Football; Celtic caught on the rebound
Aidrieonians 1 Celtic 0
Thursday 20 August 1998
This was only the second game played at their new Shyberry Excelsior Stadium, but it was one which will be cherished by the home fans. At the same time it was a night to forget for Celtic, who never rose above the ordinary and can have no complaints about the result.
Airdrie gave Celtic an early warning of their menace with Steve Cooper flashing a header just wide from a free-kick and then Sandy Stewart shot past the post as Airdrie rode the wave of enthusiasm from a vociferous home support which was delighted to see their side take the lead in the 15th minute.
Allan Moore was fouled inside the penalty area and although Marvyn Wilson's penalty was saved by Jonathan Gould, the Airdrie man followed up on the rebound to shoot his side ahead.
Celtic responded immediately through a Simon Donnelly break, but his shot was blocked. Then, in the 32nd minute, Paul Lambert pulled a neat one-two to break the Airdrie line, only to shoot straight at John Martin. The goalkeeper soon had to block an angled drive from Donnelly and on the stroke of half-time did well to take the heat out of a stinging drive from Phil O'Donnell.
Celtic brought on Mark Burchill, their young striker, and Enrico Annoni at half-time for Blinker and McNamara, but despite an initial surge the visitors continued to have trouble in making any impression.
Airdrie, to their credit, played a simple game, sitting back and operating on the break. This was a night when Celtic were far from their best and the First Division side could sense a shock victory.
Darren Jackson had a shot comfortably saved in the 57th minute, and in the 64th minute Lambert saw his curled effort pushed away by Martin.
Airdrie should have increased their lead nine minutes later when a sweeping move left Wilson in the clear, but the Airdrie goal scorer on this occasion lifted his shot over the bar.
Jackson might have forced extra-time, but in the final minute he dragged his shot wide after being sent clear.
Airdrieonians (4-4-2): Martin; Jack, D Farrell, Sandison, Smith; Moore, Wilson, Stewart (Black, 70), McCann; Cooper (McGrillen, 40), Taylor. Substitute not used: G Farrell.
Celtic (3-4-3): Gould; Boyd, MacKay, Mahe; McNamara (Annoni, h-t), Burley, Lambert, O'Donnell (MacKinlay, 70); Donnelly, Jackson, Blinker (Burchill, h-t).
Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell).
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