Clyde retained their starting eleven from the two previous games but almost got off to a horror start when after ten seconds, Higgins’s attempted clearance cannoned off Maloney and went harmlessly wide, when in actual fact it could have gone anywhere.
The next 92 or so minutes were far less worrying, as Clyde immediately started gaining good possession and, more importantly, threatening, as long range efforts from Masterton and Bryson peppered the Cup holders’ goal. Celtic’s experienced midfield, including Keane and Lennon, were constantly being harried by the tireless efforts of our midfield five, and all over the pitch the Celtic players were being forced into errors as our youngsters never gave them a minute’s peace.
No one was doing more than Bryson and Brighton and after some promising moments of forward play, Bryson broke free and clipped the ball over Celtic’s other debutant Du Wei for Brighton to race clear. Brighton easily – but fairly – out muscled him and coolly slotted past Boruc. Unbelievably, and scarily reminiscent of our cup meeting last February, the referee spotted a foul no-one else did and ruled the goal out.
Amazingly, 13 minutes later, the officials would make an even more glaring error and rule out a Clyde opener. After McGowan had quite simply skinned Wallace on the left hand wing, he whipped in a terrific near post cross that was met by a combination of a Williams’ flick and Celtic ‘keeper Boruc. The ball spun loose and Williams showed great awareness to try and pick out the supporting O’Donnell, but the pass was overhit and O’Donnell couldn’t make contact. However, Bryson was supporting to superb effect he picked up the ball and drove across the Celtic penalty area, the ball then found its way to Malone who cleverly played the ball across the six yard line. O’Donnell and Bryson may well have been in offside positions, but Alex Williams wasn’t when he slotted home, only to hear the howls of derision from the home support after another mistake by the officials had cost Clyde.
Lesser men would have let their heads go down after such injustice, but not these guys. Only four minutes later, another slack Celtic pass under pressure allowed O’Donnell to burst forward, he was tackled by Keane, but the ball fell kindly for Malone, who delivered a superb cross into the path of Williams six yards out. Amazingly, Williams could not make contact, but he managed to distract the Celtic defence, including the ‘keeper, enough to allow the cross to continue to Bryson who, unmarked from 8 yards out, kept a composure that belied his years to head Clyde in front. After they had checked with the officials, it sent the Clyde fans into ecstasy.
It was almost too good to be true, and Shaun Maloney nearly hit back straight away, when he showed great skill and pace, but his pace took him too wide to trouble Cherrie, who stopped his shot, and Higgins cleared the ball to safety.
Mikey McGowan was starting to become an increasing influence. After further good work by McGowan, Brighton was presented with the opportunity to bear down on goal as he rushed towards the box. Du Wei cynically tugged at both Brighton’s shorts and shirt and sent him sprawling in the penalty area. PENALTY!
Surprisingly, the Chinese Internationalist was not even spoken to. Brighton too was furious that he had been denied the chance to open his Broadwood account. After what seemed like an age, Stephen O’Donnell stepped up to take the spot kick. His shot was powerful, well placed and right in the corner, but was brilliantly saved by Boruc. Celtic knew they had survived a massive scare.
A devastated O’Donnell dusted himself down to send over the Clyde trademark corner. Missed by Higgins, Paul Telfer was the man to expertly flick the ball on to find the unlikeliest marksman. In one of the most memorable moments in Scottish Cup history, Eddie Malone unleashed an unstoppable left foot volley into the roof of the net, for his first Clyde goal, and possibly the club’s most important goal in over forty years.
Rather than spur on the Hoops, it further galvanised Clyde. Brighton was looking unstoppable, so Celtic and McManus in particular decided that a heavy and dangerous challenge might stop him. In what had been a very well mannered game, McManus picked up the game’s first booking.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Celtic had the chance to pull a goal back when they got a free kick in a dangerous area considering the dead ball expertise of Maloney and Nakamura. The latter took the kick but never troubled Cherrie, who had been a virtual spectator for the entire half. Half-time.
The general consensus was that it couldn’t possibly be as good in the second half, and whatever happened, the team had been colossal and we were proud of them.
Celtic introduced Virgo for Du Wei, as their initial concern would be not to capitulate and lose more goals to Clyde. If the Clyde fans thought they would be forced to endure a second half onslaught, they were wrong. Clyde continued to defy the odds and generally outclass their illustrious opponents. On several occasions Clyde broke with fierce pace from midfield and found the strikers. Brighton in particular made space for himself unbelievably well. On the first occasion he took the ball into feet, made a fool of Paul Telfer as he went round them then blasted a left footed shot inches over with Boruc beat.
Celtic were posing no threat whatsoever to the Clyde goal, as the home team continued to press and harry their opponents. Celtic survived many near things, as Williams was twice denied by good Celtic blocks after he had linked superbly with Brighton. They had another real let off, when a Bryson cross, after another move of concerted Clyde pressure, was met by O’Donnell only to see it crash back off the post.
Time ticked by and Clyde looked the team most likely to score, but then Celtic made sure that, at least in the supporters’ minds, the last seven minutes or so would be nervy. Zurawski pulled a goal back with a well-taken volley after McManus had out muscled McGregor and nodded the ball back into his path.
The overdue and still expected Celtic barrage never came, and through determination and no little skill, Clyde easily saw out the remaining time, even if it did feel like an eternity to spark scenes that easily surpassed any at Broadwood, and will probably never be matched.
:: A FAMOUS ELEVEN
:: GOALKEEPER AND DEFENCE
Cherrie – Amazingly didn’t have too much to do, but was blameless at goal and handled the little thrown at him.
McGregor – His performance at Ibrox was possibly the best individual performance I had ever seen from a Clyde player. He was better in this match. Lay spare from challenging Hartson, read the game superbly. Kilmarnock must have some defence!
Higgins – Superb marshalling of Hartson, and defended with passion. If he wasn’t first to ball, he harried Celtic into mistakes.
McKeown – An absolute rock! Another who dealt with Hartson superbly. I can’t think of any mistakes.
Many will point the finger at a seemingly un-interested Hartson, but he was simply not allowed to play and the understanding between the last line was almost psychic.
McGowan – Disciplined and polished performance, without getting forward too much. Delivered superb cross for Clyde’s second disallowed goal.
Malone – EDDIE EDDIE – the boy scored! What a goal, set up the first and was constantly attacking up the wing!
Bryson – Unbelievable performance. Unlimited engine, great skill and just rewards with goal.
O’Donnell – Could have crumbled after missing penalty, but picked himself up and delivered corner for Clyde’s second ALLOWED goal.
Masterton – Turned 21 last week, but put in a performance of real maturity, rarely wasting possession, and setting the tone with a couple of early shots.
Williams – Terrific shift, cruelly denied a goal, involved in first allowed goal, and linked superbly with Brighton.
Brighton – An absolute stormer! Another cruely denied a goal by the referee and Du Wei, but skill, pace, determination and genuine ability. Sponsor’s Man of the Match.
Again the Celtic defence will be lambasted, and probably rightly so, but they have apparently played against better players and coped. They struggled because they were out played, out fought and out thought by two players who are forming the best partnership in many a year at Clyde.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Full Time||Attendance||Report Author|
|January 8, 2006||1:00 pm||Scottish Cup||2005-06||90'||7589||Graham Murray|