Scott Brown challenge echoes through the years


The moment Scott Brown threw himself into a challenge on the edge of his own penalty area, laser-like in precision, to dispossess Barry Robson, brought the memories flooding back.  Barry was regarded by many as a journeyman when he signed for Celtic alongside Georgios Samaras in January 2008.  A month later he scored against Barcelona in the Champions League knock out stage and was well on the way to convincing the Celtic support of his ability.

At the time, Scott Brown’s fortunes were different.  He’d arrived the previous summer, a £4m buy from Hibs, but had yet to acclimatise to the central midfield role at Celtic.  In the spring of 2008, Celtic were well behind in the title race, and playing poorly.  Robson was on the bench with Brown given midfield responsibility.

The script for that season was written by a gifted hand.  As the season reached a climax, Scott was suspended for three games, punishment for a rash of misjudged tackles throughout the season.  Gordon Strachan turned to Barry, who was made for the moment.

Seven years ago Barry Robson could tackle, in fact, he could foul, without being noticed.  He brought determination and menace to a team which was questioned in the CQN comments section for an apparent lack of leadership.

Two of our last five league games that season were at Celtic Park against Rangers.  Rangers had a games in hand but the effective gap was 10 points, Celtic needed five wins, and even then their chances of winning the league were regarded as remote.  Towels were thrown everywhere.

The first, a midweek game, memorably started with Barry Robson putting a thumping challenge into Christian Dailly in the opening minutes.  The tone was set, Celtic were there to fight for everything.  Rangers thought they had the point they needed, their manager offering high-fives in the technical area as they cleared the ball late into added time.

I still can’t quite believe what happened next.  In the 95th minute Gary Caldwell threw a long ball into the Rangers box, which was won in the air by Scott McDonald, the smallest player on the field.  McDonald headed across the face of goal for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to head into the net.  Celtic survived to fight another day.

11 days later Celtic Park saw an equally dramatic game.  Scott McDonald (scorer of incredibly important goals) put Celtic ahead but the season looked to be in tatters as Rangers struck back with two goals direct from corner kicks.

1-2 down in a must-win game it was an uphill struggle, but McDonald struck again two minutes from the break to level the game with the assistance of a deflection.  The second half was a tense affair, so much was invested in one game of football, but one man was made for the moment.

McDonald broke free inside the box and was hauled down by Broadfoot.  Barry Robson stepped forward to take the penalty, it was the defining moment of his career.  If you’re in Celtic Park early enough before kick-off these days you can still hear the echo of the roar that went up when his penalty hit the net.  His celebration was unforgettable.

It’s remarkable that Barry is still performing at this level so many years after his peak but yesterday’s decisive challenge by Scott Brown demonstrated the enormous leaps our captain has made since becoming a Celtic player.  We need players with that fight and craft.

Many of us are still telling stories of the 1985 Scottish Cup Final. A goal down, Celtic roared back to beat Dundee United with a Frank McGarvey diving header. Frank’s offering the jersey he wore that day for auction to raise funds for Maryhill Foodbank. It’s a genuinely unique piece of Celtic history, for a very worthy cause. Check it out here.

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  1. Geordie Munro on




    I’m still raving about him. Right player, Wrong time ;)



    He had a couple of stinkers back in a time when we couldn’t afford any passengers.



    He’s on fire at Malmo:)




  2. Brilliant post.



    For some reason these old firm games had slipped from my memory. I attended both and I remember being thoroughly disenchanted with our so called support booing manager and team vs Motherwell not long before.



    Great games, crucial games, so much at stake and so sweet to win. Still the Tannadice night was one of my top 10 Celtic moments I have witnessed live.



    Robson and Hartley were just what we needed at that time. As was Telfer. The job GS did when we were downsizing vs a financially doped opponent was simply staggering.

  3. Afterthought…



    Aberdeen showed why they finished second in the SPFL.



    Enough to see off THEIR nearest rivals, but when faced with a superior team they could only play to their limited strengths.



    “If you want to play football then let’s get on with it, but if you want to put it about then we’re here waiting for you.”



    Made up quote, but it seemed to me that that was the strength of the great Celtic sides. Plenty of ability and skill, but we’ll out-stare all others if we have to.



    Away to watch the highlights again.



    And to think that at one point I had considered whether Ronny might throw some of the young guys on yesterday. Great call to stay with your A team Ronny, John, John and Stevie.




  4. The Battered Bunnet on




    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.




  5. Tried to connect to you tube for watching those 2 games and can’t get blooming link !



    That’s modern day China for you. If only Zheng Zhi was playing !

  6. I’m happy to join in the praise of Barry Robson’s contribution to the cause while he wore the hoops, but people calling for him to be signed again are surely having their judgement blinded by nostalgia.

  7. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    It’s another example of how our favourite Championships are often the ones we win by the skin of our teeth[ 10menwontheLeague,LoveSt,TommyBurnsThursday] rather than the ones we win by 20 odd points.

  8. Thunder Road on




    Although Barry is a tough player, he is a very clever 1 too and has going down when he is challenged down to a fine art.


    Think he gets away with it when he does it because he is such an honest pro…..clever too!

  9. Greeninbingley



    Personal accounts of that day at Valley Parade…powerful and timely.



    Thanks for sharing and hope your ex wife has some peace from the trauma.



    I can still hear commentator (John Helms think) almost breaking down describing the scenes as the TV cameras recorded the whole ghastly unfolding nightmare.




  10. At the time of the Bradford disaster, I regularly took my 2 young sons to Celtic games, home and away. When I read reports of how the tragedy unfolded and how the bodies of a man and his young son were found huddled together inside locked turnstiles, having tried to escape that way, it shook me to the core and haunted my dreams for a while afterwards.

  11. Great article Paul, Barry Robson was a gem.



    I would say, tho, that Brown’s entire action, from the tackle to the finish reminded me of none other big Roy Aitken driving on the 80s Celts.



    Feed the Broon!



    Props to frank McGarvey for the jersey – but I was there that day and he still owes me for a pair of jeans which got shredded on the ash steps of Hamdump as his header smacked the netting and we rolled and clattered and bundled down the terracing like a tide of drunk ants…



    Magic days.

  12. The Battered Bunnet on

    The midweek game was the Shabby Chapeau’s 40th birthday.



    You can only imagine her delight when she opened her birthday card and found that I had got her two tickets for the match that night as a present.



    After some delicate discussions, she agreed that I could go with her…



    Quite the night, that one.




  13. South Of Tunis on

    DBBIA.@ 13 56.



    Man gets a chapter in The Ingoldsby Legends..A treasure trove of delights for English folk rockers in search of myths to adapt..



    Some ( but not all ) etymologists claim that he is the origin of – Jingo .

  14. Geordie Munro on

    “Enough to see off THEIR nearest rivals, but when faced with a superior team they could only play to their limited strengths.”






    Yup. Good point.



    I’m fed up hearing…If ye take out the games versus dons…much closer…2 points….yadda yadda.



    If you take away the results against the sheeps nearest rivals from both Celtic and Aberdeen points tally we’d be 22 points clear.



    Cannypickandchose csc

  15. lennon's passion on

    Strangers talking on the internet then meeting up in the corner of a car park. Is this a dogging site I’ve stumbled upon.








    I had to attend a wedding that night,evening guest only. My lass at the time was there for the full do,and I tried to use that as an excuse to get out of it.



    I hate weddings!



    I walked into the do,sat beside the usual crowd and told them not to expect any fun and games from me.



    Usual crap from everyone,lighten up,we know you hate weddings but have some respect.



    I then explained what had happened at Bradford.



    I’ve since seen the official Fire Service recording of it. I’m sure many have. People were simply looking in awe at their nemesis. They saw it happening,but didn’t know what was happening.

  17. Gerryfaethebrig on




    14:24 on 11 May, 2015





    On the Robson/Johansen shoulder challenge at first I was cracking up saying it was never a foul, watching back BR played it canny, he knew he would get the decision and went down pretty easy taking the pressure off his defence, if that was on a Friday night outside a boozer I can assure you Stef would never put BR on his backside, in saying that Broonies tackle put Robbo on his backside so maybe I am typing rubbish (it has been known)

  18. Lennon’s Passion –



    What is this crusade you seem to be highlighting against “big game hunters”?



    Who and what is it about?



    Not having a dig mate. Genuine enquiry.

  19. Geordie Munro on

    Thunder road,



    Completely agree neebs.



    Barry likes a wee dive now and again.




  20. Ronny talking about the travelling support at yesterday’s game as the Celtic fans sang and danced.



    “I am so proud to be part of all of this. Listening to them gives me goosebumps.”



    What is Norwegian for goosebumps?



    Well it seems that it is “gåsehud”




  21. !!Bada Bing!! on

    BMCUW-The ingredients around the Bradford Fire couldn’t have been worse.Biggest crowd of the season as they were getting league trophy,the fire service had warned BCFC re housekeeping of the stadium,and BCFC fighting with the council re rubbish uplifts.BCFC wanted fortnighly collections to save money,the Council and fire service warned them they were storing too much refuse under the stand.Horrendous story.





    Strachan downsized the quality on the pitch,but he did not downsize the wage bill.



    That might well have been his remit,but he failed in that.



    Now,don’t have a go on the strength of that,I respect him for his achievements,but I stand by that first sentence.

  23. bournesouprecipe on

    Thunder Road



    Fair do’s, here was me thinking ole Barry Robson just got Barry Robsoned, by a young Scandavian skinny dipper.



    Anyway he is an ultimate pro, and Sky omitted to mention that his first touch for Celtic, was a blinding free kick into the corner of the ole Beach End.



    Well they would,and that’s why we have Celtic media, I suppose.

  24. I agree with all the comments about Robson,and Hartley.Fantastic for us.A name mentioned a bit by Paul,Scott Mc Donald takes a bit of beating for that season.Hun skelper supreme.The Huns hated the sight of him.When he was not scoring against them,he was setting them up.Great wee striker for us.





    I’ve seen some footage from Kings Cross too-not a lot,since the heat destroyed a lot of tape,but a similar flashover.



    My sister was very lucky to miss that one.



    Strange that people can use contacts to override expert advice from such as The Fire Service.



    Especially,as has been suggested,when they may have previous suspicious circumstances in other businesses.



    If that is true,there are one or two people guilty of the biggest mass murder in British history.



    And they got away with it

  26. bournesouprecipe on

    Stefan Marius Johansen (born 8 January 1991) is a Norwegian international footballer who plays as a midfielder for the Scottish Premiership side Celtic.



    Hailing from Vardø, he joined Bodø/Glimt at the age of 14. He made his first-team debut in 2007, and transferred to Strømsgodset in 2011 where he was one of the key players in the team that finished second in the league in 2012 and won the league-title in 2013. Johansen won the Kniksen Award as the midfielder of the year in 2013. He transferred to Celtic in January 2014, and was two years too late to play against Rainjurs.



    At Celtic in 2015 he won their player of the year voted for by fans of the club.



    Spot The Awe_Naw_isming CSC

  27. When big Jan scored I think I ended up two rows forward and 10 seats along.



    Nothing like it.




    Anyone have or know of a spare ticket for the Mike Peters gig at King Tut’s in Glasgow on Friday night ?



    It’s a long shot but it just might work….




  29. Barry ‘Canny’ Robson



    Knows when to hold and when to fold.



    Streetwise without being a bassa.



    Glad we had when we did.



    HH jamesgang

  30. bournesouprecipe on

    ” If Celtic weren’t top of the league ‘Strachan’ would be sacked ”



    shameless Hugh Keevinslogic repost

  31. Just a wee question.Maybe I have missed something somewhere.Any idea where the Huns are getting the cash to survive at the moment.

  32. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘[Bodo]Glimt are known for their yellow kits and the huge yellow toothbrushes that the supporters carry to the matches’

  33. South Of Tunis on




    Downsizing ?



    I drove from Sicily to Bratislava for the Artmedia game.Many of that Celtic team looked to be much in need of some physical downsizing .A very hot night didn’t help those carrying way too much weight..



    A doubly disappointing night – Bratislava had no shoes worthy of gracing Mrs S of T’s feet.

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