Seville 2003. 30 years on from my first Celtic game we were in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, the closest to a European final since playing Real Madrid in 1980.
Before playing Liverpool, six of us decided to try for tickets to the final in the UEFA general ballot. In the days of dial-up, the UEFA server crashed on the day applications were to be made due to the amount of folk trying to get online.
Next morning I got up at five to go to work, tried the site and 10 minutes later was the proud owner of six tickets to the UEFA Cup final. At least if we got knocked out I could punt the tickets to those lovable scousers.
But we got through to play Boavista in the semis. Decision time. The six of us booked a week’s holiday in the Costa Del Sol for the week of the final at £200 per head. If we didn’t get through, we could have a week’s golf and go to the final as neutrals.
Semi-final, second leg, Henrik puts us through and I spend the rest of the evening rocking back and forth shouting, “I’m going, I’m going”. Next day, you couldn’t get a flight out of Glasgow without selling your house, and people were already offering silly money for tickets. We may have lost that final, but it was the best footballing experience of my life.
I went to the European Cup semi against the cheats of Atletico in 1974 and thought there would be many more days like that.
Only took another 29 years but it was worth every bad day along that road as we lost to the likes of Innsbruck, Politechnica and Zwickau in the years in between.