17th October 1966: Celtic v Airdrie  League Cup SF – Part One

17th October

The morning papers quite rightly stressed that on the previous Saturday it had been a case of Celtic successfully dealing with an Airdrie defence determined to hold them out ;-

Celts Beat Airdrie Curtain

And there was also good news for the fans with the return of the team’s engine-room players;-

Murdoch Fit

‘Bobby Murdoch, who was slightly off-colour on Saturday, has recovered completely from his stomach upset and is certain to play against Airdrie tonight in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

Also listed as sure starters are Bertie Auld and Jimmy Johnstone, who were rested on Saturday.

With Murdoch being fit, the defence looks to be at its strongest but Jock Stein’s big choice is at inside-forward and centre-forward, where 4 good men – Lennox, Gallagher, Chalmers and McBride – are in contention’.

This was a tough time for myself. I had played on the Friday evening, came in to train on Sunday morning and did the same on the morning of the match. It had been hard work on my own on the Sabbath but at least on the Monday, those players not listed for the semi-final were also training and I had some company.

I was not ‘not-fit’ by any means but I was in need of some sharpening stuff and I concentrated on that at this period. Ironically, this was to stand me in good stead in this particular season which, because of our successes, was going to be a long one, extending into June 1967.

What do players talk about at a time like that? Well, with the reserve match having been on the Friday night, most of the guys had been watching the first-team and frankly, the general opinion was that Airdrie did not have a chance in the semi-final that night. We all seemed to think that they would go for a defensive set-up again, that they would be able to hold out for a while but that Celtic would get the necessary goals although, as the Diamonds were quite good at packing their defence, there would not be too many goals for the fans to cheer. How amazingly accurate we were!

Also in the papers that day was some info regarding the other semi-final, Aberdeen v Rangers, which was due to go ahead – again at Hampden – on the Tuesday evening. The heading in the press rather gave a hint to a possible problem…

Light Blues Delay


……and the story was that noon on the day of the match would be decision time on the fitness of three Rangers stars, George McLean, Jim Forrest and Denis Setterington. If they did not pass the fitness test arranged for that time, they were out!

There was also news that four stars from Nantes , the side Celtic would meet in round two of the European Cup, had been picked to play for France in a European Nations Cup tie against Poland.

Some disappointing news concerning that tie was that Jock Stein had been foiled by fog at Glasgow Airport the previous Sunday as he tried to fly to France to see Nantes in action.

And the message from Archie Wright at Broomfield regarding the semi-final against Celtic was “different tactics will be needed but we will be up for it!”

Possible Error?

After the free pardon for Timothy Evans, wrongfully hanged for the murder of his daughter, 17 Labour and Liberal MPs today called for an inquiry into the conviction of James Hanratty.

Hanratty was hanged in April 1962 after being convicted of the A6 murder of Michael Gregsten (36) in a car at Dead Man’s Hill outside Bedford in August 1961.


Would you Want to Fly This Plane?

The 64th Starfighter jet of the West German navy to crash plunged into the North Sea yesterday. The pilot ejected to safety and was picked up uninjured.


New Country

The African country of Basutoland gained its independence and took the name of Lesotho.