Celtic are floored by Falkirk

Football: Celtic 0 Falkirk 1
Click to follow
The Independent Online
A 19th-minute header by Paul McGrillen exposed a hole in the centre of the Celtic defence as well as ripping to shreds the progress the Glasgow club has made over the last two years.

Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, has spent pounds 16m in assembling a group of players who once again proved they do not have the qualities required to be winners. This was not a crunch league game against a battle-hardened Rangers side used to success, but a Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final replay against a First Division side who have failed to mount a serious promotion challenge this season.

Burns admitted he has suffered the agonies he dreaded in his playing career. "As a player, it was always one of my greatest fears to be involved in an upset like this, and I was fortunate enough in 15 years never to be involved and that is what makes it so hard to take. Nothing can describe my feelings," he said.

The result which ended Celtic's season will inevitably put pressure on Burns, as Fergus McCann, the club chairman, starts assessing the value of his investment. McCann has put about pounds 7m of his own money into the club, but he is no gambler and will now have to decide if Burns is the man to take Celtic the extra step they have so far stumbled at.

Falkirk refused to accept their position as underdogs in fulfiling their destiny. The history books show they last won the Cup in 1957 with victory over Kilmarnock in the final, and a repeat of that fixture has led Alex Totten, the Falkirk manager, to believe that, 40 years later, the end result will be the same. The game's only goal was a carefully placed header by McGrillen into the top corner of the net, the reverberations of which will continue for some time.

Celtic (4-4-2): Kerr; McNamara, Boyd, Stubbs, McKinlay; Thom, O'Donnell (Johnson, 55), Hannah, Di Canio; Donnelly (McLaughlin, 77), Cadete. Substitute not used: Mackay.

Falkirk (5-3-2): Nelson; McGowan, Gray, Oliver, James, Seaton; McAllister, McKenzie, Hagen; McGrillen (Craig, 63), Crabbe (Fellner, 73). Substitute not used: Mathers (gk).

Referee: W Young (Clarkston).

Comments