That’s what football is all about for the supporter, isn’t it? Titles, trophies and prestige are sought, miscarried as often as they’re achieved, but the serotonin hit of a vital goal keeps the lot of us going back to watch the team intertwined with our heartstrings.

There’s no real end in sight. No big ultimate, conclusive trophy to signal the end of football and resign clubs, players and fans to being winners or losers forever but things can change. The unexpected happens. The impossible can suddenly become possible. It was Celtic’s own Neil Lennon who, after Leicester City won the English Premier League in 2015, proffered live on the airwaves, “They were 5000 to one to win the league at the start of the season? I mean, what were the odds on that.”

We remember exactly where we were for such moments. The universal phrase aligns footballing magnitudes to what happened at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, on November 22nd 1963 and how anyone of school age should be able to implicitly recall where they were told, by a family member, friend or newsreader, that the President of the United States had been shot.

Hyperbole and football go hand in hand. Of course, no goal ever scored by Celtic or any club in the world, even Stevie Chalmers’ in Lisbon, can be scribbled on the same level of the Richter-scale as JFK’s death. But, in our each separate worlds where we are the main characters in our own stories, seismic occasions defining the fortunes of our football clubs, and therefore us, are our JFK moments.

For Celtic supporters, Tom Rogic and Tony Watt’s goals - you know the ones - are examples plucked from the last decade. Henrik Larsson’s winner against Boavista is another stretching back eight years – I know – further. The road to Seville produced more than one, though. Victories against Blackburn, Celta Vigo and Stuttgart were memorable in their own rights: Graeme Souness didn’t return well with his Rovers, Vigo were dispatched to become the first Spanish side Celtic had knocked out of European competition and an epic 5-4 aggregate victory over the Germans saw Celtic progress to the quarter-finals, where Liverpool lay in wait. The first-leg in Parkhead ended 1-1, meaning Liverpool hosted the second-leg with a slender advantage because of the now-defunct away goals rule.

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Alan Thompson’s clever free-kick, under the Liverpool wall, on the stroke of half-time cancelled it out and put Celtic ahead in the tie. Another goal for the Glaswegian visitors and Liverpool would need three of their own on the night.

John Hartson was a thunderous centre-forward for Celtic. Six feet tall and with supreme strength held in his stocky stature, defenders had a hard time stopping him in his tracks. The Welsh international signed a few months after Martin O’Neill secured his treble, adding a bit more power to the already frightening strike force of Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton. Three wasn’t a crowd though, with O’Neill utilising them all to pretty much maximum effect for the next three seasons.

In Hartson’s second one, he played a crucial role on Celtic’s Road to Seville. His away goal in Vigo proved to be the difference between the sides and kept Celtic in European competition after Christmas for the first time since 1980. Despite the importance of that goal, it pales in comparison to the 81st-minute lightning bolt produced from a single clap of that thunderous right leg, which left Celtic fans falling over each other in Anfield’s away end.

Celtic Way: Hartson scored a vital goal in VigoHartson scored a vital goal in Vigo

“It’s the best goal I ever scored,” Hartson told the Celtic Way. “I scored more than 200 in my career, 110 of them at Celtic, but most of them were in the box. I’d get on the end of crosses, roll a defender or be in the right place at the right time.

“We were holding on at that point in the Liverpool game. They’d missed a few chances, they only needed one to take it to extra-time. Lenny gave me the ball and I had time to turn, Sami Hyypia pressed me but he was too late. I’d played against him a few times and scored against Finland for Wales, so I wasn’t scared of him. I took the ball in, played a one-two with Henrik and sidestepped Didi Hamann.

“Stan Petrov was to my right, screaming for the ball and nine times out of 10 I’d have passed it and then ran into the box, but my instinct told me to just hit it.

“I didn’t try to aim for the corner or be too precise, I just hit it as hard as I could and it flew off my boot. Jerzy Dudek had no chance, he got a hand to it but that’s because the ball was heading past him by the time he dived for it. It is a moment I will never forget. The Celtic fans behind the goal went absolutely crazy.

“Limbs” is the fashionable term these days to describe the ensuing bedlam. That goal confirmed Celtic’s passage into the semi-final and not only did they know it, so did Liverpool. They had their own potent forward pair in Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, supported by a certain Steven Gerrard, but had failed to find a way past Joos Valgaeren, Bobo Balde, Johan Mjallby and Rab Douglas. The likelihood of them netting thrice in just more than half a dozen minutes was more impossible than improbable.

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“It knocked the stuffing out of them,” Hartson continues. “The wind was totally out of their sails after it. They had hope at 1-0, but that killed it. They knew we’d done a job on them.

“The atmosphere was incredible and the game was really tight. I actually felt I should have done better with a header in the first half, but the lads defended strongly against a good team, remember they won a knockout treble in 2001! We weren’t intimidated though.

“Celtic fans were all over the ground, popping up like meerkats in the home end. The away end was mobbed but they were everywhere and we could see them. Everyone’s faces when I ran to the away end after the goal, God, it was just incredible.

“We’d gone to Liverpool, with all their history, put them out and all of a sudden we’re one tie from the final.”

Celtic Way:

For Hartson, the game held extra significance on top of the importance of the occasion. As an attacking youth player in Wales, not far from Merseyside, there was only one hero he wanted to emulate.

“Ian Rush was my idol growing up,” Hartson explains. “Liverpool were my team, so I was really looking forward to the game for that reason too. I was a massive Rush fan, he was a superstar and I wanted to do what he did – score goals at Anfield.

“I scored against my boyhood club at their own stadium in a European quarter-final, you don’t really get to do that in your life. I eventually got to play with Ian as well for Wales towards the end of his career and he was fantastic with me. We remain good friends.

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“At that point actually, our attack reminded me of what Wales had in the 80s. With Larsson, Sutton and I there had to be a way to play all three of us. With Wales, we had Rush of Liverpool or Juventus, Mark Hughes of Barcelona or Man Utd and Dean Saunders who was always scoring goals.

“My parents were at the game as well, they’d made the trip from Bangor and it was nice for them to see their son score against the team he grew up supporting.

“Four days before the game, I missed a penalty against Rangers with the last kick of the League Cup final, so maybe the football Gods were on my side that night. I was absolutely ecstatic.

“I scored in a Cup Winners’ Cup final for Arsenal against Real Zaragoza, scored winners against Rangers, scored in the English Premier League, scored winning goals for Wales, including one against Scotland, but that night in Liverpool, wow.

“I’ve never felt a rush like it on a football pitch.”

Celtic Way: Hartson scored nine times against Rangers during his time at CelticHartson scored nine times against Rangers during his time at Celtic

Hartson was able to tell in the immediate aftermath something epic had happened, but with the adrenaline, the atmosphere and ten important minutes to see through, there’s no room for self-indulgence or distractions on the pitch.

It’s not until the bus is leaving Anfield and the heart returns to being a fairly normal metronome that the enormity of his strike sinks in.

“That’s when it probably digests,” he said. “The boys congratulate you in the shower but you’re still buzzing at that point. When we’re leaving the stadium and you’re looking at it, you just think 'I’ve just scored from 25 yards in there to seal our place in the UEFA Cup semis’. I very quickly became aware it was a special moment because my phone used to get texts from people I didn’t know, and all they said was, ‘Liverpool.’ That’s all. People would walk past me in the street and just say, ‘Liverpool’.

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“It was a once in a lifetime moment for me. I scored 110 goals for Celtic, nine against Rangers, including four consecutive derby winners, but everyone talks about that one. I think everyone remembers where they were, what pub they were in, whose house they were in, who they were with and in what corner of the world. Every Celtic fan old enough to remember it, remembers it clearly.”

You’re thinking about it right now, aren’t you? You know fine well where you were at around 9.45pm on Thursday, March 13th 2003. Everyone knows how the road to Seville ended, but Celtic fans will never forget the BBJ moment. Big, bad John’s stunner at Anfield.