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. Thunder Road on




    Im not saying he deliberately ‘lost’ that challenge.


    He was in it to win it and Johansen matched him.


    He is clever though and i think he was quite happy to hit the deck immediately and look for the foul.


    He’s VERY good at it!

  2. BMCW



    I think the financials tell a very different story.



    In the 4 year period the annual football wage bill was reduced by 47%.



    Granted he had the legacy of Sutton, Bobo, and Thompson to clear out plus dear Thomas Graveson who was never his player in the first place



    Yet still achieved the last 16 in the CL on 2 out of 4 attempts.



    By year 4 his job was done and he knew it. Pit was a pity he did not get that wee bit of help in the Wilo window to see us over the line and complete 4 in a row.

  3. theglasgowcelticway on

    I was a big fan of Robson and McDonald and thought they were both allowed to leave too early as they could have certainly done a job at the time.

  4. Tom McLaughlin



    You wrote…



    “When I got home, my step-daughter laughed as she described how the neighbours had earlier been asking them if they had heard the strange early morning shouting.



    They apparently thought someone was on fire.”



    Laughed out loud at that. Someone was on fire of course, but they were thousands of miles away and scorching the huns :o)



    House shaking roars are standard for the Celtic fan watching in some remote corner of the globe. They just seem more noticeable when you are abroad, as other folk kind of look at you like you need medical assistance – which is often the case.




  5. South of Tunis



    I was in Bratislava too.



    Our senior players were a disgrace that night. GS first game in charge and it was clear they were not for it.



    Mcgeady Thompson and Gardyne laughing on the plane on the way back was as much as I could take. Suttons attitude was bad before he went off injured.

  6. Geordie Munro on

    “Show him a blind alley and he’ll run up it.”



    Hugh Keevins writes his thoughts on our captain after on 15 mins.

  7. The Battered Bunnet on




    My take on it is that he had told the Board in December that he was chucking it at the end of the season, hence the Willo window.



    Altogehter, in recent times, one of the poorer periods of management at the club imo.

  8. My other recollection of Bratislava was a very drunk Iain King ( with Keith ‘off the radar) Jackson worrying local girls in a night club and assuring me that Barry Ferguson would stand on nakamurra and break the wee Jap b……



    Naka signed a week later and the rest is history.

  9. Geordie Munro on

    “Yet still achieved the last 16 in the CL on 2 out of 4 attempts.”






    At the time, WGS was the only manager outside europes top 5 leagues to reach the last 16 two years running.



    Dunno if it still stands.




  10. normanstreet49 on

    Aw Paul thanks fir that.


    I thought I was the only one who held the frank mcgarvey goal close to my heart.


    I was renting a wee cottage outside Montrose. My flat mate was San Marran daft. What a day…. I remember it like it was yesterday. I think my wee flat mate is a director at San Marran. So all is well that ends well. And that day did. I proposed to the missus anaw. Thanks again.

  11. theglasgowcelticway on




    I remember sitting in a friends house watching the fire on Grandstand.Nobody realised there were fatalities happening.The stories I read after were horrific.



    In remembrance of all who lost their lives and the families who had to try and rebuild theirs.

  12. TBB



    I remember defending PL at that time when a group of CQN ers were in our box at the cup game mid January.



    I was wrong. And possibly still on a high from going 7 points clear by winning at Ibrox a week earlier.

  13. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Hugh Keechones is, quite simply, a total erse …..he has mastered the art of saying ANYTHING to get a reaction ……. what a way to spend your ‘working day’

  14. The Battered Bunnet


    15:23 on


    11 May, 2015





    My take on it is that he had told the Board in December that he was chucking it at the end of the season, hence the Willo window.



    Altogehter, in recent times, one of the poorer periods of management at the club imo.



    Three League titles last sixteen of CL all against a background of having to downsize.


    One of the poorest periods of management.


    All how you see it.

  15. Geordie



    I don’t think we give that team enough credit.



    To beat Milan, Man U, Benfica, Shaktar was an impressive feat.

  16. bournesouprecipe on

    “He’s one of those footballers whose brains are in his head”




  17. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar…… Ipox belongs to the creditors


    15:30 on


    11 May, 2015


    Hugh Keechones is, quite simply, a total erse …..he has mastered the art of saying ANYTHING to get a reaction ……. what a way to spend your ‘working day’



    He can only get a reaction if anybody bothers to listen to him.

  18. BMCUWP



    Ref WGS…



    One of his Key Performance Indicators when he got the job required him to reduce the wage bill to help reduce what became known as the MON “Seville” debt. (No inferences need be drawn from that) :o)



    That he survived for four years and left on his own terms tells it’s own story.



    South of Tunis’s words about the Artmedia away game make it clear that some big earners had become complacent or maybe disillusioned when MON left. They were not in the zone in Bratislava and some never came back after that. Chris Sutton was the biggest casualty I suppose, but he was one of the big earners. Only disappointed that he left us the way he did, with some bitterness at how he had been treated by (as he saw it) the club and WGS.



    Celtic needed a strong character to replace MON and WGS stood up and was counted.



    Hope you are well :o)

  19. SoT –



    We also fielded Arsenal loan striker, Frenchman Jeremy Alliadiere in Bratislava that night and he put it over the bar from one yard at 0-1. A low point in Celtic’s history although the second leg was superb as we came within a whisker of taking it to extra-time.

  20. Quonno



    Fair point. We did a lot right then which means we still exist.



    Others didn’t.




    We did not activate enough to get out of our SPHell mind you.

  21. On WGS.



    We might be in a better place today if Celtic management, Board level included, treated media with the contempt that WGS did.

  22. Gerryfaethebrig on




    14:52 on 11 May, 2015


    ole Dick Byrne gets 5 chapters in the ole Ingoldsby Legneds.



    Start the campaign bring Dick Byrne back to CQN, it’s a lesser place without him, before I ever knew about CQN anytime I walked by his desk that’s all that was on his screen, I used to think it was “work stuff”

  23. Burnley78


    15:34 on


    11 May, 2015





    Fair point. We did a lot right then which means we still exist.



    Others didn’t.



    We did not activate enough to get out of our SPHell mind you.



    Sorry. Getting out of SP has never been in our hands.


    As I have posted previously. Big spending in MON era was based on DD wrongly believing that it was.


    Just like its general population did last week, English football puts its own interests first and its own interests do not include us.

  24. After our ignominious European elimination at the hands of Artmedia, Hugh Keevins wrote in the Record that Shunsuke Nakamura had walked away from his proposed transfer to Celtic. Sadly a number of Celtic supporters fell for that and some even accused the board of cancelling the deal in the wake of our CL exit.

  25. Sorry to harp on Keevinjs and his like only thrive when we give them the air of publicity.

  26. Gerryfaethebrig on




    15:32 on 11 May, 2015



    I loved big Sutton the player but the last while he has put the boot in at every opportunity, some of his comments about Romny have been pretty poor, I am all for opinions but for me Chris has over stepped the mark, probably a wealthy man so if it is just chasing a wage good for him I would rather be skint

  27. The Battered Bunnet on




    To be quite clear, I was referring to the management of WGS’s succession.

  28. I was at hamdump that day too, walked back into town with my mates and ended up in McConnels in Hope street till shutting time, fairly belted out the songs that night, polis came in and told us to keep it down, just carried on after they left. Wish I could last as long in the Dolphin now.

  29. bournesouprecipe



    14:58 on 11 May, 2015


    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.






    And of course Tim oral history, aided by youtube!



    Was telling the wee mhan about that debut touch yesterday.






    HH JamesGang

  30. South Of Tunis on

    tom mclaughlin.



    My memory is dreadful but I think the Alladiere miss was at 2 -0.. I thought the McGeady miss was worse.

  31. gerryfaethebrig –



    I spoke to a journalist recently who knows Sutton and he told me he thought the big man’s anti-Ronny stance was purely based on his perception that Ronny had “taken his pal Neil Lennon’s job”.



    According to the journo, Chris thought he was sticking up for his mate. It would perhaps explain a lot and to be fair, Sutton has since admitted he was a bit harsh on Ronny and has been won round to a large extent.

  32. SoT –



    You are probably right because I typed 0-2 and changed it to 0-1. I also remember the McGeady miss but cannot remember what the score was at that point.

  33. Gerryfaethebrig on

    tom mclaughlin






    I thought he was hoping Ronny would fail leaving the door open for a return of Henrik & Chris double act, loved the big man as a player just thought his comments have been poor, there is enough people ready to stick the boot in, I just find it annoying when it is one of my favourites doing the dirty work, by the way I loved Lenny as well, gutted when he left as I wanted him here for years to come, but think his life is better away from Celtic

  34. The Battered Bunnet


    15:23 on


    11 May, 2015





    My take on it is that he had told the Board in December that he was chucking it at the end of the season, hence the Willo window.



    Altogehter, in recent times, one of the poorer periods of management at the club imo.





    TBB, there is an argument that the poorer period of management was the preceding one.



    WGS’s tenure was always, always going to be hugely challenging for all of us, but especially for him and the players. MON had established a very personal regime at the club and there was a real sense of loss when he left. The loss to Motherwell on the last day of the season (shudder) seemed to foreshadow all that followed in Bratislava. Players lost heart, lost focus, lost interest and became despondent and complacent.



    If Ronny Deila left such a mess in his wake we would question why his legacy left the club so disadvantaged: continuity should not be contingent upon the presence of the leader, it should be healthy and vibrant enough to survive independently. That is the system that allows the more successful European clubs from less fancied nations to survive.



    Heresy to some, but MON had his faults, and in many ways the club paid the bill for many years afterwards. He WAS our hero and remains so, because he gave the fans what we wanted and needed. He gave us our self respect back.



    There is also an argument that WGS left a mixed bag legacy – so perhaps it is all just the new manager syndrome wrote large. Ronny had a battle to overcome NFL’s legacy after all.



    I am still amazed at the success that WGS achieved during this transitional time. the fitba at times was dire though. The 0-0 with Hibs in his last season when we needed 3 points was so poor.



    Hope you are doing well.




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