clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Title Triumphs: The Games That Clinched The League

Number 5: Kilmarnock 1 Celtic 2 April 22nd 2007

Naka celebrates scoring the goal that won the league

Our series looking back at games that clinched the title ends with a late winner at Rugby Park in 2007

The Celtic team in 2006-07 was, all things considered quite under-rated. We won a league and Scottish Cup double and reached the last sixteen of the Champions League, going down 1-0 on aggregate to eventual winners AC Milan after extra time in the San Siro, a highly creditable performance.

Unfortunately a lot of the football played that season was quite workmanlike, and we went into a tailspin after the Milan defeat, dropping points all over the place and relying on individual magic to pull us out of trouble.

Such was the case when we travelled to Rugby Park in April, knowing that three points would clinch the league title. The big team news from the game was the return of John Kennedy, making his first start in three years after he suffered a potential career ending injury playing for Scotland. Neil Lennon captained the side in one of his last games for the club.

Celtic began the game on the front foot, and eventually took the lead after twenty-four minutes, with JVoH scoring a trademark header from a Nakamura. Would this goal enable Celtic to start playing god football for the first time in weeks? No.

Peter Leven and Steven 'They are a new club' Naismith both missed good chances for Killie before Colin Nish tapped a cut-back into the empty net for the equaliser after fifty minutes.

So Celtic were involved in another grim struggle, and the fans were frustrated as it looked like the title winning party would be delayed a week. Aiden McGeady was brought on for the ineffectual Thomas Gravesen in the second-half, but he was unable to make an impact on the game. With the clock ticking to 89 minutes, Celtic's big chance arrived, as the ball broke to Derek Riordan in the penalty box, who smashed his shot well over the bar to howls of disbelief from the crowd. The chance to clinch the title was surely gone....but there was to be one last twist.

In injury time, Gary Wales brought down Shunsuke Nakamura around thirty yards from goal. Perfect free-kick territory for the Japanese international. He placed the ball on the spot; stepped up and curled the ball into the corner of the net giving Alan Combe new chance, and making it 2-1 to the Champions!

The goal brought scenes of wild celebration, as the normally cool and calm Nakamura took off his Celtic shirt and ran into the crowd. The final whistle blew shortly after, and cheers were given to John Kennedy, who had coped admirably in his first game back, and of course Nakamura, who had dug us out of trouble once again.

Kilmarnock 1 (Nish 50) Celtic 2 (Vennegoor of Hesselink 24, Nakamura 90)