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The Roy Keane Show? (Part 1)

With the start of this season’s Scottish Cup campaign just around the corner, Bolton based Bully Wee supporter Andrew Lamb remembers last year’s historic win over Celtic in the Third Round of the competition in a two part series…

As Clyde supporters we know the score when it comes to the Scottish Cup. Either get a small team like Albion Rovers or Stenhousemuir and a guaranteed passage through or get one of the big boys and although you know you will get thrashed, at least you have the comfort of a good pay day and a great day out. For me that is what the Scottish Cup has always been about, a trip up North or to places not normally visited in the normal run of league business.

Season 05/06 was surreal for those of us following Clyde. Pre-season we played Manchester United with messers Van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Rooney et al – we lost 5-1 but it was a great day out and it was wonderful to see Broadwood full.

On CIS Cup duty, having seen off Montrose and Peterhead, we were drawn against the might of Glasgow Rangers. Many amongst us, myself included, thought that a trip to Ibrox would be the highlight of the night. How wrong I was. We went a goal down in four minutes, through Buffell and then went on to go 2-1 in front before surrendering the game in extra time eventually losing 5-2 but the effort that night was outstanding and I was truly proud of the team and the collective effort they put in and it meant I could hold my head up high amongst my Old Firm supporting pals.

I was at the Reebok Stadium on the 11th December when I was informed of the draw for the Third Round of last year’s Scottish Cup. My friend Jim phoned and informed me that we would be up against Celtic. My thoughts went back to last year and a 0-5 pummelling at the hands of Martin O’Neill’s side, in all honesty I think the occasion and the media surrounding the game got to some of the players and we did not play as well as those of us who watch Clyde knew we could.

The lead up to the game in the week before hand was all about Roy Keane and how this would be his first game for Celtic, indeed in many of the newspapers Clyde were only an aside to the Main Event. Being perfectly honest I expected a tanking in the region of 5 or 6 nil, bearing in mind that Celtic were top of the Premier League and we are a mid table First Division team. The game was live on Sky Sports and was of course a sell out. Clyde received 2500 seats and the rest were sold to Celtic or allocated to hospitality; Broadwood holds around 8,000.

The Log Cabin on the Friday night before hand was full as always and my friends were wishing me luck, although the most frequent comment ran along the lines of, “Good luck on Sunday wee man, but I reckon you are in for a real thrashing!”

As I mentioned before for me it was all about the chance for the club to raise a few pounds and to show the public that we could hold Celtic for ten or twenty minutes before the inevitable capitulation.

As an aside can I just mention that at the start of the season our ex-manager left to join Hamilton Accies and with him he took most of our playing staff, leaving us with three registered players. Over the summer months the Board took the brave step of appointing Graham Roberts, ex of Spurs and Rangers along with Joe Miller ex of Celtic and Aberdeen as our management team. One of Graham and Joe’s first jobs was to hold what was labelled “Football Idol” trials by the press, trials for players who had been discarded by other teams or those who were looking for a team following ending of contracts elsewhere. From this we garnered a squad.

The day of the 8th started like any other Sunday, the sun shone and my sister woke me with a breakfast of bacon and eggs the only exception to the normality was the fact that I had a friend, Rod, staying over and we met Andy our other mate over in Govanhill for a pre match drink. Rod, Andy and I are Tartan Army Travelling buddies who, along with John Calderwood, travel to most Scotland games. As we sat in the pub we speculated upon possible outcomes. “We could nick one early and put eleven behind the ball!” I offered, realistically knowing that would never work due to the trickery and pace that Celtic have at their disposal.

As the time went on the majority of The Glasgow Branch supporters club arrived in dribs and drabs and the club became busier and busier.

We caught the bus at midday, the game being a one o’clock kick off, the level of excitement was audible on the bus, not a seat to be had and the customary sing song began. Scottish Cup days are normally the days when the whole repertoire of songs is sung, everything from “The Song of The Clyde” to “1-2-3” and all songs therein. Until we left Shawfield in 1986 we were near neighbours with Celtic Park being about a mile and a half up the road, not that any added incentive is needed whenever we play the Old Firm. The thought came to me on the bus after talking to some of the lads, when was the last occasion we actually beat Celtic? Craig Alexander the resident Stato, told us that in fact it was the Scottish Cup final of 1955 (which incidentally we won after a replay 1-0) although there was a 0-0 draw in the Scottish Cup in 1992, which I remember as being another great day out, Celtic won the replay 1-0 with a Tommy Coyne goal at Parkhead.

We arrived at Broadwood at 12-30 to be met with queues to get into the ground, now bear in mind that our average home crowd is 1350 and queuing is never a problem.

My seat was T-21, which afforded me two benefits, one was a great view of the proceedings and secondly I was in the middle of the singing.

The two teams arrived to a cacophony of noise. My heart was pounding and my throat ached with singing, I for one was sure that I was going to sing my heart out and support my team against the best team in Scotland, thus as the area around me burst into song and I joined in, showing solidarity.

My mind wandered for a second, drifting back to standing in the bucketing rain at Station Park, Forfar, on a cold, wet, blustery Tuesday night years ago wondering if it would be prudent to phone in work sick the next morning instead of getting home at the back of midnight and affording myself six hours sleep before going into a job with hassle and a lab full of bad moral. I came to the conclusion that following a team like Clyde is about the good times like the game against Celtic and the bad times, like the aforementioned Forfar game.

The teams lined up:-

Clyde: Cherrie, Higgins, McGregor, McKeown, McGowan, Bryson, O’Donnell, Masterton, Malone, Williams and Brighton. Subs Jarvie, Bouadji, Miller, Arbuckle, Hunter.

Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Du Wei, McManus, Wallace, Nakamura, Keane, Lennon, Pearson, Hartson and Maloney. Subs Marshall, Virgo, McGeady, Zurawski, Marshall.

The game kicked off.

It was then it became obvious, the young Clyde team were getting stuck in to their more illustrious visitors and some of the play was breathtaking. Clyde were playing football and not caring about the reputation of Celtic. Craig Bryson broke and played a great ball over the top of Du Wei for Tom Brighton to race clear, muscling the Chinese international out of the way before slotting the ball home. However the referee became the villain of the piece spotting a foul that no one (commentators included I have since discovered) noticed, this turn of events was very much like the meeting in the Scottish Cup last Season when Clyde had a screamer scorched off.

After another quarter of an hour Clyde where denied another “goal.” McGowan skinned Wallace on the wing and crossed for Williams to put a flick on it, the flick was met by Malone who played a ball across the area to Williams who slotted the ball home, however Williams was not offside but both O’Donnell and Bryson where in offside positions but not interfering with play, the referee gave offside. At this juncture I started to think back to the conspiracy theories about the old firm getting all decision whilst us smaller clubs get nothing and at this point I began to wonder if this was in fact true…

Click here to read Part 2