Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Arsenal v Celtic: Classic battles of Britain

Anglo-Scottish footballing rivalries will be renewed later this month when Arsenal and Celtic clash in a two-legged play-off to reach the Champions League group stage.

Tony Mowbray's Celtic, following their victory over Dinamo Moscow earlier this week, face the daunting task of facing an Arsene Wenger side desperate to avoid another trophyless campaign.

Here we recall some of the previous 'Battle of Britain' encounters played out on European football's biggest stage.

1969-70 European Cup, semi-final - Leeds 0 Celtic 1, Celtic 2 Leeds 1

Celtic reached their second European Cup final in three years after the champions of England and Scotland clashed over two legs. George Connelly got the Hoops off to the perfect start at Elland Road with a strike in the opening minute. Billy Bremner silenced a crowd of over 130,000 at Parkhead by levelling the tie in the second leg but Celtic responded and eased their way into the final — which they lost to Feyenoord — thanks to goals from John Hughes and Bobby Murdoch.

1992-93 European Cup, second round - Rangers 2 Leeds 1, Leeds 1 Rangers 2

Rangers claimed the unofficial title of British champions when they outclassed Howard Wilkinson's Leeds home and away. Gary McAllister fired home a free-kick to give Leeds the upper hand at Ibrox but an embarrassing own goal from John Lukic levelled matters before Ally McCoist netted. The expected Leeds response at Elland Road failed to materialise and Rangers streaked into a two-goal lead, Mark Hateley scoring early on and McCoist again netting soon after, before Eric Cantona claimed a consolation.

2003-04 Champions League, group stage - Manchester United 3 Rangers 0

The gulf in class between the champions of England and the champions of Scotland was starkly underlined as United ran out comfortable winners at Old Trafford. Despite playing some good football under manager Alex McLeish, Rangers were totally outclassed on this occasion having lost narrowly to United in the first meeting at Ibrox just two weeks earlier. Diego Forlan's opener allied to a brace for Ruud van Nistelrooy secured three points which all but secured United's place in the last 16.

2006-07 Champions League, group stage - Celtic 1 Manchester United 0

United had looked on course for a valuable point from a goalless draw before Shunsuke Nakamura beat Edwin van der Sar with a superb free-kick to score the only goal of the game in the 81st minute. Celtic were knocked out after extra-time in the second leg of their last-16 clash against AC Milan, while United went on to reach the semi-finals before losing over two legs — also to Milan.

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