Was Inverness’s Draw With Celtic A Warm-Up For Scottish Cup History?
In the foyer of Inverness’s Caledonian Stadium is a framed back page of The Scottish Sun. It is from February 2000 and the headline reads: ‘Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious.’
Voted the 5th greatest football headline ever, that back page details Inverness’s 3-1 Scottish Cup win over Celtic in 2000, just six years after the club formed in 1996. That cup run would end in the next round against Aberdeen and Inverness have still never reached the showpiece event that is the Scottish Cup final. They are just one win away from doing so this season.
Standing in their way is the atrocious Celtic, although the Hoops are certainly less atrocious these days than they were back in 2000. Ronny Delia’s Celtic side have already collected one trophy this season, are set to seal the league title in the next few weeks and have their sights set on a Scottish Cup that could complete a historic treble - a feat which only two previous managers have achieved in Celtic's 127 year history.
Considering that the opponents in the final will be either Hibernian or Falkirk – both languishing in the division below – means that whoever wins next Sunday’s semi-final between Celtic and Inverness will be favourites to lift the famous trophy at Hampden Park this May.
Inverness boss John Hughes will be desperate for that side to be his and he got a warm-up this Saturday lunch-time when Celtic came to visit in the league. It looked like the warm-up was going to be very heated indeed, when the match sparked into life inside the first five minutes. Leigh Griffiths put the visitors ahead on three minutes with a low strike before Nigerian striker Edward Ofere levelled the scores just one minute later from close range.
A game full of fouls, and one not aided by the windy conditions, meant that neither side really looked like grabbing control of the match and the 1-1 scoreline was how this one finished.
Besides the injury to goalkeeper Dean Brill in the 20th minute, Hughes will have been happy with today’s draw, becoming the first team in a month to not only avoid defeat against Celtic but to score against them.
Can they go one better next weekend? If any team in Scotland looks like beating Celtic at the moment, it looks like being Inverness. An even more important back page headline could soon be hanging in the Caledonian Stadium foyer…
Scottish Football Talking Points Of The Week:
- Saint Mirren were buried, if not quite dead. Buried under the weight of five Motherwell goals in the relegation ‘decider’ in midweek. Nothing is quite decided yet but Saint Mirren are now ten points behind Motherwell with six games remaining, one more game than second bottom Motherwell. That extra fixture is on Monday night against relegation defying Ross County. A defeat there might just close the coffin lid.
- Partick Thistle looked for a few days like being dragged into the battle to avoid the relegation play-off spot. A 2-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday afternoon took them seven points clear and apparently safe.
- Dundee United won their first match in ten, a 70th minute Chris Erskine strike providing the perfect cure to defeat in the Dundee derby last time out.
- While Stuart McColl’s term in the Rangers dugout had started so brightly, it all came crashing down at Palmerston Park on Thursday night as Queen of the South sent the Glasgow side home with a 3-0 defeat. The win moved Queens into the Scottish Championship’s last play-off spot.