My Favourite Kit: Celtic 1987-89

Ollie Irish

8th, December 2010


By Tony Cottam

The first time you go to watch football live, it makes an indelible impression on your mind; the size of the ground, the noise of the crowd, the smell of the pies… well, maybe not the smell of the pies. The thing that grabbed me most? It was the sparkling kits.

Pre-1987, Celtic kits had stirred in me feelings similar to that I have about sliced white bread – you know it’s there, but you don’t pay much attention to it.

The problem with the Celtic home kit is the famous hoops themselves. There’s not much you can do with them without causing uproar amongst the hardcore faithful (see 1991-93 and the Peoples sponsored-shirt featuring – the horror! – a red logo for evidence of that) and well, to my eyes they just look untidy.

That was until the glorious centenary season of 1987-1988. Rangers had swept to the forefront of Scottish football with their new player/manager/thug Graeme Souness and policy of signing anything English that moved.

Celtic had slumped into second place, and with the 100-year birthday party coming, this wouldn’t do. Billy McNeill returned as manager; money was spent on Joe Miller, Andy Walker, and the one and only Frank McAvennie amongst others. Being a Celtic fan was fun again.

Frank McAvennie wearing Celtic’s centenary kit

Amidst all the happenings on the field a new badge was commissioned, featuring a Celtic cross instead of the familiar shamrock. It featured prominently on the new kit, which to my eyes, looked amazing. Clean and simple, classic green-and-white hoops with a subtle (for Umbro, anyway) square pattern in the material. The kit looked sharp.

The sponsors name of CR Smith was printed onto a white hoop and actually fitted – a pleasant departure from the previous white-patch-sewn-onto-a-green-hoop approach. For me, it just looked right.

Of course, the team that wore the kit also made the memories sweeter. I can still list the first XI from that season – Bonner, Morris, Rogan, Aitken, McCarthy, Whyte, Miller, McStay, McAvennie, Walker and Burns – as if they were playing tomorrow.

The team had heart and passion and fought for everything. I remember so many last-minute winners in that centenary season, and it’s always the same flash of green-and-white wheeling away in celebration that sticks in my mind.

Buy the shirt online

More in the fav kits series (home kit unless otherwise stated):

Real Madrid, 2002

Arsenal 2002-04

Denmark 1986

Juventus 1995-96 (away)

Man Utd 1994-96

Cameroon 1990

Tottenham 1986-87 (third kit)

Nottm Forest 1992-94

Argentina 1986

Inter 1980s

Tottenham 1985 (as worn by Maradona)

Man Utd 1993-95 (away)

Newcastle United 2005-07

West Brom 1977-81

Man City 1998-99 (third kit)

Liverpool 1996-97 (away)

England 1990

Leicester City 1983-84

Barcelona 2008-09

If you have an all-time favourite kit and would like to contribute to this series, please let us know:

Posted in Featured, Kits & fashion, Retro, Scottish football

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  1. Santi says:

    I have an inanimate object crush on anything Umbro. Nice kit.

  2. […] My Favourite Kit: Celtic 1987-89&#32&#194&#187 Who Ate all the Pies […]

  3. Dusty Mac says:

    Good article mate. But it’s a four leaf clover on the Celtic badge, not a shamrock. :)

    Personally, i think this season’s Hoops are sharp as!

  4. Todd says:

    No Peter Grant in the team; or Billy Stark!!? I think your memory is playing tricks on you :-)

    I still have my centenary year top :-)

  5. Juan says:

    Has it got Bloostains on it?

  6. Hey, Juan, the word is Bloodstains not ‘Bloostains’ and why are you using a CAPITAL LETTER……… you actually have a firm command of the English language, or no?

  7. Juan says:

    Anna, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and trust that you genuinely have no idea what “bloostained” refers to. The bigoted IRA loving conflicted Celtic fans recently held up a banner in protest at Celtic having poppies on the shirts for Armistice/Rememberance Day. In this ill advised banner contained a phrase from an IRA song and the words “no bloostained poppies on our hoops”…the morons couldn’t even spell their political banner.
    Thanks for your concern but it seems you are the one who doesn’t have a command of the English language. “or no?”

  8. mike says:

    The words come from a song commemerating the life of a great Scottish-irish hero who fought against injustice in his native land and the land of his forefathers, not an IRA song as James Connolly was not a member of the IRA. He wasn’t even alive when the IRA was created as he was murdered shortly after the Easter Rising shot in a chair with his wounds from the battle still bleeding and bare. Juan needs to learn some history before he goes and calls any songs about Ireland an IRA song.

  9. mike says:

    also dont understand how the banner was bigoted, nothing to do with religion, a statement against an action that most of the Celtic support did not agree with. The poppy is a divisive symbol, especially among a support with so many Northern Irish Catholics who have been abused by soldiers for years, the poppy commemerates the heros from World War II but it also commemerates the scum who served in Northern Ireland and killed hundreds of innocent civilians

  10. Juan says:

    Uh oh here come the permanently offended. To use the words Catholic and abuse in one sentence and for the next word not to be “child” is laughable.
    I never said the banner was bigoted either, you have introduced that concept here which is typical of a support who glorify terrorists and murderers then jump back in mock indignation when those nasty Rangers fans dare to be proud to be British. To answer your point about the song lyrics, why would I be interested in the History of Irish Republican “hero’s”? and what relevance does a song like that have at a game of football in Glasgow? The roots thing has been hijacked by morons who couldn’t point to Cork on a map and are a constant embarrassment to decent Irish folk who have been wronged and oppressed over the years but have the dignity and self respect to express their views in the proper manner and venue.

    I can see by your use of the word “scum” to describe British troops who risked their lives daily in Northern Ireland that you do not fall into the latter category.

  11. mike says:

    Juan your first sentence shows that clearly you are a bigot
    I do not believe you understand the significance of the word bigoted. A truly bigoted group would be the Orange Order, the Orange Order spreads hatred of Catholics just because they are Catholic. You may not agree that what the ira did was right but you cannot call them bigoted, they are open to any creed or nationality that wants a free ireland, it just so happens that most Catholics are nationalists, this is why the ira was a mostly Catholic organization.
    To answer your question you should be concerned about what happened during the Easter Rising because of the atrocities committed by the British soldiers involved, the same soldiers who the Poppy honors, why should a club with strong irish roots and a massive irish fanbase honor soldiers who fought against the ancestors of many Celtic supporters. More importantly the support would not have had to make a political demonstration if the board had not made a political statement by putting the poppy on the hoops.

    And finally what other word should i have used to describe the paratroopers who killed fourteen innocent protestors on Bloody Sunday, or those who killed countless Catholics for the crime of being catholic

  12. Juan says:

    Mike, you conveniently neglect to mention the thousands of British soldiers who fought for Queen and Country in two World Wars who also happened to be Catholic. You also neglect to mention the Celtic players who laid down their lives for Queen and Country in WWII..your view is so warped that you are unable to distinguish between perceived “atrocities” on “innocent” Catholics by British Soldiers and the true heroism that the poppy commemorates. It is universally accepted that the events of Bloody Sunday were negligent and in fact illegal but rather than allow the incident to be seen as the abomination that it was you choose to use it as a device to drive further division between the people. Quite apart from that you failed to answer the real key question here: What has an Irish “folk” song and Republican political protest got to do with a game of football in Glasgow?

    To label me a bigot because I dare to comment on the vile, institutional and well documented history of child abuse within the Catholic Church proves that your indoctrination has left you with the same victim complex that is widely displayed now by Celtic fans who accuse everybody out with their sphere of allegiance of bias and discrimination to the point where referees went out on strike amid threats to their families. Criticising the Catholic Church does no more make me a bigot that you a balanced open minded Celtic fan.

  13. mike says:

    i have no problem with an individual choosing to wear a poppy but it should not be forced upon the kit of any professional football teams especially not one with strong irish roots

    Yes many Celtic players and fans died during the World Wars I understand that, if the poppy was only in remembrance of the dead from these wars I would encourage all teams to wear it on their kits. Sadly this is not the case the poppy remembers the heroes from the world wars as well as those who killed innocents in Northern Ireland. And yes many irish Catholics did die in the first world war but they did not do so for Queen and country, they did so for a free Ireland that they were led to believe they would be given if they helped the British war effort.

    By your use of quotations I assume that you do not agree that those killed on Bloody Sunday had the right to protest and you do not believe that killing fourteen unarmed men was an atrocity, how about the shooting of Aidan Mcanespie another unarmed Catholic who was killed because of his religion. Or were the men who killed him heroes?

    You accuse me of driving a divide between people in Northern Ireland, I know you are very ignorant so I will point out a few quick facts. The British government is in fact responsible for the religious divide in Northern Ireland. The United Irishmen were a rebel group with almost exclusive Protestant leadership which drew the majority of its support from the Catholic peasants. The group launched a rising in 1798, After the failed uprising the British government started a smear campaign against the Catholics which is largely responsible for the antipathy that exists between Catholics and Protestants today.

    And finally the lyrics from an irish rebel song were appropriate on the banner because they draw attention to the atrocities committed by British soldiers in Ireland, the same atrocities which are the cause of many Celtic fans disdain for the poppy

    And yes you are a bigot because you feel the need to spew hatred on the sole basis of religion

  14. Juan says:

    Thanks for the history lesson Mike. I ask again what has all this got to do with a football game in Glasgow?

    Let’s just gloss over the hundreds of men,women and children murdered by the IRA while we’re at it. Your hatred for Britain and Britishness is plain for all to see, as is your indoctrination and rampant victim complex mentality no doubt assisted by years of devotion to a religion that is responsible for worldwide misery and bullying. Millions of deaths from HIV/AIDS,unwanted pregnancies and is accountable for over 10,000 victims of child sex abuse. This you cannot deny or defend.

    Incidentally as an Atheist I have disdain for all religions albeit my disgust with the Catholic Church ranks highest among them.

    Celtic’s militant political fan base is a permanent stain on Scottish Football and a constant embarrassment to decent football fans who are proud to be British and Scottish. Leave your political baggage at home to brainwash your children with and secure the next generation of conflicted bigot. You do know that segregating people especially school children according to creed or colour is akin to apartheid don’t you? Of course you do and it’s this division that allows the fervent promotion of bigotry and sectarianism in this country to repeat ad nauseum.

    I’d suggest looking forward and asking yourself what you can do to improve the situation rather than reach for the Irish History handbook and use it to spread hatred and resentment.

    I see still no answer on my original question, does this mean you cannot answer it?

  15. mike says:

    I have answered your question in all of my posts, the lyrics from the James Connolly song were used because they draw attention to the reasons behind the banner. The banner was made because of many Celtic fans disdain for the poppy and the imperialistic and militaristic practices it stands for. Was there another question I missed? If so please repost it.

    The history lesson has nothing to do with football it was used to refute your points which also had nothing to do with football.

    Your belief that Catholicism causes worldwide misery is truly sad, the good works of the church far far outweigh the bad and most Catholics I know are very happy people.

    And please explain what Celtic fans have done to disgrace Scottish football? Who do you support? I’m assuming that you are a rangers fan based upon your previous post. Rangers fans have done far more to drag Scottish football through the mud. I assume you know what happened in Manchester and also what happened in Romania when Rangers fans used missiles to attack policemen. You may be unfamiliar with what happened in Valencia this year so I will fill you in, Rangers fans urinated from the upper deck onto Valencia fans seated below them. When Valencia came to Scotland their team bus was stoned. Celtic fans on the other hand were the first fan base to receive the UEFA and FIFA fair play awards. Who is the stain on Scottish football again?

    Comparing segregated schools to apartheid is laughable, apartheid was forced separation enforced by a brutal government, segregated schools are the parents choice and not enforced by anyone. Also segregated schools have nothing to do with the bigotry that pervades Scottish society, they exist in many countries worldwide including the United States where anti-catholic bigotry barely exists. The reason behind the divide is the intolerance of the Scottish Protestant population which is very similar to the American protestant population circa 1850 when anti-Catholic sentiments were still very strong. If Scottish protestants can get over their petty hate like those in America did the divide will end.

    And again I feel that I must eradicate ignorance whenever I encounter it so I will talk about the IRA. The IRA was an organization which targeted the British military and Unionist paramilitary groups, they targeted no one based upon religion. The IRA did kill some innocents but these terrible tragedies were all accidents unlike the Protestant paramilitaries who would go into Catholic neighborhoods kidnap Catholics, torture them and then kill them for the crime of being Catholic. It is acknowledged by most authorities on the troubles that the formation of the IRA was inevitable due to the attacks of Unionist paramilitaries and the repressive nature of the government which stopped peaceful protests with violence.

    Please don’t tell me my points have nothing to do with football again when everything that you write has absolutely nothing to do with football.

  16. Juan says:

    Just another paranoid deluded Celtic fan with a chip on his shoulder who seeks nothing more than perpetuating the fallacy that anti-British sentiment displayed at a football match on British soil is acceptable.

    It is apparent by your use of the word “accident” to describe the murder of innocent men,women and children by a terrorist organisation that any attempt at rational discussion is futile. To also neglect to tackle the subject of the very real and significant threat that your religion has posed to innocent children for many years worldwide also shows me that you are beyond being able to accept any criticism of the Catholic Church. Was the Omagh bombing an accident? Furthermore how do you feel that a Catholic Priest was part of an IRA bombing cell?

    If you take a moment to reflect on the original point I’ve been making you will see that it hinges entirely on the relevance of Irish Republican politics and anti-British displays at a football match between two British clubs on British have continued to defend the actions of these morons who have been publicly condemned BY the club and broadly condemned in the media and across Britain. If you know anything about the society and culture we live in in West Central Scotland you must understand how irresponsible and inflammatory the actions of the Green Brigade were. People are free to express their views and protest in Britain but there is a time and a place for it and the already tense environment of Scottish Football is not it. The bigots have attached themselves to both Glasgow clubs and the sooner we are rid of these morons the better. Of course without feeding off a club the size of Celtic FC these people would be few in number and would be distant and low profile voices amongst the generally tolerant population.

    I am a proud Rangers fan interested in football and being entertained at the end of the week and I also have no time for loutish behaviour and violence such as the examples you have given to point score and deflect attention from the real issue here. Celtic and their support have become a dangerous and divisive entity who do nothing to move things forward with regards sectarianism instead we have apologists like yourself who seek to drag us all back to the dark ages.

  17. mike says:

    First off any display of anti-british sentiment anywhere is perfectly acceptable, its called freedom of speech.

    Thank you for asking your question about Omagh, it gives me the opportunity to give you another history lesson. Firstly the attack was not carried out by the IRA but by a splinter group opposed to the peace process. Secondly the perpetrators only wanted to target the courthouse which was a symbol of British authority, they parked a car with a bomb inside of it outside of the courthouse. They then placed three warning calls to attempt to guarantee that a minimum of innocent blood was shed. After the warnings had been placed the RUC evacuated people into the area the bombers had warned them that the bomb was placed. The bomb exploded soon afterwards killing many who should not have died and who the bombers had no intention of killing. Therefore I would consider the Omagh bombing an accident. A terrible tragedy, but an accident none the less.

    I am saddened that a Catholic priest was part of a bombing cell just as I am saddened that Ian Paisley a Protestant minister created three paramilitary groups which killed Catholics purely for being Catholic. There are bad men from every religion although you seem to think only Catholics are capable of doing wrong.

    Although the banner used words from an Irish Republican song there was nothing republican or anti-british in its message. The banner expressed disgust at the way british soldiers have acted in Ireland, no Republican message was stated on the banner. Secondly how does protesting make the Green Brigade anti-british?

    Yes the Green Brigade have been condemned by the English media, the same media which supports the Poppy so strongly every year. If you truly think the English media are objective then you are more of a fool than I believe you to be. You keep referring to the green brigade as bigots when nothing about the banner was even slightly bigoted.

    I was not trying to deflect attention away from the real issue, simply refuting a statement that had no basis in fact using the many facts I have at my disposal, plain and simple.

    Finally, I am not trying to drag anyone back to the dark ages, Rangers fans are already there. Lets get another quick history lesson shall we? I am sure you are aware of these facts already but I will point them out anyway. Rangers held a bigoted signing policy until 1989. This policy meant that Rangers did not sign an openly Catholic player from World War II until 1989. Rangers fans haven’t moved forwards since those days. After Rangers title win in 2009 twenty brave Rangers fans attacked a Catholic man and his wife in celebration. The man was killed and his wife, who was a Protestant was seriously injured. If you think Celtic are divisive what are Rangers? Or did that man deserve to die because he was a Catholic and a Celtic supporter? You claim that bigots attach themselves to both Glasgow clubs but clearly that is not the case the bigotry starts and ends with Rangers fc
    enough with the guilt by association.

  18. Juan says:

    To summarise:

    1)The IRA are nice boys.
    2)Celtic have no bigots within their support.
    3)Historical events are to be wheeled out every time someone dares to criticise Catholicism, Celtic, the IRA or anything remotely close to “home”.
    4)Terrorist bombs are “accidents”
    5)Any wrong doing by a Catholic or a Celtic fan (or both) is to be ignored and swept under the carpet
    6)Any wrong doing by Rangers fans and/or anyone who is NOT a Catholic are to be highlighted and used as ammunition to deflect from criticism.

    Do they teach this stuff in apartheid schools? Actually don’t answer that because it will surely only result in a tirade of spin and deflection that Alistair Campbell would be proud of.

    If you believe any of that or the other narrow minded hyperbole you have come out with then you are I fear even more deluded and backward than I first thought. It’s to be expected rational, reasoned adult would possibly accept the farcical supernatural mumbo jumbo you do and so the precedent is set for accepting any old nonsense that is force fed into your hate and guilt stuffed psyche.

    As some background information..I am a Rangers fan, an Atheist and (I believe so) an educated and enlightened man who despises the same aspects of my football club that you do. My partner and all her family are Catholic…her two children who I love and cherish like my own are Catholic and I will strive with my dying breath to shield them from the narrow minded and revisionist attitudes clearly on display here. I can only hope that our next generation do not have to drag with them the same baggage that I have had to shed as a young man growing up in a deeply divided society. I hope one day you will find that I am indicative of the vast majority of our support and come to realise that the responsibility for eradicating the deep rooted sectarian disease lies with those who seek to perpetuate it as way of settling old scores. Time to move on, which brings me back nicely to my original point. The display by the Green Brigade a month or so ago was cynically designed to inflame and exacerbate an already volatile situation. Football is no place for political demonstrations.

  19. mike says:

    1. when exactly did i call the IRA nice boys, I have not condoned or condemned their actions only stated historical facts which are well known.
    2. Can you show me a truly bigoted act committed by a large number of celtic supporters recently, I think not. And don’t try and tell me that the songs Celtic fans sing are bigoted because they aren’t, as I’ve already pointed out I do not believe you understand the word bigot.
    3. I am a student of history because knowing the past leads to a better future. If you are ashamed of the history of your club, as you should be, its not my problem.
    4. Some would dispute your classification of the IRA as terrorists. Secondly in reference to the Omagh bombing I do not see how it could be classified as anything other than an accident. The bombers had no intention of killing anyone, only causing property damage to a courthouse thus I would deem the unintentional loss of life an accident.
    5. where did you get that from?
    6. I see nothing wrong with using facts to refute your points, I understand that you do not like these facts but if you do not want them repeated to you then do not make points that have no basis in fact.

    I did not attend a segregated school, I went to an American public school and I see no reason to believe that segregated schools are a bad thing they are very common in many countries all across the world and as I have already stated they do not cause a divide in these countries. The divide in Scotland is largely due to groups such as the Orange Order whose mission is to fuel fear of Catholicism among the Protestant community.

    I haven’t said anything hateful in anyone of my posts, you on the other hand have spouted hate on numerous subjects including the Catholic Church and the football club which I love. You do not seem to understand that me giving you a history lesson is not spouting hate, rather I am educating you.

    I have not displayed any narrow minded views, you have when you criticized Celtic fans for making a peaceful protest and using their freedom of speech. So far your posts lead me to believe that you do not agree with the concept of free speech.

    Finally I do not understand how the display by the Green Brigade was intended to inflame, it was a protest against the wearing of the Poppy which most Celtic fans agreed should not be worn on the kit of our football club. Celtic Park is an appropriate venue for a protest against a decision made by the club whether you like it or not.

  20. Juan says:

    The Catholic Church does a good enough job of spreading fear of Catholics..especially amongst little boys who are no doubt mentally abused with tales of original sin and wrath should they not they allow themselves to be sickeningly abused by Priests.

    Have a nice Christmas Mike, I fear the New Year will only leave you lagging further behind the famous Glasgow Rangers.

  21. Joe says:

    Hey Juan your surname wouldnt happen to be Kerr would it?????

  22. Isaac Vivian Alexander says:

    Doubt it, but rather sounds like yours might be…

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