125 Years of August 28th
And so, here we are, hours away from Celtic’s biggest game of the season so far. We all know that our visitors, Shakhter Karagandy, currently hold a two-nil lead, but what does history have to tell us about August 28th and a Belgian roller coaster?
Well, Celtic will play their twenty-fifth match on August 28th tonight. Previously, the Hoops have made twenty-four appearances on this date, winning sixteen games, drawing four and losing four.
Of these sixteen victories, Celtic have won ten of these by a margin of three goals or more, with notably large victories against Airdrieonians, Queen’s Park, Third Lanark, East Fife, Dunfermline and Brechin City coming along the way. 1971 also saw a comprehensive three-nil victory over Rangers at Ibrox (pictured above).
In fact, the Hoops have scored seventy-three times in these twenty-four matches (an average of 3.04 goals per game), conceding twenty-three (an average of 0.96 per game), and have only lost once on this date since the end of World War Two.
Regardless, what does this all have to do with Belgium? Well, on August 28th 1997, a group of twenty-six people were trapped on a roller coaster in the country as the vehicle came to an abrupt halt midway through a loop, leaving all of the passengers hanging upside down for approximately ninety minutes.
Now, that same ride had done it’s job countless times previously, but for some reason it went on the fritz that day.
Equally well, most people (bookmakers included) expected Celtic to travel to Kazakhstan and come away with a victory, and if not that, a draw. Likewise, most folks thought Celtic would score an away goal.
And yet, despite that, Celtic lost by two goals to nil to a side most people had never even heard of prior to this season (let alone seen).
In a sense, we tried to zip through a loop on the roller coaster track in front of us and we got stuck at the top, which is where we find ourselves today – hanging upside down after ninety minutes, unsure of whether we will push forwards and race into the lucrative, prestigious Champions League, or roll backwards to it’s little brother, the Europa League.
One thing is certain though, later tonight, the roller coaster will start to move again once more – the atmosphere at Celtic Park will be electric, and countless more will find themselves screaming at television screens across the globe – I just hope we move in the right direction.
Below, you can find all of the results from Celtic’s previous outings on the 28th August:
lost 1-0 v hibs 1909
won 5-0 v airdrieonians 1915
won 2-1 v aberdeen 1920 (McStay penalty wins the day for the Celts)
won 6-1 v queen’s park 1926
won 6-0 v third lanark 1935 (hat-trick from Jimmy McGrory)
lost 2-1 v kilmarnock 1937
won 3-2 v queen’s park 1940
lost 3-1 v partick thistle 1943
drew 2-2 v hamilton 1946
won 2-1 v hearts 1948 (two goals from McPhail are enough to see the Celts triumph)
drew 2-2 v falkirk 1954
won 6-1 v east fife 1957
won 3-0 v dundee united 1965
won 3-0 v morton 1968
won 3-0 v rangers 1971 (Dalglish, Callaghan and Lennox silence the Ibrox crowd)
drew 3-3 v arbroath 1972
drew 2-2 v motherwell 1974
won 2-1 v arboath 1976
won 7-1 v dunfermline 1982
won 7-0 v brechin 1985
won 1-0 v partick 1993
lost 2-0 v basel 2002
won 4-0 v dunfermline 2005
won 2-0 v st mirren 2011 (two early goals from Gary Hooper give Celtic the victory)