All these events occurred on September 24th 1988, well over 30 years ago. There is however another episode that took place that day. It was the last time that Dundee managed to beat Celtic on our home turf of Dens Park.
Celtic were the reigning Scottish Champions and Scottish Cup winners and that season they had only been defeated a total of five times. However, at the beginning of the new campaign, they had lost the same number of matches since August.
Dundee’s start had also been indifferent. Our only wins so far were in the Skol Cup against QOTS and Falkirk before Rangers put us out of the competition and in the league, we had drawn our first three matches but were on a two-match losing streak going into this tie.
It’s hard to believe now that when Tommy Coyne hit the winner on the 28th minute to give the Dee their first victory that would also see the Dee move off second bottom and leapfrog the Glasgow club, that it would be our last success against them in the City of Dundee.
Tommy Coyne was Dundee’s top marksman the previous year with 37 goals with 33 of them coming in the league. He was the top scorer in Scotland and third in Europe but he had yet to find the net in seven appearances in 1988-89.
When interviewed during the week on the 22nd before this tie, Coyne said to the press regarding his goal drought, “If only I could get one goal. I wouldn’t mind even if it went off my back!”
It wouldn’t quite be that way but it was close as Coyne would net his first of nine goals that season before a £500,000 move to the opposition he would score the winner against.
Keith Wright dummied a pass from Wes Saunders, taking Lex Baillie right out the game and ran down the left wing before putting in a low cross which Coyne managed to connect with his thigh to guide it into the back of the net, passed Alan Rough in goal who was making his debut.
Since then, our record against Celtic at Dens has been P27 W0 D7 L20 F12 A51.
Can we banish the 30-year-old record on Sunday?
Celtic are on a nine-match unbeaten run whilst Dundee have only won once in fifteen attempts at home in the league this season. It looks grim when I point out that but as usual, I’ll go into this match with a dose of optimism.