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Man Utd 3-4 Celtic

I have never before felt like an away fan at Old Trafford, until last night that is. Anyone at Ryan’s testimonial knows that there were far more than the official allocation of 16,000 Celtic fans there. The whole City was painted green and white, every bar and pub had Irish flags hanging outside, and the noise they generated was immense.

Arriving at the ground it was already evident that it was going to be a special night. Celtic fans were so excited about their chance to play the reds, and United fans were desperate to get a glimpse of the two new signings.

Ten minutes before kick off most reds were still outside the stadium, but the Celtic end was packed full and producing a barrage of sound. Their spectacular rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone was far more impressive than any Scouse attempt, and despite the booing from many reds, it was clear to most that this was a Celtic song long before the Scousers typically stole it.

The game itself was memorable; strange for a testimonial. United were obviously jet lagged from the Far East and the game was far more important to Celtic who needed to get ready for their up and coming European ties. Celtic took their chances well and deserved their goals, but overall the result was not important. United fans could not help but be impressed by every single touch of Van Nistelrooy who looks set to be a superb player. Veron was less consistent but showed touches of brilliance and anyone who saw his goal does not need to be told that he has the potential to be a great player.

The game paled into insignificance 15 minutes from the end when Paul Scholes was taken off. No disrespect Scholesy, but it was not because we missed you. The ground was thrown into a temporary stunned silence followed by a huge roar as it was announced that his replacement was to be Eric Cantona.

No one had known Eric was going to come on. I’m amazed that it had been kept quiet. But on he came, and for 15 minutes we remembered just how wonderful it is to watch him strut around the pitch, collar up, and control the crowd and the excitement. Eric, in typical fashion, took centre stage and took the attention away from the score, the game, the new signings and Ryan himself. But even Ryan himself was just happy to have Le Dieu on the pitch.

After the game the speeches and lap of honour were pretty standard. We headed back towards town, which, as before, was a sea of green and white. Celtic were happy to have won and the reds were in heaven too having just seen Eric, JS Veron and RVN.

Great game, great atmosphere (from the Celts at least) and a memory of just how great Eric was. Oh yeh, it was Ryan’s testimonial too

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