Paul McStay had joined Celtic on 20th February 1981 and over a 16-year career made 509 appearances with 72 goals to his name.
On this day in 1995, he was honoured by Celtic with a testimonial match against Manchester United and 37, 306 turned up to pay tribute to the midfielder. The Celtic side on the night was Kerr, Vata, McKinlay, McNamara, McKay, O’Donnell, Donnelly, McStay, Van Hooijdonk, Walker and Collins. Before the match got under-way, faxes of congratulations were read out over the loudspeaker system from Kenny Dalglish, Alex McLeish and Ally McCoist; and the start was further delayed as the Celtic and United stars brought their children on to the field to share the moment.
Unfortunately, a few United stars were unable to play for one reason or another – Giggs, Irwin, Cantona, Pallister and Schmeichel – but Alex Ferguson still put out a strong side. However, the Celtic eleven, under the direction of Tommy Burns, started the better of the two and van Hooijdonk opened the scoring in 13 minutes. Paul Scholes got the equaliser shortly afterwards when Steve Bruce nodded down a corner from Lee Sharpe.
In 65 minutes, Celtic went ahead again with a strong strike again from van Hooijdonk and six minutes from time, substitute Chris Hay – on for Phil O’Donnell – chipped in Celtic’s third.
NB On the night, Manchester United wore their recently advertised grey strip. Unfortunately, this proved very unpopular and was dropped after another couple of matches.
NB2 Rudi Vata was possibly the first Albanian to play in British football when he joined Celtic from Dinamo Tirana in 1992 for a fee of around £200,000.