11th February 1967: Ayr United v Celtic, League – Part Two

The Morning of the Match
This match had a 1pm kick-off. There were no floodlights at Somerset Park – they did come into play until 1970 – and there was the added complication that Kilmarnock were hosting Rangers in a league match at Rugby Park with a 3pm start; a game which would be attended by the Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin. So, in order to avoid a coming together of Celtic and Rangers fans either in Ayrshire or on the roads to and from the county, the authorities decided on an early kick off for our match with Ayr.

The early start had another effect for the Celtic players. Normally we would have stopped somewhere for a light lunch but as we would be leaving Celtic Park by about 11am, we had been told to have something at home. Certainly, in my case, I obeyed the instructions and had a full breakfast at an early hour.

The Opposition
Ayr United were having a really poor season. Anchored at the bottom of the table, with a record of P22 W0 D5 L17 F12 A55, they could hardly have been happy at the prospect of the league leaders coming to visit.
They did have a good pitch, though, which was in reasonable shape even at that time of the season. Flat and even, moistened all year round by the drizzle off the Firth of Clyde, it was always well maintained and a favourite of all the boys.
The 70-yard long Main Stand, which backed on to a car park, had a chimney in the middle of its frontage; to its left was the covered Railway End; opposite the Main Stand was the North Terrace, at the back of which was a scoreboard; and to the right of the Main Stand was the Somerset Road end. The whole ground was described in a paper of the time as ‘nicely-contained, a touch old-fashioned but extremely trim’.

By the time the Celtic bus got there, just less than an hour before the kick-off, it was noticeable that the atmosphere was less noisy than usual. As I was not one of the noisier ones ( I have never been ‘quiet’ as everyone who has ever met me will attest but I could never match the sheer volume of some colleagues) I wondered if the defeat by Dinamo Zagreb had dented their confidence a little. However, maybe it was just that the journey down from Glasgow had made the guys slightly soporific and to be honest, after we had been out on the pitch for a look at the surface conditions and got a bracing breeze off the sea, the usual noisy atmosphere of the dressing-room surfaced once more. It was a good sign. We played better after having had a noisy dressing-room.

The Teams

Ayr United
Miller, Malone, Murphy, Quinn, Moran, Thomson, Rutherford, McMillan, Ingram, Black, Oliphant.
Sub: McAnespie

Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Chalmers, Gallagher, Hughes.
Sub: Lennox



The Play
As it was a clash between top of the table and bottom of the table, it came as no surprise that the team anchored at the wrong end set out to pack its defence and go for a policy of frustrating the higher-placed team. And very effective it was too. Terms like ‘cattenacio’ were only known at that time to the real football cognoscenti but it was not unlike that system beloved of some Italian sides. Every time we went past one man, another was there to impede our progress.
For the first 40 minutes, it was us going forward most of the time, with Ayr having the occasional breakaway. And, as usually happened when we played away, the home goalkeeper was at the top of his form. However, just when we – and the fans – were getting a bit frustrated, we got the breakthrough –

41 minutes
a cross from a free-kick by Tam was met by Jinky, who headed home. 1-0 Celtic

From their first attack after the break, Ayr had a great chance to score when Ronnie dropped a lob from Malone and there was a real stramash in the box before Cesar cleared the danger. And within minutes, they had made other chances through Ingram and Black. Gradually, though we took control again and, right out of the blue, scored three in as many minutes –

57 minutes
Jinky cut the ball back for Stevie to send in a low drive which gave the keeper no chance. 2-0 Celtic

59 minutes
Yogi went on a good run and finished with a shot high into the roof of the net. 3-0 Celtic

62 minutes
this time Yogi provided the pass and Stevie got his second. 4-0 Celtic

From then to the end, we were in control of the play but only made the breakthrough once more –

82 minutes
once more, Yogi was the provider and Stevie the goal which made the final score –
Ayr United 0 Celtic 5

Arthur Thompson, who was badly injured when a bomb exploded in his car, killing his mother-in-law, Mrs Margaret Johnstone, outside his home in Provanmill Road, Glasgow , was sent to the High Court for sentence after being found guilty of theft by housebreaking at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Thompson had been accused with others unknown of breaking into a shop in the Argyle Arcade, Glasgow and stealing clothing valued at £3000 on 7th August last year.

One Incident, Varying Thoughts
Mr Richard John Hillary, the competitions secretary at Brands Hatch, was working on twin carburettors in the lounge when his young wife objected. Mr Hillary thought they were ‘not frightfully’ dirty but the wife threw one carburettor out of the window and it was broken.
Mrs Hillary had said that the lounge carpet was greasy and oily, so she got annoyed because she had to clean it up.
Mr Hillary’s comment in court about the incident was – “I was not studying my wife’s feelings, I was studying a pair of carburettors”.
The Judge granted a decree nisi to Mrs Hillary on the grounds of cruelty.

Tough Times for Teenagers
Mini-skirts have been banned in Borneo. The Army has warned girls to lower their hemlines and Beatle-haired boyfriends have been told to get their hair cut, in a determined move to stamp out Western ‘pop’ culture.