Motherwell 2-1 Celtic: 'Well hero Martyn Corrigan played with fractured kneecap during famous Helicopter Sunday win

Martyn Corrigan (1st right) with fellow Motherwell FC Helicopter Sunday heroes Scott McDonald (centre) and Stephen Craigan (Pic by Alan Watson)Martyn Corrigan (1st right) with fellow Motherwell FC Helicopter Sunday heroes Scott McDonald (centre) and Stephen Craigan (Pic by Alan Watson)
Martyn Corrigan (1st right) with fellow Motherwell FC Helicopter Sunday heroes Scott McDonald (centre) and Stephen Craigan (Pic by Alan Watson)
Motherwell old boy Martyn Corrigan has revealed that he played in the famous 2-1 Helicopter Sunday triumph over Celtic exactly 15 years ago with a fractured kneecap!

Former right back Corrigan (42), nicknamed “Kaiser” by fans in reference to German great Franz Beckenbauer, starred in the shock final day triumph at Fir Park on May 22, 2005, when a late Scott McDonald double for the hosts cancelled out Chris Sutton’s first half opener and denied Celtic the league title at the death to a Rangers side who won 1-0 at Hibernian the same day.

Referring to him helping beat Martin O’Neill’s revered Celtic side while crocked, Corrigan told the Times and Speaker: “I actually played that game with a fractured kneecap.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I had actually fractured it – but didn’t know I fractured it – against Hibs (in a 2-2 home draw two weeks earlier) when I got kicked by somebody’s studs.

“Then the week before the Celtic game we played Rangers.

“I remember before the Rangers game I hadn’t trained all week and Terry Butcher (Motherwell manager) shouted at me and had a right go at me at half-time and full-time.

“And I said to him I was struggling to turn because my knee was that sore.

“But fast forward three weeks later and I found out the kneecap was broken.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“And I said to Terry, reminding him that he’d been giving me a hard time at Ibrox.

“He responded by saying that I’d played as if I had a fractured kneecap!

“So I was going into the Celtic game struggling for fitness because I had that bother with the knee.

“My kneecap was split right across but I managed to play.

“Every game I played was a struggle.

“The physio was John Porteous and if anybody could get someone playing with a fractured kneecap it was John.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I was desperate to play every game. I loved my time at Motherwell.

“It was the best time of my whole football career.

“I loved putting on the strip and running out.

“So any time I had an opportunity – it didn’t matter how injured I was – I was wanting to play.

“So the pain meant nothing to me.

“I managed to play the game and get through it.

“I remember before the final whistle when the ball got kicked down the corner and me and Stephen Craigan (fellow Motherwell defender) chased the ball into the corner with Craig Bellamy (Celtic striker).

“We managed to get the ball out for a bye kick and Bellamy had a go at us, saying: ‘Why the .... are you trying so hard?’

“But me and Crags were winners, we just wanted to win.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This professionalism displayed by Motherwell was also illustrated in spades by the Steelmen’s two-goal hero McDonald, a staunch Celtic fan who put winning for Motherwell above everything else, even if it meant denying his boyhood favourites the title to their arch rivals in the last five minutes of a 38-game season.

“Scott was in tears after the game,” Corrigan said.

“But that game probably got him the move to Celtic (he joined the Hoops two years later and netted 51 times in 88 games before joining Middlesbrough in 2010).

“It was a weird atmosphere during the game. We did enough to win the game and the way I see it is that we deserved the three points.”

While Motherwell finished the match extremely strongly, Celtic appeared to buckle under the pressure as they lost the league in the most excruciatingly cruel way imaginable.

Corrigan said: “It’s always hard coming to our home pitch.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It doesn’t matter who you are. We always did well at home, against the Old Firm especially.

“It’s different if you’re going to Parkhead or Ibrox and playing there with the crowd and the bigger parks and the atmosphere.

“When you’re coming to Motherwell and we’re digging in and we’re working hard, as soon as things started to turn against them you could maybe see the pressure of the three points was a lot.

“We had nothing to lose and maybe the pressure was just too much for them on the day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“For the second goal, I remember the ball bounced and I looked up and saw Scotty running. I just gave a wee half volley into the channel for him to run onto.

“And Scotty runs and chips it over the keeper to give us the goal that won the game.”

With 12,944 supporters in the packed stadium and millions more watching on live TV around the world, it was an awesome environment to be in the forefront of.

Popular defender Corrigan, who made 243 appearances in claret and amber between 2000 and 2008, added: “The atmosphere was electric at the Helicopter Sunday game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There was nothing better, especially when we were at home and the atmosphere was intense. As a player it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

“A lot of supporters will remember that day vividly because of all the things that were going on but for me it was just a game I wanted to win because it was obviously another three points.

“It was a big game for Celtic and Rangers supporters.

“Obviously Celtic were disappointed they got beaten and Rangers were buzzing.

“But me personally I didn’t get anything out of the game.

“We got a win bonus. We didn’t get a medal.”

Another hero for ’Well on the day was goalkeeper Gordon Marshall, a former Celtic player, who made some fine stops to prevent Celtic going further ahead either side of Sutton’s opener.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Corrigan, who now does scouting work for Motherwell, said: “Gordon is a great guy and a great goalkeeper and he’s one of the most professional goalkeepers I think I’ve seen.”

Motherwell: Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Kinniburgh, Fagan, Foran, Kerr, Fitzpatrick (Clarkson 88), Paterson, McDonald, Hamilton (Britton 85).

Celtic: Douglas, Agathe, Balde, Varga, McNamara, Petrov, Lennon, Sutton, Thompson, Hartson (Beattie 75), Bellamy.

Referee: Hugh Dallas

Crowd: 12,944

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.