Article first published in The Press and Journal on February 9, 2000 and was written by Dave Edwards.
Caley Thistle last night pulled off the biggest Scottish Cup shock since Jock Wallace’s Berwick dumped Rangers out of the competition in 1967.
Steve Paterson’s Inverness men, heroes all, humbled £17million worth of Celtic talent.
Goals from Barry Wilson, an own goal from Lubomir Moravcik and a second-half Paul Sheerin penalty earned Caley Thistle a fourth-round tie at home to Aberdeen, who beat St Mirren 2-0 at Pittodrie.
Former Celtic player Charlie Christie marked an emotional return to Parkhead by just edging out keeper Calder for the man-of-the-match award.
At the final whistle the Caley Thistle players raced to greet their 4,000 fans in the Lisbon Lions stand, while green and white scarves rained down on to the Celtic Park playing surface.
As expected, Celtic created the bulk of the early openings.
Moravcik collected a loose ball on the edge of the box, swivelled and lashed a drive only inches over in the fifth minute.
Caley Thistle keeper Jim Calder then had to look smart to get down to another Moravcik effort.
In swirling sleet, Eyal Berkovic slid the ball to Moravcik after 13 minutes, but his cross was just behind Mark Burchill and the Scotland striker hooked the ball over the top.
But it was Caley Thistle, 18-1 outsiders with bookmakers before kick-off, who stunned the huge Celtic support in 16 minutes with a tremendous Wilson header for the opener.
Sheerin fired a near-post cross from the left and Wilson’s powerful header sailed over Gould and into the net.
The Caley Thistle players were still celebrating that opening goal when Mark Burchill pulled Celtic level within 60 seconds.
He first tried to find Mark Viduka, but a break of the ball gave him a second chance and he found the time and space to drill low past Calder.
That looked to signal the end of Caley Jags hopes of a shock win but the speed of Celtic’s response was to prove misleading as they continued to lack composure at the back.
Caley Thistle were lively on the break and Jonathan Gould needed to be alert to deny Michael Teasdale from scoring via a close-range header on 22 minutes.
The warning went unheeded and just two minutes later Caley Thistle restored their lead.
Mann’s header from a Sheerin corner kick was turned past Gould by his own player, Moravcik.
The jeers echoed around the stadium as Celtic’s frayed nerves made clear an upset was a genuine possibility.
Berkovic set up Mahe, who burst through the Caley Jags defence and unleashed a 25-yard rocket, which Calder brilliantly touched on to the post.
Barnes made a bold switch at half-time as he pulled off leading scorer Viduka and brought on Ian Wright to partner Burchill.
But Celtic’s plight worsened on 56 minutes when a needless push on Wilson by Blinker produced a penalty that Sheerin converted by sending Gould the wrong way to make it an astonishing 3-1.
Now Celtic knew they were in huge trouble, but veteran keeper Calder was proving defiant.
There was a lifeless feel to Celtic’s play, but Celtic persisted in going forward – Wright playing in Burchill only for Calder to block at point-blank range.
In the closing stages the Inverness fans added insult to injury by chanting “We want four” – which was about the number of Celtic fans left in the stadium.
Paterson: It was no fluke
Celtic tumbled to one of the most humiliating defeats in their history last night but Caley Thistle boss Steve Paterson insisted: “This was no fluke.”
The Bhoys were comprehensively beaten by the side from the Highlands who have been in existence for only five years.
Paterson said: “The players were magnificent. The players deserved to win on the night – there is no question about that.
“It was an unbelievable occasion and a magnificent day for the club. I think this is the moment Inverness arrived in Scottish football.
“I’m so proud of my players. We did everything we set out to do in the 90 minutes, showing so much passion and enthusiasm. It was just great to watch.
“Considering that nine of my players came from Highland League football and many people said they wouldn’t even hack life in the Third Decision we did all right.
“This is the pinnacle of my managerial career.”
When asked if he would be giving the squad a day off today, Paterson joked: “We probably won’t be back in time to do that.”
Caley Thistle striker Charlie Christie added: “It’s absolutely tremendous. We had 4,000 fans make the trip down here, it cost them a lot of money. But it is the biggest night in the club’s five-year history. We have done the Highlands proud.”
Jubilant Caley Jags keeper Jim Calder said: “I never thought in my wildest dreams that we could beat Celtic.
“Six weeks ago I was almost transferred to my local Grantown junior side Strathspey Thistle, but I’m really glad that Steve Paterson phoned up that night and stopped the deal.”
Paul Sheerin, who slotted in the penalty kick to make it 3-1, admitted to being apprehensive before facing Celtic keeper Jonathan Gould.
Sheerin said: “It was a bit scary taking a penalty kick in front of 34,000 fans.
“I was extremely nervous when I ran up to take the kick but was delighted to hit the back of the net.
“Obviously you want to come and win the game, but I didn’t think that we would.
“The gaffer even had to calm us down a wee bit when we went in 2-1 up at half-time, but we went out and played equally as well in the second half.”
Sheerin added: “We’ll be looking for a wee bit of revenge against Aberdeen in the next round as they knocked us out of the League Cup last season.”
Barnes: I stay on
Celtic coach John Barnes last night hinted at an astonishing half-time bust-up with Mark Viduka during his side’s shock Scottish Cup exit to Caley Thistle.
After his team slumped to a woeful, third-round home loss, Barnes insisted he will see the job out – but by revealing his fall-out with Viduka, severe questions will now be asked.
Viduka was replaced at the interval, despite being the Parkhead club’s leading scorer, and Ian Wright came on in his place.
When asked why Viduka was withdrawn, Barnes said last night: “We had a bit of a problem which we will deal with internally.
“In the coming days we will have more to say about that. There was a situation so there is no real point hiding that fact.
“It will all come out in the next few days. I don’t want to say very much now. I want to focus on what a disappointing performance this was overall.
“It was a serious situation and there will be meetings about it in the coming days. After that we’ll issue a statement.”
Viduka has emerged as Celtic’s most influential player since Henrik Larsson broke a leg and the Australian striker has already been linked with a possible move to either England or Spain.
Barnes admitted for the first time last night his position will be in serious doubt unless results improve by the end of what is proving a nightmare campaign.
He added: “To be honest, if the situation does not improve by the end of the season, I won’t have to consider my situation, it will be done for me.
“Right now, however, I’m not considering my position because I still feel we have a lot to play for, even so I’m not belittling the magnitude of this disaster.”