Our series leading up to this weekend's Scottish Cup semi final continues with an emotional night at Ibrox in 1995.
Younger readers or newer Celtic fans might not be aware that Celtic weren't the success story we are today, where winning one trophy is sometimes seen as a poor season. Between 1990 and early 1995 we didn't win a single trophy, often losing semis and finals in heartbreaking situations.
The worst was in 1994, where under the steward of new owner Fergus McCann and manager Tommy Burns, we reached the final of the league against first division Raith Rovers and conspired to lose a game on penalties that we should have had won in normal time.
Thankfully we were given the chance to break our lean spell once again that same season, facing Hibs in the Scottish Cup semi final. The game we are discussing is a replay, the original game played four days earlier ended 0-0, with Andy Walker missing a late penalty, so fans were concerned going into the replay that Celtic might blow another golden chance to win a trophy, especially when first division Airdrie knocked out Hearts to reach the cup final.
We needed haven't have worried as in comparison to the tense first game, Celtic were rampant. Firstly, Andy Walker missed a great chance to put Celtic in the lead, putting a shot wide when clean through. Then, after Hibs missed a chance when Steven Tweed really should have scored, Celtic opened the scoring. Willie Falconer taking a Paul McStay pass on the turn and sweeping a shot into the bottom corner of the net after 31 minutes.
Celtic continued to carve out chances, as we went for the killer second goal. A Falconer shot went just over the bar, the same player hit a shot wide, and the second goal arrived right on half-time. After a defensive mix-up the ball fell to John Collins just outside the penalty box, he chipped a wonderful strike into the net, giving Jim Leighton no chance. 2-0 to the Celts at half-time.
After a spell of Celtic pressure at the start of the Second Half, Hibs began to get into the game, and Pat Bonner had to make a smart save from an O'Neill shot, and Hibs pulled a goal back after Bonner and Pat McGinley collided and Keith Wright put the ball into the empty net in the 63rd minute.
The tension was palpable, as Celtic were on the verge of throwing away a two goal lead. Surely we wouldn't make a mess of it again? Andy Walker squandered a great chance to soothe the nerves with another miss when put through on goal again.
Thankfully the game was put to bed in the 83rd minute. A Rudi Vata free-kick was met by Phil O'Donnell and his bullet header flew into the top corner.
As the final whistle, it was a sense of relief all round, as we had earned a second chance to put things right. As for the final itself, we'll talk about that another day...
Celtic 3 (Falconer 31' Collins 45' O'Donnell 83') Hibernian 1 (Wright 63')