"Unforgettable Celebration: Birthday Boy Roy's Night of Glory as 10 Men Secure the Championship!" - footballivenews
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“Unforgettable Celebration: Birthday Boy Roy’s Night of Glory as 10 Men Secure the Championship!”



The legendary Jock Stein had hinted to the Celtic faithful about the emergence of a “special talent” from their youth ranks, and that talent was the robust teenager Roy Aitken. Aitken, nicknamed ‘The Bear,’ made his debut at the age of 16, and from that moment, there was no looking back for him.

As Roy Aitken celebrates his 65th birthday, CQN commemorates the occasion with a passage from Celtic author Alex Gordon’s ‘The Awakening,’ published in 2013. One of Aitken’s most remarkable performances for Celtic was on May 21, 1979, when, under the management of Billy McNeill, a 10-man Celtic team secured a 4-2 victory over Rangers, clinching the club’s 31st title in its illustrious history.

At the age of 20, Aitken scored the team’s first goal and delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance, solidifying his status as a club legend. Alex Gordon vividly describes the intense atmosphere at Parkhead that night, where a capacity crowd of 52,000 witnessed a thrilling spectacle unfold.

The match took a dramatic turn as Celtic found themselves a goal down early on, and tensions escalated with Johnny Doyle’s red card, reducing Celtic to ten men. However, Aitken’s heroic surge forward resulted in a goal, equalizing the score. The game continued at a punishing pace, with Celtic eventually taking the lead, only for Rangers to equalize once more.

The climax came with George McCluskey scoring, and then Murdo MacLeod’s late, spectacular goal sealed the victory. The Celtic crowd erupted in joy, celebrating the extraordinary comeback against their arch-rivals. McNeill, overwhelmed with pride, described the match as incredible and highlighted the exceptional achievements of his ten-man team.

The night remains etched in Celtic history as one of the most memorable and thrilling encounters in the fierce Old Firm rivalry.

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