Another day, another set of European anniversaries to acknowledge as our mini series takes us back seven years to one of the most memorable nights in the Club’s history.
For it was on this day in 2013 that Celtic visited Solitude for a Champions League Second Qualifying Round clash that had necessitated the installation of additional seating, such was the incredible demand for tickets to see the Reds return to the competition following a 15 year absence.
After Kris Commons and Beram Kayal had threatened to break the deadlock, defender Mikael Lustig was the first name on the scoresheet with a 15th minute header from Commons’ corner delivery.
A fierce Georgios Samaras strike made it 2-0 before Commons – who had hit the post inside the opening two minutes – rattled the crossbar with a powerful attempt from distance.
Cliftonville were much improved after the interval with Stephen Garrett forcing goalkeeper Fraser Forster into action ahead of Joe Gormley seeing a shot charged down by Efe Ambrose.
Ciaran Caldwell and Barry Johnston were next to try their luck and, after Anthony Stokes became the latest Celtic player to be thwarted by the woodwork, Marc Smyth saw his close-range effort cleared off the line by Kelvin Wilson.
James Forrest surged through to make it 3-0 in the final 10 minutes, handing the Reds a monumental challenge for the sides’ return clash in Glasgow the following week.
Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, R Scannell, Johnston, Caldwell, McMullan, Garrett, Smyth, Catney, Gormley, Boyce.
Subs: Brown, Donnelly (for Caldwell), McNeill, O’Carroll (for Gormley), Seydak, Curran (for Garrett), Cosgrove.
Today also marks 12 years since Cliftonville suffered a heavy opening loss at the hands of Danish giants FC Copenhagen.
Played at Glenavon’s Mourneview Park home amid ongoing redevelopment work at Solitude, the UEFA Cup First Qualifying Round tie saw Hjalte Norregaard open the scoring after 25 minutes before the visitors exerted a firm grip on proceedings after the interval.
Jose Junior made it 2-0 with a well-taken finish and, after Zdenek Pospech had added his own name to the scoresheet, Junior’s spectacular second wrapped up a 4-0 success for the Danes.
Team: Connolly, Fleming, R Scannell, B Holland, O’Hara, Donaghy, M Holland, O’Connor, C Scannell, Catney, Smyth.
Subs: Murphy (for Smyth), Patterson (for O’Connor), O’Neill (for C Scannell).