The comments in the press over the weekend and on the Monday following the match against Dundee were extremely favourable to the club and the players. This was a typical example –
Celts Super Formula
‘Meticulous attention to planning as well as teamwork – and individual skill – that’s the formula that looks certain to bring another league championship flag to Parkhead in April.
It was just this careful preparation that sent Dundee home hammered 5-1 by Celtic after 90 minutes of football on Saturday’s skid patch. 37,000 fans got value for their money’.
The pitch was not of the best but with our rubber boots on, it was not difficult to keep one’s balance as the surface was hard but not icy. When the ice gets on top of the hard ground, then the smaller skaters come into action and the bigger guys spend most of the game swearing.
There was obviously still some doubt about the state of the Parkhead surface as this piece in one of the evening papers noted –
Celtic Call for Pitch Inspection
‘ A lunchtime inspection of Celtic Park tomorrow will decide whether the postponed league game between Celtic and Clyde goes ahead as scheduled on Wednesday evening’.
While all these comments were being aired, the players went through the usual training sessions. We could always tell that the Boss was pretty happy with what he had seen as we did a lot of short stuff and then put in some shooting practice. The keepers were not too happy at having to dive around on a dicy surface but then keepers are always moaning anyway!
As regards the match against Clyde, some headlines in one of the evening papers summed up the situation –
The K.O. for Hampden
‘The preliminary round Scottish Cup tie between Queen’s Park and Stenhousemuir due to be played tonight was cancelled due to the state of the pitch at the National Stadium.
But Celtic Park is Ready for Clyde
After the pitch inspection which passed the surface at Parkhead as fit for play, manager Jock Stein commented “Only the return of severe frost or snow could now prevent the match going on and none is forecast for the Glasgow area tonight”
The article went to point out that Clyde would no doubt be delighted with the news, as the cancellation of the game on January 2 was a financial blow.
Another Glasgow club was having its problems – both on and off the pitch – and another headline was referring to their current managerial situation.
Thirds Hope to Choose Trainer Tonight
‘Third Lanark directors meet in a Glasgow hotel tonight to discuss the resignation of manager Francis Joyner – and other ‘relevant matters’.
The club chairman John F Reilly said “I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Other club managers resign without any of the stir that our manager’s resignation has excited in newspapers’.
When it was pointed out to the chairman that the players had complained about several of the conditions at Cathkin, he replied “I think that some of the complaints have been justified”. Among the players’ complaints were that they have had to train in darkness, due to problems with the floodlights and also that on occasion they have had to wash in cold water – even after a game.
The First Division Scoring Chart was listed –
33 McBride (Celtic)
19 Mitchell (Dundee Utd)
17 A Smith (Rangers)
16 Fyfe (Airdrie)
15 Chalmers (Celtic)
14 Marshall (Airdrie)
13 Winchester (Aberdeen)
I thought I had played well against Dundee but as the Boss was not a great one for giving a lot of praise publicly to any player, I had no idea whether I would still be at right-back when we ran out to face Clyde.
I did get a moan from Ronnie after the match against Dundee. He took me by the arm and said “You’re as bad as McNeill for standing in front of the guy shooting”. I must have looked surprised as he suddenly burst out laughing and put his arm round me. “And keep doing it, Cairney”. It was something that one of my teachers at school had drummed into me, where I was the big guy at centre-half and I have never forgotten his words – ‘when a player is about to have a shot at goal, make sure that you are in a direct line between the ball and the goal. Chances are that the ball will hit you…oh! and another thing, make sure that you keep your arms down by your sides”.
It was good advice. Unfortunately, I have gone through my career being reminded of the fact that I gave away a penalty in a European Cup Final, yet overall, I had a very good record for not giving away penalties or free-kicks in areas that might prove troublesome. But that is not recalled and as my teammates from the Lisbon side nearly always mention the penalty when we get together, there is little chance of me being allowed to forget it!
Crisis in the East.
China is in the throes of its gravest internal crisis in 17 years – with violent anti-Mao opposition in at least two important cities, Nanking and Shanghai.
The possibility of a civil war cannot be ignored but most observers on Hong Kong say there is no indication that the situation has reached this stage yet.
Senator Robert F Kennedy made a last-minute attempt to stop the West German magazine ‘Stern’ from publishing a serialized version of William Manchester’s controversial book ‘Death of a President’, the magazine announced in Hamburg.
The American ‘Look’ magazine, from which ‘Stern’ bought the German language copyright, has agreed to delete certain passages from the version which it will publish tomorrow at the request of the President’s widow, Mrs John F Kennedy.
But ‘Stern’s’ chief editor, Henri Nannen, has refused to make any changes.
The search for the body of Donald Campbell entered its fifth day today when Royal Navy divers began concentrating their efforts in the area in which the steering mechanism of his Bluebird was found.
Lieutenant-Commander John Futcher, who is in charge of the diving team, is confident that if Campbell’s body is in that area, it will be found.