Celtic On This Day: Hoops move one step away from clinching title

By John Reid

March 26, 2020

Our ‘on this day’ feature returns with a look at a Celtic win from on this day 14 years ago, which left the Hoops three points away from clinching the title.

Celtic started the season 2005-06 abysmally, under the management of Gordon Strachan. The Hoops crashed out of Europe to Artmedia Bratislava, and also lost the first Glasgow derby of the season.

However, after that start Strachan gradually got to grips with the Scottish game, and by the time the Hoops faced Livingston on the 26th of March 2006 the team were well clear of nearest challengers, Hearts.

Opened scoring in second-half

The Hoops went into the game knowing that a win would see them move three points from title, but it took until the second-half for Celtic to take the lead, with Maciej Zurawski opening the scoring, with Shaun Maloney sealing the 2-0 win from the penalty spot.

Shaun Maloney, a key man for Celtic in 2006 (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Celtic’s win meant that the Hoops could clinch the title in the next league game, at home to Hearts – but that is a story for another on this day.

Attacker’s best season for Hoops

The 2005-06 season has to be considered as Shaun Maloney’s best as a Celtic player. He was a driving force in helping the side overcome the poor start to the season.

Shaun Maloney scores against Rangers (IAN STEWART/AFP via Getty Images)

In total, he scored 16 goals for the Hoops in all competitions, and was named as Scotland’s player of the year.

Sadly, he never reached those heights with the Hoops again, as injuries and a move to Aston Villa checked his progress.

Still, he can look back on season 2005-06 with great fondness, as there is no doubt that he was Celtic’s key man that season, and he has the awards and trophies to provide it.