THE SCORELINE said it all really: Celtic 5 Partizan Belgrade 4!

32 years ago, on an incredible night of European football Celtic somehow managed to crash out of the European Cup-Winners Cup on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw with Partizan Belgrade.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Celtic's Polish striker Dariusz Dziekanowski notched four goals on an unbelievable night of drama as the Glasgow side edged a nine-goal thriller. For those who witnessed the events, they still swear it is one of the most wonderful spectacles but ultimately heart-breaking games they have ever attended.

For the record the scoring went as follows: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3, 5-4!

On the night, Billy McNeill's side went through every gamut of emotion on an emotional rollercoaster ride in which Celtic had lost, lost, drawn, lost, lost, lost, won and then finally lost the tie over 90 pulsating minutes inside Paradise.

It was a match that was networked by BBC TV because English clubs were still serving a ban from European football. Even the great broadcaster Barry Davies positioned high above the Celtic Park stadium in the commentary box couldn't believe what he was seeing.

When Andy Walker put Celtic 4-3 ahead on the night and made it 5-5 on aggregate, Davies gleefully exclaimed: "It's gone in from Walker! This is unbelievable stuff. This is one of the most incredible European ties I have ever seen. Mind-boggling. You need a calculator to keep check of the score and a pacemaker to make sure you are alright."

Then when Dziekanowski made it 5-3 to Celtic and they were to all intents and purposes through, Davies remarked sagely: "It is the stuff of dreams for Celtic but the thing is the dream has so often been interrupted by a nightmare."

The match ball may have belonged to Pole star Dziekanowski - affectionately known as Jacki - but the glory most certainly didn't. Although his four-goal haul is still spoken about fondly to this day by those of a Celtic persuasion. The man himself admits that the Partizan Belgrade match remains a special memory from his three season Celtic career.

Jacki said: "I can't believe it is 32 years ago that I scored those four goals for Celtic. It was a special night for me but not really for Celtic and their supporters as we did not go through to the next round. That was a real shame.

"I was happy personally but I could not be 100 per cent happy about what happened that night. The noise was fantastic and it was an incredible night.

"We were hanging on at 5-3 and I remember the bench saying, 'just kick the ball into the corner' and waste time but Celtic wanted to attack, attack, attack all the time. At 5-3, I had a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper and I didn't score. I could have had five goals.

"It was unbelievable, not many games in world football have nine goals. One minute we were so up and then we came crashing back down to earth. That night of football Celtic experienced an incredible high followed by a devastating low in an instant.

"I was very pleased with my performance against Partizan Belgrade. I had a good feeling for myself but I was bitterly disappointed for the team. The Celtic supporters still talk to me about that night whenever I am in Glasgow.

"My heart still lies with Celtic and always will. The Celtic fans are wonderful with me and they are so passionate and they always made me feel at home. When I came from Scotland to Poland, I did not really know how big Celtic was. We knew all about English football but not so much about Scottish football. I learned very quickly that Celtic was a massive football club.

"I also scored a very lucky goal in my first derby against Rangers which the fans enjoyed and took me to their hearts right away for doing that. It was pure luck as it bounced in off my knee but I wasn't complaining. I loved my time at Celtic and I would do it all over again given the chance."

Celtic Way:

Jacki's strike partner was Andy Walker who bagged the other counter.

Walker reckons basic naivety cost Celtic that night against a Partizan Belgrade side who were bossed by Ivan Golac. He would go on to guide Dundee United to Scottish Cup glory in 1994.

Gordan Petric who would sign for the Tangerines and then Rangers later on in his career was in the Partizan defence and the scorer of the killer fourth goal was Sladan Scepovic whose son Stefan Scepovic would put pen to paper for Celtic some 25 years later.

Walker revealed that Jacki was an extremely talented individual but was a bit of a showman as a player and that he liked to take the mickey rather than score goals.

And he insists that even he stood incredulously as Northern Irish full-back Anton Rogan chased the SIXTH goal as the clock wound down.

Walker said: "It is amazing to think that the Partizan Belgrade game was so long ago. Jacki was the top man that night for Celtic with the four goals.

"When I look back, Celtic had no European pedigree we did not know how to get through two-legged affairs. We had gone to Belgrade and lost 2-1 and to score an away goal was a massive thing for us back then.

"We played Honved in Europe and we got information that the two full-backs were slow and could be pinned back by Chris Morris and Anton Rogan. Within 20 minutes big Roy was reorganising everything because the full-backs were the quickest things we'd ever seen!

"That shows you the naivety at times with Celtic heading into European ties. The Partizan Belgrade game was a typical example of that.

"Nobody really saw much European football at that time except the European Cup final when it was shown on TV. There was not the fine detail that goes into any European matches or preparation now.

"Back then teams were just drawn against whoever in a two-legged European tie and you took your chance against them. 

"It was great to play in Europe and even better to score a goal and Jacki was sensational that night. He set my goal up as well. It was 5-3 to Celtic and the ball went out at the dug-out side of the ground and Anton Rogan was chasing it and sprinting down the touchline to take a quick throw-in because he felt that we could get another goal.

"We were through at that point. That was how naive we were and there was not a great deal of discipline that night. Even the way we lost the last goal, we were exposed as there were no bodies back at all. We were just a naive team.

"I played alongside Jacki in attack and both of us were still on the pitch at the end of the game as there was no attempt to kill time and make a substitution to shore things up and keep what we had at 5-3 with a couple of minutes to go.

"Celtic did not put another defender or defensive midfielder on to see the game out and when we moved forward we were trying to score! That was just the way we played and every time we rampaged forward we tried to score.

"The game has changed so much now that you can enjoy possession, move it around at the back, drop off and let the opposition have the ball. Our game was for Jacki and myself to close down at all times and for Mikey Galloway and Paul McStay to do the same in the midfield.

"Jacki was one of the most skilful players I have played alongside and he got a real kick out of beating players and being skilful and showing off his talents. He didn't get a kick out of scoring goals strangely enough and I know that seems a daft thing to say.

"Jacki was more interested in his own level of performance and I remember asking big Billy why we signed Jacki because he only played for himself and that we were supposed to be a partnership.

"Don't get me wrong, Jacki wasn't lazy or anything but he would just ask for the ball so he could do a trick. He was a great individual footballer. The Partizan Belgrade game was to be his never-to-be-forgotten moment in a Celtic jersey."

Celtic Way:

Paul Elliott featured that night in only his second game for the club. It was a memorable European night, showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly of Celtic.

Elliott said: "This was only my second game and I saw the great and the madness of Celtic encapsulated in that 90 minutes. The great in terms of the support and the Celtic culture which was just gung-ho.

"I could not believe that I was playing centre-back and both my full-backs and the other centre-half were down the pitch when we were 5-3 up. This was utter madness.

"I saw Jacki score four goals in a performance that I will never see again in my life. That night and that game epitomised the Celtic footballing culture.

"We just had to be tactically smart, more aware, more disciplined and we would have gone through. We were comfortable at one point and we were still trying to chase the game. There were big gaps in our defence and we had to be more sensible and switched on. It was an unbelievable lesson.

"Partizan weren't good enough to play through us. They just exploited us so much on the counter-attack and I have never played in a team that got done by that tactic so many times in the one game.

"It was a whirlwind and I remember sitting in the dressing room afterwards thinking: "What the bloody hell is going on here?"

"The Celtic supporters were still clapping and cheering and it was a marvellous game for the neutral but for me professionally it was a poor game because we should have been more tactically street smart and disciplined which we weren't."

An interesting footnote is that composer James McMillan wrote his piano concerto 'The Berserking' in homage and response to this incredible football match.

As McMillan himself explained: "My piano concerto 'The Berserking' came about in response to this game, and I am proud to say is the only piano concerto in the history of classical music to be inspired by the away-goals rule."

McMillan may have struck all the right keys but it was Celtic who exited European competition on a bum note and had to face the music.

The question still remains 32 years later.


Or as they say in Poland - why?