There had been so much off-field drama about this match – should it be played at Ibrox or was Hampden a better choice? – that probably everyone involved with the two clubs was delighted when the day of the game dawned and the teams could get down to some action.
The Press Conferences
Because the game was on a Monday night, the pre-match press conferences had been held on the previous Friday, before each side’s Saturday encounters. As I mentioned in my previous report, at that conference, Jock Stein had reputedly been quite quiet after the poor result of his Scotland choice in midweek and merely said that his team would be ‘up for the occasion’. He said he did not expect to make many changes and looked forward to another good match.
In the opposite corner, Hibs Manager Bob Shankley had been at pains to stress how difficult a challenge his boys would face over the weekend, as they were to play Rangers in the League on Saturday before facing Celtic in the League Cup semi-final replay on the Monday. In the event, Hibs lost 1-2 to Rangers at Easter Road before a crowd of 37,288.
What the Papers Said
In the evening papers just before the match, it was reported that Celtic would make one change for the evening, Ronnie Simpson having recovered from his stiff neck and coming back into goal in place of John Fallon; while Bob Shankley was expected to play the same side as had held Celtic to a 2-2 draw in the first match.
This was a crucial match for Celtic. Since they won the League Cup for the second time in season 1957-58 by thrashing Rangers 7-1 ( they had beaten Partick Thistle after a replay the previous year) the club’s record in this competition had been poor if not frankly abysmal.
1958-59 Beaten 1-2 Partick Thistle Semi-Final
1959-60 Failed to qualify from section – Airdrie, Partick Thistle, Raith Rovers
1960-61 Failed to qualify from section – Partick Thistle, Rangers, Third Lanark
1961-62 Failed to qualify from section – Hibs, Partick Thistle, St Johnstone
1962-63 Failed to qualify from section – Dundee, Dundee Utd, Hearts
1963-64 Failed to qualify from section – Kilmarnock, Rangers, Queen of the South
1964-65 Beaten 1-2 by Rangers Final
Now, they had a chance to reach the final again, with one thing in their favour. While other sides might have tried to muscle Celtic off their game, Hibs always tried to play good football, although ex-Celt John MacNamee, at centre-half, would certainly take no prisoners. However, he was surrounded on all sides by talented players and yet, as Bob Shankley was all too well aware, they were fine performers who had a terrible habit of not rising to the occasion. Which Hibs side would turn up at Ibrox?
What a comeback!
Gary Player made one of the greatest recoveries in top-class golf to beat Tony Lema at the 37th hole in the semi-finals of the Piccadilly World match-play tournament at Wentworth in Surrey.
From the apparently hopeless position of 7-down after 19 holes of the 36-hole contest, the amazing Player tore back at his opponent with brilliant golf to level at the 36th and then win the first sudden-death hole with a birdie 4.
In the final, Player beat Peter Thomson 3 and 2.
Over 1000 Glasgow shipyard workers sent a telegram to Prime Minister Harold Wilson demanding Government intervention and a full-scale inquiry into the Fairfields Shipyard’s financial crisis.
The convener of the shop stewards, Mr Alex Jamieson, told a mass meeting of the workers: “Don’t desert the sinking ship. Stay and fight this thing out to the end”.
His request was greeted with cheers.
Semi Nuoranun, the Finnish international outside-left, is to have a month’s trail with Partick Thistle.
Nuoranun will take part in a full-scale practice match tonight , after which it will be decided whether he will make his debut for the Jags against Dunfermline at the weekend.