CELTIC suffered the most humiliating result in the club’s history in this month 24 years ago when they lost 3-1 to Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, we look at the fall-out of the inexplicable Scottish Cup exit and examine the games that led up to the catastrophic result – and the welcome transformation that propelled Celtic into a new era.

Here is Part Eight of edited extracts from Celtic author Alex Gordon’s tribute book, ‘The Winds of Change‘, which was published by CQN in 2015.

Please enjoy.

THE gloss was fading and the new era was beginning to look a little tatty around the edges as the impetus of the Dalglish-Barnes Dream Team alarmingly began to wilt.

However, the Head Coach realised he had the perfect opportunity to turn it around if he could inspire his charges to something his predecessors had been unable to do over the previous five years – beat Rangers at Ibrox.

Three days after the tame European exit, Barnes was about to experience his first Old Firm encounter at the home of the club’s deadliest foes on Sunday, November 7.

There had already been tales of unrest in the dressing room, disgruntled players being ordered to take on specific roles they didn’t have the ability to fulfil. Vidar Riseth was continually selected at full-back which didn’t suit the Norwegian, who was brought to the club by Jozef Venglos as a midfield player.

John Barnes was an admirer of Brazil’s flamboyant defender Cafu and demanded Riseth followed his example of bombing down the wing and firing in a stream of crosses.

There was little doubt the Celt possessed an engine to cope with the first part of the task, but he admitted candidly: “I’m probably one of the worst crossers of a ball at the club.”

LOST BHOY…Vidar Riseth was left baffled by John Barnes’ instructions.

Stiliyan Petrov, too, was being asked to do exhaustive work on the right flank and that didn’t complement his style, either.

Craig Burley insisted his natural game was being marginalised as he was deployed in a more withdrawn role with extra defensive duties which nullified the goal threat that had gone such a long way to helping the club to the Premier League title triumph in Wim Jansen’s solitary year.

When he scored his late goal against Kilmarnock, he followed the ball over the line and again hammered it viciously into the net. There were no celebrations. As he trotted back up the pitch, Burley looked across to Barnes as if to say: “There are a lot more like that if you play me in the correct position and give me my freedom.”

I doubt if those were his exact thoughts, but you get the drift. However, Barnes persisted. And at Ibrox he paid a heavy price.

Celtic, after leading 2-1 just before the interval, capitulated 4-2 and were bossed around during a clueless second-half. Foolishly, Ian Wright had said pre-match that the rival defenders would be scared of his reputation. If that was the case, no-one noticed.

UP IN ARMS…Ian Wright and Eyal Berkovic celebrate one of the Israeli midfielder’s double at Ibrox.

The 36-six-year-old rarely figured and was fortunate to last all of 75 minutes before being withdrawn and replaced with Mark Burchill. Alas, the contest was over by that point. There was to be no stirring fightback on this occasion.

Dick Advocaat obviously noticed the same flaw as the Lyon coach because he deployed Jonatan Johansson, a fleet-footed Finnish attacker, to raid in between Jackie McNamara and Alan Stubbs on the right and Riseth and Olivier Tebily on the left.

In the early moments it almost paid off with a goal. Johansson spotted the gap between Riseth and Tebily, raced into empty space and collected the ball before driving a vicious angled shot high past Jonathan Gould. His effort smashed against the underside of the crossbar and, such was the ferocity of the shot, it bounced all the way out for a shy on the other wing.

Gould, who had looked cocky and assured under Wim Jansen and Jo Venglos, was struggling to maintain that form with Barnes in the dug-out. That was highlighted when he gifted Rangers the opening goal in the 19th minute.

The defence couldn’t deal with a simple long throw-in from the left by Jorg Albertz and Gabriel Amato outjumped the immobile Riseth to turn a feeble header towards goal. It was

a routine pick-up for the keeper, but, horribly, Gould fumbled the ball and, as it broke loose, Johansson was in quickly to turn it over the line.

It was a howler from the goalie and he knew it. However, Eyal Berkovic spared his blushes only two minutes later when he came in from the right, played a superb one-two with Mark Viduka and slid the ball between Stefan Klos’ legs for the equaliser.

And the Israeli looked a £5.75million player again three minutes from the break when he pushed Celtic into the lead. Viduka seized upon a calamitous bit of miscontrol from Lorenzo Amoruso and zeroed in on Klos.

The ball was blocked and Berkovic, following up, cleverly changed his body shape to sidefoot an effort low to the keeper’s right when he expected the shot to go across him towards the other post.

There had been a few stoppages in the first-half with the usual over-zealous tackling from both sets of players and three minutes were added. In the last of these, Albertz drew a challenge from Paul Lambert inside the box. As the midfielder slid in, the German went over his lunge and referee Kenny Clark pointed to the spot.

PICK IT OUT…Eyal Berkovic runs away in triumph as Rangers keeper Stefan Klos and his defenders are left helpless on this occasion.

The Ibrox player’s knee smashed into the side of Lambert’s face and that was the end of the game for the Celt with Johan Mjallby coming on in his place. Albertz kept his composure throughout the three-minute delay before sending Gould the wrong way.

Four minutes after the turnaround, Celtic were trailing and Rangers were given a massive slice of good fortune. Albertz, from 25 yards, tapped a free-kick to his right where Amoruso was poised. The Italian hit his shot perfectly towards the defensive wall.

Gould went to his right before the effort took a deflection off the thigh of Tebily and spun in the opposite direction. It was all over when the visitors’ rearguard was exposed yet again.

No-one picked up Amato as he ran through onto a lobbed pass. He drew Gould from his line, touched it round him and, from an exceptionally tight angle, tucked the ball in at the near post.

Tebily looked as though he could have got back to guard the post, but he was content to merely move at an ambling pace without the hint of urgency and got there just in time to see the ball crossing the line. Celtic fans in the 50,026 crowd were far from satisfied with a submissive second-half from the players.

The pressure was mounting on the Head Coach with the team now four points adrift of Rangers who had a game in hand.

A fair percentage of the spectators with even an iota of a Celtic leaning could hardly believe their ears with the words that followed from Barnes as he gave his verdict.

“I can’t fault my players as individuals,” he said with a straight face. “The effort was there, although the quality could have been better. We didn’t do it as a team. We changed to three at the back in the second-half, but formations don’t matter – we have to pass the ball better.

SHOUT OF ORDER…John Barnes yells instructions with assistants Eric Black ad Terry McDermott in the Celtic dug-out. Rangers boss Dick Advocaat looks on.

“It’s disappointing for me, the players and the fans. They have to face their workmates and the Rangers supporters. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it now. If they hadn’t got that penalty it possibly could have been different, but I don’t like to think like that.

“You can never tell what would have happened if we’d gone in 2-1 up. The fact is we didn’t and they went on to win the game. At the time the penalty was awarded I felt aggrieved, but I’ll need to see it again on television.”

He added: “I believe that we can win the majority of our games and keep in contact, but unless Rangers are now going to drop points then the gap will stay the same so, obviously, we’re playing catch-up.

“I’m always looking to strengthen the squad, but the quality of player we’re after isn’t often available. We can take heart, though not much, from some of our play today.

“If we can get these players to perform like that consistently for 90 minutes in every game, then fine. Otherwise, we need to bring in more quality.”

As a player, the Liverpool supporters insisted an uber-performing John Barnes could walk on water. As a Head Coach, the Celtic supporters wondered how an under-pressure John Barnes would cope with thin ice.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss Result That Changed The Course Of Celtic History: Part Nine.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author