What lay ahead of us was a rollercoaster of emotions that left everyone breathless following a scintillating and sensational climax to the programme. We were victorious in the championship chase in the most dramatic of all run-ins.

MAC THE STRIFE…Aberdeen striker Frank McDougall lashes one of his four goals past the stranded Pat Bonner in Celtic’s 4-1 collapse at Pittodrie in October 1985.

“For months, Hearts had remained at the pinnacle and steadily racked up wins on a weekly basis. The earlier doubters had been expecting them to slip from their perch, but they maintained an astonishing and consistent run that had them clear favourites for the title at one stage.

“They went TWENTY-SEVEN games without defeat in and I had to admit I thought that was awesome.

“Some observers were convinced it was title-winning form. I wasn’t buying into that.

“Cynics had written us off and that was a huge mistake for anyone to make. To be utterly honest, though, I could see their logic.

“We lost 3-0 at home to Dundee United on October 26 and the x-certificate stuff continued into November where Frank McDougall claimed all four goals as Aberdeen hammered us 4-1 at Pittodrie and that was swiftly followed by a 3-0 loss to Rangers at Ibrox.

“Three games, three defeats and ten goals conceded.

“I have to concede that most certainly was not the sequence required to have anyone utterly convinced they would be on the winners’ podium at the end of the season.

BURNS’ NIGHT…Celtic’s Tommy Burns takes on his Rangers namesake Hugh in the Hoops 3-0 loss at Ibrox.

“Two weeks after the Old Firm match, we were held 1-1 at home by Hibs. We followed that up with another 1-1 stalemate against Hearts at Tynecastle and then slumped to a 1-0 defeat from Dundee United at Tannadice a couple of days before Christmas.

“We met them again twelve days later at their place and this time we toppled to a 4-2 defeat. A week later and we had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Parkhead and seven days later we had a 2-2 draw with Hibs at Easter Road.

“If I had insisted that I still believed we could lift the championship crown at the end of the season I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for perhaps wondering if I was playing with a full deck.

“I looked at the right-game programme that faced us and I just knew my players had the ability to win the lot. We would see how Hearts would cope if we managed to hit our target.”

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the third dramatic instalment in the epic 1985/86 title battle. 

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