On the afternoon of Friday 13th of November, Celtic announced the sensational signing of Joe Miller from Aberdeen for a fee of £650,000.
Miller was rated as the best prospect in Scottish football and the ex Aberdeen manager, Alex Ferguson, was said to be livid with the move as he felt he had an agreement that Aberdeen would give him first refusal on Miller, to take him to Old Trafford. Joe was said to have been unsettled for some time at Pittodrie and it had been expected that he would have joined either Manchester United or Liverpool, who had both been keeping tabs on him.
Miller was the most exciting signing Celtic had made in years and those spectators who attended his debut just 24 hours later, where amused to read of the official attendance of 31,000 when it looked as though there were many thousands more inside the ground on a bitterly cold November afternoon.
‘Super Joe’ ran out to a tumultuous welcome from the home crowd, and buoyed by the great atmosphere their fans created, the Celts threatened to blow Dundee away from the very start. So much so that Andy Walker scored twice in the first five minutes as the Celts’ forward trio of Miller, Walker and Frank McAvennie showed that they were on top form individually and collectively.
Despite being two goals down at such an early stage, Dundee showed a lot of heart and before half time Pat Bonner was required to make tremendous saves from John Brown and Tommy Coyne to protect Celtic’s two goal lead.
Miller was having a terrific game and the old ground erupted on the hour mark when McAvennie and Peter Grant combined to send wee Joe clear on goal. He steadied himself before firing a fine low shot past the Dundee goalkeeper and raced away to take the acclaim of the fans in the packed Jungle enclosure.
Celtic’s fourth goal was the game’s best effort when Bonner threw the ball to Miller. He then sent Chris Morris racing down the right flank and when his cross came over, McAvennie scored with a flying header. Before full time McAvennie scored another header to make it 5-0, this time from a Miller cross.
Joe Miller could not have dreamed of a better debut and it was clear that Celtic, in their centenary season, were a team who were going places. This was to be a memorable season in so many ways and there is no doubt that Joe Miller’s signing in November 1987 gave the team some much needed momentum to win the League and Cup double at the end of that great campaign.