Friday, May 20, 2011

Scottish Cup: Celtic Ten Years On

Sigh heaped upon sigh.

After Wednesday's post celebrating Motherwell's 1991 Scottish Cup win I knew I had to redress the balance.

Fast forward ten years.

Celtic win the Scottish Cup, complete the treble, with a comprehensive 3-0 win over my Hibernian.

A cracking Celtic team it was. Lubo Moravcik was forced off after only 18 minutes. But Martin O'Neill, oft criticised for the functionality of his tactics, began the game with Moravcik, Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton in his team.

That posed a functionally attacking threat.

Neil Lennon, Johan Mjällby and Alan Thompson all started for Celtic. They'll feature again this weekend in very different roles.

Paul Lambert too. Now off to the English Premier League. Jackie McNamara replaced Moravcik and opened the scoring, little did he know that one day he would inherit the Jags.

The day before this game I had a massively important exam. It lasted all day. When it finished I got barnstormingly drunk.

It was with a whopping hangover that I began my cup final day in Edinburgh's Penny Black pub.

It's before 9am, you can still taste last night's dirty pint, your friend of a friend's dad has just told you he won't accept swearing in his company.

And somebody's put a dark rum and coke with a pint of lager chaser in front of you.

You know it's going to be a day of days.

Unfortunately for Hibernians of my ilk, a wayward genius had departed. Russell Latapy, the defence probing magician, had spent the week knocking my post exam shenanigans into a cocked hat.

Possibly last seen chasing down Princes Street in a Mini Cooper stuffed full of Brian Lara, Dwight Yorke and a bevy of lovely ladies, Russell had been given the chop by Hibs manager Alex McLeish.

A fine Hibs team that had spent the new year going off the boil were at the mercy of an exceptional Celtic team with a fine manager.

Celtic duly delivered.

Celtic's starting XI looked like this:

Robert Douglas, Johan Mjällby, Ramon Vega, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe, Neil Lennon, Paul Lambert, Ľubomír Moravčík, Alan Thompson, Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton

Tommy Johnson and Tom Boyd joined McNamara in coming off the bench. Jonathan Gould and Alan Stubbs were the unused subs.

Hibs, it's perhaps forgotten, started with the briefly shining light that was Marc Libbra up front. The veteran Ian Westwater was the reserve goalkeeper.

In Motherwell's cup win a decade before only three of the starting 22 were foreigners.

Only six of the starting 22 in this final were Scottish.

Two Henrik Larsson goals finished off a 3-0 win for Celtic.

> Was it Spurs that always won stuff in years ending in one?

So do Celtic.

1910-11, 1930-31, 1950-51, 1970-71 and 2000-01 - Celtic were Scottish Cup winners.

Not that coincidence means anything.