The record books show that Celtic won the 1985–86 Scottish Premier Division. The record book doesn;t tell the full story of that thrilling season.
On the final day of the season, Hearts were leading Celtic by two points – a draw against Dundee would have been sufficient to see them win their first League title since the 1959–60 season. Hearts lost 2–0 to Dundee at Dens Park thanks to two late goals by substitute Albert Kidd, while Celtic beat St Mirren 5–0 at Love Street. As a result, Celtic won the league on goal difference.
If Buzzfeed, the home of click-bait internet articles, wrote about it the headline would be “You won’t believe how Hearts lost the league!”
“AK86 – Two Shots in The Heart of Scottish Football” by Grant Hill chronicles the events leading up to and after the Dundee/St Mirren matches. Grant expertly and enjoyably details the games from both clubs fans/players perspective.
My worry before reading the book was that it might come across as a magazine article that has been overextended. Thankfully, I didn’t experience that. There is more than enough story, interviews, and background to keep the narrative flowing strongly.
Having it as a book allows for some fascinating details to emerge.
For example, did you know that Dundee FC had its own computer game called “Dundee’s European Challenge?” The most impressive aspect of this game was the ambition of the programmer. Dundee hadn’t been in Europe since 1974! It would be like Celtic bringing out a game called “Celtic’s Champions League Group Stage Challenge”
Back in 1986, there was no internet, sky sports news or even full TV coverage. A dispute between the SFA and broadcasters meant most of the games were not shown. The book reveals that one hearts fan had to phone from Australia on a Saturday night to get an update on his team because there was no other way he could find out how they had got on!
The book reveals how some players would go Geese shooting before training. Imagine the scandal if that occurred now. The book is loving ode to a bygone era. It’s a book that fans of any club can enjoy. I’d recommend it anyone who loves a good football tale.
It’s available on Amazon or ask your local bookshop to order one in.
What the book shows is that a smaller side can challenge for the league. If players love their manager, if they have good team spirit and an unchanging line-up then anything is possible. Maybe in 30 years time, Grant will write CR16 – you won’t believe how Leicester won the league!