Albert Kidd will celebrate with Celts as a hero of ’86

AMONGST Celtic supporters, Albert Kidd is probably the most-loved player never to have actually worn the green and white Hoops.

His two goals for Dundee on the final day of the 1985/86 season gave his side a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Dens Park. More importantly, it delivered the league title to Celtic.

The Hoops were playing St Mirren at Love Street while their nearest title challengers, Hearts, were in Dundee, aiming for the solitary point which would deliver the first league title to Tynecastle since 1960.

The task facing Davie Hay’s side was a monumental one – they had win by at least three clear goals and hope that Hearts lost. And while the Hoops did their job, racing into a 5-0 lead after just 54 minutes, all ears were pressed to transistor radios reporting on proceedings at Dens Park.

The Celtic fans may not have made much of the Dundee substitution on 61 minutes which saw Tosh McKinlay replaced by Albert Kidd, but when the substitute fired home on 83 minutes, it was a goal that provoked a myriad of emotions – joy amongst the Dundee support, despair from the Hearts fans and ecstasy at Love Street.

Just for good measure, Kidd scored another goal four minutes later and the celebrations in Paisley began in earnest as Davie Hay’s side celebrated an unlikely but memorable title triumph.

So when Celtic FC Foundation decided to organise a special event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1986 title triumph, it was only right that, alongside the hooped heroes of ’86, Albert Kidd and some of his Dundee team-mates will be there to commemorate a unique success.

The former Dundee striker, who has lived in Australia, will be back in Scotland in May, and is looking forward to the night.

“It’s nice to be remembered, especially being a Celtic supporter,” Albert Kidd told the official Celtic website. “To score the goals on that day was great. I was jumping through hoops – it was a good day for me and even more so because Celtic won the league.

“I played in the Kenny Dalglish pro-am at Cathkin Braes the following Monday and I remember Roy Aitken and Danny  McGrain sprinting towards me over one of the practice putting greens while I was getting ready to tee off, and jumping on me and thanking me for what I’d done.”

While the focus for most of Scottish football on Saturday, May 3, 1986 was on the destiny of the title, the Dundee players still had a chance of qualifying for Europe, if they beat Hearts and Rangers lost to Motherwell.

Regardless of the hype surrounding the game, the Dundee players still had to go out and do their job, and Albert Kidd was desperate to play his part.

“I had knocked on the manager’s door on the Friday and said to him that I had a good track record against Hearts, and that I should be considered for the game,” he said. “That’s what led him to put me on the bench, otherwise I never would have been playing because I had a poor season, for many reasons.

“So when I got the call, it was just a case of it’s the last game of the season. I knew Celtic were going to beat St Mirren and I had one eye on that, but I didn’t even think I was going to get on and all of a sudden, I got the chance.

“I think Tosh took a wee knock so he had to come off and the manager put me on with about half-an-hour to go, and the rest is history… It was a good day.

“I had a high regard for Davie Hay, too, who was my assistant manager when I was at Motherwell. So I was really delighted for Davie to win the league.”

Over the years, despite living most of that time in Australia, Albert Kidd is aware of the significance of his goals in Celtic’s history. He is a supporter, after all, and his fellow Hoops fans are always delighted to remind him of his goalscoring exploits and thank him for what he did.

“Even now, 30 years later, I’ll be sitting in the pub and some guy will come across and say, ‘God bless you, wee man,’ and put a pint down for me. Both my sons ask me, ‘What’s that all about, Dad?’, and I say to them, ‘It’s a long story.

“It was a huge thing, and the people I’ve met over the years who want to talk about it, is incredible. It’s nice and humbling.

“I come back to Scotland every year, but it will be nice to be back for this celebration, and it’s great that it will also be a night for charity too.”

You can celebrate the ‘Heroes of ‘86’ at a special event in the Kerrydale Suite at Celtic Park on Sunday, May 1 in the company of some of the men who won the title for the Hoops that season, including Albert Kidd and some of his Dundee team-mates.

Tickets for ‘The Heroes of ‘86’ are priced at £400 for a table of 10 or £40pp and are available now from Celtic FC Foundation on tel: 0141 551 4373 or email: [email protected]

Sponsorship opportunities are also available on request