Many of us are looking back at old games and moments in our history at present in order to get our Celtic fix, with withdrawal symptoms I’m sure common in many of the faithful. Bus conveners and guys running C.S.C’s are also I’m sure enjoying an aspect of the break but it’s fair to say that life is currently a lot less exciting without the joy of the Celtic enriching our weekends.
Given the incredible history of our club, it inevitably means that regardless of date or month there will always be moments of the past that will allow us to celebrate and reminisce. One date in particular that comes to mind and is so often cause for a social media celebratory post is that of April 29th.
It is fair to say wall to wall coverage from the Celtic Faithful was given to four separate games played on this date. In many ways if we were to have a National skelping day of celebration each year a very good argument could be made for this date. Four of the most celebrated victories against a team playing out of Ibrox stadium over the past twenty years, victories that will be remembered and celebrated twenty years from now all took place on this date. Two of those victories were against the old Rangers with the other two being against the tribute act. they are as follows,
Rangers (1872) 0-3 Celtic – April 29th 2001
Celtic 3- 0 Rangers (1872)- April 29th 2012
Rangers (2012) 1-5 Celtic- April 29th 2017
Celtic 5-0 Rangers (2012)- April 29th 2018
My own personal recollections of these games are as vivid now as they were the day they took place. Looking back at the first of these four wins that make up National skelping day I can’t but help think of what a trip to Ibrox was previously like for those of us Celtic minded pre 2001.
Once upon a time Ibrox was a place of absolute dread for the faithful. Long before the Zombie’s spat the dummy and cut the ticket allocation for our support on the back of four straight defeats and scenes of wild jubilation within the “Free Broomloan Stand”, that walk from where the buses park at Helen Street right up to the ground were met with an impending sense of dread.
By April 2001 we had gone nearly seven years without a win there. Indeed, my own first visit to Ibrox the year before saw us stuffed four nil on a day that saw little to no positives and a collective sense of despondency on the direction as to where the club were going. A year later and that afternoon saw Lubo and Co. tear them apart, with King Henrik marking the occasion with his fiftieth goal of the season. The beginning of national skelping day had arrived. A day and a date to remember. April 29th.
Much has been written about April 29th 2012, which will go down in history as the final ever “Old Firm Derby”. One hundred and twenty-four years after their first meeting we would brush them aside in a game that is as memorable for the pre match Tifo by the Green Brigade of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, with the iconic “Your Day Is Coming” text as is the game itself.
I was actually at a very good friend of mine’s wedding and missed the game, watching it with other members of our C.S.C in Dublin. I know what many of you are thinking, he can’t have been that good a friend if he put his wedding on during the football season.
Still for all of us April 29th 2012 was the closing of the book. Both the first and last Old firm derbies ending in a three victory win for the Bhoys. It would be five years on before we faced a team called Rangers again on this date and this meeting would see us come against a new foe, albeit in the same colours and backed by the same right wing neo fascist support that permeate the terraces of Ibrox every second week.
The 2017 win at their ground really broke them. It would be my last visit to the ground and looking at an almost empty stadium with over half an hour left was both surreal and magical. A day, a date and a season we would never forget. The final addition to National hunskelping day was the day we clinched seven in a row with a five goal hammering at Paradise. Strangely enough my memory of that day was leaving the ground tinged with regret that we did not witness a massacre to surpass our famous seven one league cup triumph of 1957, given we were five nil up up on fifty-two minutes. Still what a day it was, and what a date April 29th was yet again.
To all those currently struggling we will have better days ahead and many a day to celebrate in the future. In the meantime, enjoy looking back at all those days we have been blessed with in the past. In looking back there have been fewer sweeter dates than National skelping day April 29th. We’ll all raise a glass to it no doubts on April 29th 2021.
Ciaran Kenny is a member of Naomh Padraig CSC in Dublin since the early nineties. Ciaran is also a regular to Paradise and beyond since 1995, he is a season ticket holder at Celtic Park since 1999. and a Shareholder and also a member of the Celtic Trust. Ciaran has worked closely with the homeless services in Dublin City working with Don Bosco Care since 2001. Ciaran is also Chairperson of the Irish aftercare network which advocates for better outcomes for young people in care throughout all of Ireland. Ciaran has contributed to Mt90M since 2008.