ON December 20 2020 – five days before Christmas – Celtic took their place in the history books with an achievement that is unlikely to be matched never mind surpassed.
Neil Lennon and his players overcame the stubborn resistance of Championship outfit Hearts to seal the phenomenal quadruple treble, all TWELVE domestic honours over a period of a quartet of spectacular and triumphant years.
It was an afternoon of high drama at Hampden when the holders, bidding for their FORTIETH Scottish Cup, took a took a two-goal advantage over the Edinburgh club with a superb arcing long-range effort from Ryan Christie and a cheeky penalty-kick from Odsonne Edouard. But the Tynecastle men fought back to force the grand finale into extra-time where Leigh Griffiths thumped a close-range drive beyond his former Parkhead team-mate Craig Gordon to restore superiority.
HAMPDEN HURRAH…jubilant Kristoffer Ajer after blasting in the historic penalty-kick.
Amazingly, Robbie Neilson’s men came back with a third goal and the tie went to a nerve-shredding penalty-kick conclusion. Gordon made a brilliant save from Christie, but two back-to-back saves from rookie keeper Conor Hazard swung the tie back in favour of the champions.
The deciding kick fell to Norwegian tower of strength Kristoffer Ajer and he almost took the net away with a blistering full-blooded attempt from 12 yards.
Two months and a day later, the hoorays at Hampden were dimmed in an avalanche of criticism as Celtic slumped to yet another catastrophic Premiership defeat – their fourth of wretched league campaign – when Ross County’s giant striker Jordan White rose unchallenged by a dithering defence to launch a 71st-minute winner beyond Scott Bain in Dingwall last night.
From winners to sinners in such a short space of time, football’s folklore is festooned with such tales.
But Celtic and the fans will always have four years of total domestic domination to comfort them through the hard times as the team regroup for another tilt at a new era.
CQN‘s ace snappers caught the action on another momentous chapter in the team’s topsy-turvy turn of events.
HAMPDEN HIGHS…Neil Lennon applauds Ryan Christie’s opening goal in the delayed Scottish Cup Final against Hearts on December 2020.
HIGHLAND LOWS…Neil Lennon can’t bear to look as the players struggle in Dingwall.
THE LONG WALK…Neil Lennon trudges off after the 1-0 los to Ross County.
BALL BHOY…Jonjoe Kenny shows his ability in the air.
EYES ON THE BALL…skipper Scott Brown is a study in concentration.
PASS MASTER…David Turnbull tries to open up the County rearguard.
OOPS…Ryan Christie misses a left-wing cross with keeper Ross Laidlaw on alert.
UNDER GUARD…Odsonne Edouard and his Ross County ‘marker’.
TRUE GRIT…Stephen Welsh gets in ahead a County opponent to clear the danger.
BLAST OFF…Ryan Christie thumps an eight-yarder over the bar and out of the ground.
THE RACE IS ON…Kristoffer Ajer attempts to put on the pressure.
COUNTY BARRIER…Callum McGregor’s progress is hindered.
HIGH JINX…Jordan White gets up to head in the winner as the set-play hoodoo hits the Hoops again.
A BHOY ALONE…Diego Laxalt is left standing as the opponents enjoy a Highland Fling.
BY THE LEFT…Leigh Griffiths has a go, but is out of luck.
FRIEND AND FOE…Neil Lennon with Ross County keeper Ross Laidlaw at full-time.
THE END…Neil Lennon and some interesting trackside advertising.