When it comes to Celtic games against Rangers, in recent years the heroes for the Hoops in the fixtures have been the players you would expect.
The likes of Moussa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest have all helped Celtic achieve notable results. However, that has not always been the case.
In days gone by, particularly at Ibrox, some unlikely heroes have made their Celtic names in the fixture. Here, we will take a look at three of those players, and their memorable moments.
Celtic utility man Brian O’Neil will go done in Hoops folklore for one goal – an injury-time winner at Ibrox. On the 30th of October 1993, the Hoops were drawing 1-1 with Rangers as the game ticked towards the final whistle.
With the game all but over, John Collins swung in a corner. The ball was misjudged completely by Rangers goalkeeper Ally Maxwell, and O’Neil was on hand to shoulder the ball into the next, in front of the masked ranks of the Celtic support.
Interestingly, the game was Lou Macari’s first as Celtic manager, and was probably the high point of his spell as Hoops boss. O’Neil would go on to play for the likes of Derby County and Aberdeen, but for Celtic fans he will always be remembered for that winning goal.
John Hughes was the archetypal tough, Scottish centre-back, who joined the Hoops from Falkirk under the management of Tommy Burns in 1995.
Hughes brought a bit of steel to a team that contained the likes of Andy Thom and Pierre Van Hooijdonk, and he played a major role in keeping the Hoops’ title dreams alive, at least for a while longer, in 1996.
On St Patrick’s Day 1996, the Hoops were involved in a nip and tuck title battle with Rangers. Celtic needed to win the game to catch-up with the Ibrox side, but had to avoid defeat more than anything.
The Hoops were 1-0 – and one man down, Jackie McNamara sent-off – when up stepped Hughes in the 87th minute. His header from a Peter Grant free-kick brought the Hoops level, and salvaged a brave point for the 10 men. It might not have been enough to win the league for the Hoops, but it was certainly a memorable moment for ‘Yogi’.
Now we come to a game far more recent than the two above, when Scott Bain made his debut against Rangers two years ago this month.
Bain was a late replacement for Craig Gordon, and faced a baptism of fire when Rangers took the lead early in the game. However, Bain went on to have a debut to remember.
He helped a 10 man Celtic side secure a momentous 3-2 win which all but secured the Premiership title for then manager Brendan Rodgers.
One of Bain’s saves from Alfredo Morelos in particular was sensational, as he helped the Hoops stay 3-2 ahead when Morelos looked certain to score.
It has to go down as one of the most memorable Celtic debuts in recent years.