Celtic’s legendary title clinching win over St Mirren may have been written about many times before, but it deserves to be celebrated for the style of football that Davie Hay’s side played with more than anything.
The team played with a sense of freedom and with nothing to lose, and it paid off as the Hoops scored the goals that were needed to clinch the title.
There is no doubt that the Bhoys did have help from Dundee on the day, but Dundee’s win would have counted for nothing if it hadn’t been for Celtic’s ability to find the back of the net.
Celtic were irresistible in attack. One goal in particular that deserves to be talked about is the fourth goal the Hoops scored in the game. Owen Archdeacon got the ball and went on a run down the wing, beating Tom Wilson, and cutting the ball towards the penalty box.
Murdo McLeod then dummied the ball as it came towards him, letting it go through his legs and towards Paul McStay, who hammered the ball into the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
YouTube: St Mirren v Celtic 1986
The Celtic side deserves plenty of credit for managing to play that style of football with their league title ambitions on the line. One of the hallmarks of a good Celtic side is their ability to play good football, and the side of season 1985/86 certainly did that on the final day of the season.
Just in case anyone doesn’t know the full story of the say, the Hoops went into the game two points behind league leaders Hearts, who were also ahead on goal difference. For Celtic to win the league, the Bhoys had to hope that Hearts lost to Dundee at Dens Park, and Celtic had to defeat St Mirren by three goals at least.
The Hoops had completed their side of the bargain by half-time, being four-nil up, and then it was all about what happened in Dundee. Thankfully, Albert Kidd came off the bench to score twice to give Dundee a 2-0 win and spark scenes of incredible celebration at Love Street.
YouTube: Dundee v Hearts 1986
The day had plenty of memorable moments, but the fans celebrating as news came through that Dundee had taken the lead will be hard to beat. It is a moment that will never be forgotten by the fans that were at the game and the ones that had to listen on their radios.
Whilst Celtic have had some memorable last day title wins – the victory in 2008 over Dundee United springs to mind – the game against St Mirren probably stands out as the best of the lot, as it was so unexpected.
Not only did Celtic have to score lots of goals, but the team had to count on Hearts losing as well. The football that Celtic played at Love Street showed that the Bhoys deserved to be crowned champions. The game has to go down as one of the best in Celtic’s history, very few matches have come close to it in the 35 years since the match was played.