17th February 1968:  Newcastle v Celtic -Friendly

15th February

Everyone reported for training and for those who had played on the Wednesday evening against Stirling Albion, it was a relatively mild affair. Those who had not played were put through a tougher session.

There were a couple of guys on the treatment table. Yogi had injured his knee and Bertie had a couple of problems. As Celtic, thanks to the Pars, were by that time out of the Scottish Cup, there was a free weekend coming up so the friendly match that had been arranged against Newcastle at St James Park was a real focus of attention in the press.


16th February

The squad left by coach for Gateshead, where they would be based before the match. Bertie and Yogi did not travel. Nor did I, as I had some personal business back in the city. The Boss was OK about it although as my part of the deal, I would play for the second team against Aberdeen reserves.


The Day of the Match

It was very cold in Newcastle and there was some snow on the pitch which melted as the sun rose higher in the sky. George Connelly would be making his first-team debut and Ronnie was given the captaincy role as he returned to his old club.

In the Newcastle side, future Celt Gordon Marshall Snr was in goal; future England manager Bobby Robson was at outside-left; and ex-Celt John MacNamee, normally a rock for the Magpies at centre-half, was unfortunately out injured and missed facing his former club.


The Teams


Burton, Clark
Elliott, Winstanley, Moncur
Sinclair, Scott, Davies, K Robson, B Robson.
Sub: Duffy


Gemmell, O’Neill
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Wallace, Johnstone, McBride, Connelly, Lennox.
Sub: Brogan


The Play

The official attendance was given as 38,790 and they gave Ronnie Simpson a rousing reception when he led Celtic out.

From the start, play seemed to be about even in terms of pressure. For every Celtic attack, the Magpies replied with one of their own and both keepers made outstanding saves. As usual, wee Jimmy was the main threat to Newcastle and the entertainer-in- chief but in spite of all the energy and effort put in, it was still goal-less at half-time.

And, according to the reports, the end –to- end stuff continued right through the second half as well, the breakthrough coming quite late in the match, when Newcastle’s Jim Scott – another Scotsman – fired home the only goal of  the game.


 Final Score  Newcastle 1  Celtic 0

Other Results

While the Hoops and the Magpies were battling it out in Newcastle, back in Scotland there were ties in the Scottish Cup taking place. The matches between Dunfermline and Aberdeen and Partick Thistle versus Clyde were both cancelled but the other results were-

Airdrie 1 0 Hibs
Dundee 1 1 Rangers
Dundee 5 6 Hearts
East Fife 0 0 Morton
Elgin City 2 2 0 Arbroath
St Johnstone 5 2 Queen of the South


The Reserves

Back in Glasgow, the Reserve side ran out to face Aberdeen at Celtic Park. The team was Fallon, Young, Gorman, Cattenach, Craig, Hay, Taggart, ‘Newman’, Quinn, MacMahon, Macari. It was also a very competitive affair but after opening the scoring we lost a couple of goals to go down 1-2.


Joint Tallest

One of the two tallest cranes in Europe was in use today in Glasgow hoisting lamp standards from the underpass on to the new fly-over in Castle Street, Townhead. Its ‘twin’ is being operated in the south of England.

Owned by Argos Crane Hire of Glasgow, the American-built crane rises to a height of 109 feet plus a 27-feet ‘fly-jib’. It cost £56,000