They say Father Christmas arrives on a sleigh – but 17 years ago Aberdeen’s Dadi Christmas delivered his gift to the Red Army with a train.
It was December 22 2001 and a night when an off-the-cuff celebration became part of Aberdeen folklore.
The Dons had ended Celtic’s unbeaten Premier League run with a 2-0 win at Pittodrie, and the famous old ground was bouncing as Ebbe Skovdahl’s charges made it nine home wins in a row.
At full-time the party atmosphere was only added to when Ivorian striker Eugene Dadi led the famous “train” celebration in front of the Richard Donald Stand.
Darren Mackie was only 19 years old but had come on and scored the crucial second goal in stoppage time.
The Dons face Celtic at Pittodrie this afternoon as they look to go level on points with the Hoops at the top of the table.
Mackie hopes they can do it and he can still recall the celebrations from that famous festive win against Celtic. He said: “I was in the train, I know that. It was a bit of banter, really.
“We were on a high, really, because we were chasing nine home wins in a row and the celebration came from that.
“The atmosphere probably drove it because it was an amazing atmosphere.
“It had also been a few years since we had beaten Celtic and it all just built up into the train.
“It was a bit of fun and Eugene was a bit of a character. He started it and before we knew it the boys were all grabbing on and following him.
“The boys just joined on and bought into it. At that time we had a great team spirit and it was good fun.”
In the game Dadi had another moment for which is also well-remembered – a stunning turn in the first half that left Bobo Balde bamboozled.
In the second period Aberdeen took the lead on 57 minutes when Robbie Winters scored with a penalty after a handball from John Hartson.
Reds skipper Derek Whyte was controversially sent off by ref Stuart Dougal in the closing stages but 77th-minute sub Mackie secured the points.
Hoops keeper Rab Douglas took a poor touch to control a routine pass back and the pacy Mackie charged him down and lashed the ball home from close range.
Mackie added: “We were going for a ninth home win in a row, which was awesome, and the fans were buzzing, the atmosphere was great.
“I remember Robbie Winters scored the penalty. Eugene did a trick to turn Bobo Balde and everyone went mad for it.
“I got my goal, which was just a simple pass back – but I never gave it up. I chased it down and fortunately Rab Douglas took a heavy touch. I think he was caught out by how quickly I got there and I rammed it in the net.
“That made it 2-0 and it was a great night. There was plenty happening that night, snowballs were getting thrown at corners and it was a great night for us.
“There were lots of Santa hats in the crowd with it being so close to Christmas – there was a great atmosphere.”
At the time Mackie was a young player trying to establish himself in the first team. He said: “It was just great for me to get on. You wanted to be part of big games like that.
“I was delighted to get on the pitch, first and foremost. I believed if I could get a chance I could score a goal.
“I was put on so they could put balls over the top and I would chase them, get Celtic turned and take the pressure off for a while.
“I got the goal so it couldn’t really have been a better night.”