16th December 1967 Dundee v Celtic League – Preview
As we were only playing one match a week at this time of the season, it had become the norm for us to get a Monday off and this one was no different. You could come in if you wished, of course (and run the risk of getting some stick later in the week from those who did not come in) and I did, as I had missed several matches due to that South American virus and felt that I had to work on my sharpness.
I was joined by several other guys who had been carrying injuries and we just did some track work under the supervision of Neilly Mochan, who always seemed to be around the place. Did he not have a home to go to?
The press in general was very complimentary about the performance against Hearts but was even more generous in its praise of Celtic’s new pitch coverage –
Celtic’s Frost Plan Pays Off Star Blankets Could Be The Ideal Answer
Even the Boss had been pleased –
Celtic Are Delighted
‘Jock Stein said after the match –“We were delighted with the state of the pitch for the game against Hearts. There was absolutely no frost.
Our match versus Hearts finished at 4.40pm and by 5.30pm the mats had been replaced”.
Rumour is that Celtic paid around £1200 for the straw mats and are convinced it was money well spent’.
There was two other items of note in the papers. Firstly, that there would be a 75,000 limit to the Old Firm match on 2nd January. And secondly, it was pointed out that while the official attendance at the Celtic/Hearts match had been 35,000, the estimated crowd at the game between promotion hopefuls Hamilton and Queen of the South was 350. The gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in the Scottish game seemed to be substantial.
All the players back, including Bertie Auld, who missed the match against Hearts with a heavy cold. Bertie was not looking forward to the following Monday, when he was due to appear before the Referee Committee of the SFA for being ordered-off against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu back in early June. It did seem to be a long time ago and Bertie was complaining along those lines to all and sundry. His moans, however, were brought to an end by Jinky, another Celt who had occasionally been in trouble with the authorities, who had the dressing-room killing themselves when he said to Bertie – “listen, man, did you punch Amancio or did you not punch Amancio?!” There was no answer to that one.
Jim Baxter was on the move. The ex-Ranger signed for Johnny Carey’s Notts Forest for the sum of £100,000.
Jinky was missing. I did wonder if Bertie had sabotaged him after his comment of the day before but apparently he was suffering from a cold. Everyone else was there and we did a good workout.
One of the evening papers had this story on its back page –
‘Jock Stein was a very happy man today. Jimmy Johnstone had turned up again after being off yesterday with a cold and that meant that for the first time this season the Celtic manager had no injury or illness problems when he checked in at Celtic Park to supervise the training’.
The Boss announced that the defence for the match against Dundee would be the same as against Hearts but he had also added Charlie Gallagher to the seven forwards from which the choice would be made – Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld, Hughes, Lennox and Charlie. As usual on a Friday, we did a little track-work before heading off, although I stayed behind and put in an extra shift on the short stuff.
The press announced the manager of Clyde – Archie Wright – had resigned for reasons of health.
Morning of the Match
An early report to Celtic Park, then a bus trip up to Perth, where we had lunch in the Station Hotel. The boys were all in good form and the chat ranged from the chances of Bertie and Wispy being HAMMERED ( not my choice of words) when they reported to the SFA on the following Monday for ordering-off offences; how Hibs would get on against Leeds in their Fairs Cup tie; and also the chances of Dinamo Kiev getting through against Gornik in the European Cup?
‘Vociferous’ was the word to describe the atmosphere, the journey and lunch passing quickly so it was not long before we arrived at Dens Park and got a look at the conditions. This was one of the best pitches in the country and it was in good state, considering the cold weather that had struck the whole country earlier in the week. It was firm but just soft enough to take a stud, so what were known as the ‘leathers’ (as opposed to the ‘rubbers’) were laid out at our places.
Murray, Easton, Stewart
Scott, J McLean, Wilson, G McLean, Campbell.
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Wallace, Hughes, Lennox, Auld.
Dundee at that point were lying in 15th place in the league table (only Raith Rovers, Motherwell and Stirling Albion were below them), with a record of P14, W3, D4, L7, F19, A25, Pts 10. Now, with a record like that, it is easy to see their problem. They were losing nearly two goals per match while scoring just under one-and-a-half goals per game. However, those figures tell only a bit of the story. Dundee could be a really fine-moving side, making life difficult for any opposition but they also had flaws, the major one being inconsistency.
Still, we all remembered how difficult the Dark Blues had made the recent League Cup final for us and went out keen to stamp our authority on the proceedings.
This was a match in which we dominated for the most part but had the unfortunate habit of switching off our concentration on occasion and Dundee took advantage of those moments, as they had done in the League Cup final. The goals came as follows –
corner by Bertie, header by Cesar. 1-0 Celtic
Luggy missed a ball into the middle and George McLean took advantage. 1-1
George Stewart missed his clearance and Lemon blasted the ball into the roof of the net. 2-1 Celtic
Yogi beat a couple of men, passed to Bertie, who crossed into the middle and Jinky was there to head home. 3-1 Celtic
Yogi moved in on goals then suddenly wheeled and cut the ball back to Wispy, who made no mistake. 4-1 Celtic
a Campbell cross and Scott slipped the ball under Ronnie. 4-2 Celtic
At the break, the dressing-room was a noisy place, as was the crowd. After all, when Celtic FC is involved, you don’t often get six goals in a first half! The Boss, I thought, was non-committal, neither praising our play or criticizing our lack of what you might term concentration of consistency. Anyway, we were keen to get back out and try for some more. And we got one more –
long corner by Jinky and Wispy sent in a fierce shot. 5-2 Celtic
That should have sealed the game up but as so often with Dundee, they seemed to be able to come back almost from the dead and they did it again that afternoon. Did we slacken off or did they raise their game? Was it individual errors that caused the problem? Or was it that being 5-2 down meant that they had nothing to lose by coming forward and the quality side of their overall play came to the surface, possibly as we slackened off.
Whatever the reason, they came back with goals from Campbell in 76 minutes and Wilson in 85 and while we were not exactly hanging on at the end, you could hear that the Celtic supporters in the crowd of 23,000 (apparently there had been long queues waiting to get in when the game started) were not exactly enamoured with what they had been seeing in the last 30 minutes.
Final Score Dundee 4 Celtic 5
However, at the end it was still a good win and another two points, although the mood in the dressing-room at the end could be described as ‘cool’. We had done our bit now we were hopeful that our main rivals might have struggled a bit against Raith Rovers at Ibrox. When we came out of the bath, though, and heard the news – Rangers had won 10-2 – it did little to improve the atmosphere and it was a slightly disheartened party which made the trip back to Glasgow.