After suffering the indignity of seeing their heroes beaten in the second round of the Cup Winners’ Cup of 1980 by a little-known side called Politechnica Timisoara, then watching them lose 2-1 to Juventus in the first round of the European Cup in 1981, Celtic fans were hoping for better luck in 1982. However, when the first round draw paired the Hoops with mighty Ajax, even the most fervent supporter must have felt that another early exit might have been on the cards.
However, on the 15th September 1982, in front of a crowd of 56,229 at Parkhead, goals from Charlie Nicholas ( penalty) and Frank McGarvey gave Celtic a very creditable 2-2 draw with their highly-rated opponents.
Two weeks later, on this day in 1982, with nearly 65,000 watching, the Celtic players were asked to come up with a minor miracle and did just that. After a fine move involving Paul McStay, Graeme Sinclair and Frank McGarvey, a swerving shot by Charlie Nicholas gave Celtic the lead in 33 minutes; in the 65th minute, Vanenburg squeezed the ball past Pat Bonner from 12 yards to give the Dutch champions an equaliser.
But Celtic were not to be denied. With barely two minutes remaining, substitute George McCluskey took a pass wide on the left, raced into the box and fired a low shot under Ajax keeper Schrijvers to give Celtic a well- deserved victory.