February flashback: How Celtic tried to keep out the fans when they played All Whites

posted in: All Whites, Heritage, News

In February 1992, New Zealand’s All Whites celebrated a 1-0 win against Scottish giants Celtic in a game that prompted plenty of off-field controversy.

Chris Zoricich, then playing for English club Leyton Orient, scored the only goal of the game to give the All Whites a confidence boost as they prepared for the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

But the match, played at Celtic Park in Glasgow, became mired in criticism for the way Celtic went about the match.

The story is told in detail in The Celtic Star by editor Craig Stephen.

Celtic agreed to meet the touring New Zealand side in a friendly but the club’s board tried to get it played behind closed doors, giving it a Tuesday afternoon kick-off.

Pressure from Celtic fans forced the club to open the game to spectators and 7,300 turned up, despite the 2pm weekday start.

The New Zealand Football Association were left out of pocket, The Celtic Star says.

They had sought an evening game and even with a reduced ticket price, the game could have generated revenue of about £70,000, with the visitors taking about £25,000 as their half share after expenses.

Instead, they got nothing.

Worse, Celtic expected the New Zealanders to pick up their own transport costs for getting from Glasgow Airport to the ground.

The New Zealand Soccer Express called Celtic ‘skinflints’.

“Celtic’s bizarre behaviour over the friendly with the All Whites hardly smacked of traditional Scottish hospitality,” the paper said.

As for the game, the All Whites had star striker Wynton Rufer — then with Werner Bremen — up front, Fortuna Sittard’s Fred de Jong and Rotherham’s Michael Ridenton.

Celtic’s line-up included star names such as Tony Mowbray and Charlie Nicholas, but also a young midfielder Mark Donaghy who played in New Zealand before signing with the Scottish club.


Game played on Tuesday February 4, 1992

Celtic 0
New Zealand 1 (Chris Zoricich 58′)



Bonner (Kerr 78′), Doland (McStay 46′), Galloway, Grant, Mowbray, Smith, Hayes, Donaghy, Cascarino, Nicholas (Britton 46′), Fulton.

New Zealand

Gosling, Lund, Ridenton, Gray, Riley (Jorgenson 74′, Ironside, McGarry, Zoricich, de Jong, Coveny, Rufer.

Subs not used: T. Edge, New, Ngata, Utting.


Referee: B McGinlay (Balfron), assistant referees: W.S.G Young (Clarkston) & J.G Pearson (Bearsden).

Match programme

A one-page sheet served as the match programme for the game:

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