17th September 1966: Celtic v Rangers League – Part Two

The Morning of the Match
In the football world, it must be hard to come up with a fixture that can surpass a Celtic/Rangers encounter for tension, anticipation or excitement. Granted, the atmosphere can ‘occasionally’ be spoiled by a little sectarianism but, to be blunt, old habits die hard and even in this so-called ‘enlightened’ age, we have still have our dinosaurs who refuse to leave the past behind.

rangers_fcThis was not the day to arrive late at Celtic Park and even when I got there and parked in the school car park, about two hours before the kick-off, the crowds were milling around and the autograph books were out.

By the time I arrived, the Combined Reserve side had already left for Douglas Park, where they had a match against Hamilton but many of the first-team guys had also decided to get there early and the old snooker room – where a table-tennis table was the new attraction –was full of prospective stars – all holding the bats in different ways – and the ball went whizzing round the place.

As I was on the periphery of things at that particular time, I felt really out of it, as I was quite sure that I was neither in the side nor on the bench. And when the call came for the players to head to the dressing-room to hear the team, my assumptions were correct…..I was up in the stand!




The Teams

CelticSimpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Lennox, McBride, Auld, Hughes. Sub: Chalmers
RangersRitchie, Provan, Greig, Millar, McKinnon, D Smith, Wilson, A Smith, Forrest, McLean, Johnston. Sub: Setterington


The Press
That night and the following day, the headlines in the papers told the story of match neatly and succinctly;-

Blitz Start By the Celts Just Two Bad for the Light Blues


Rangers Flounder at Parkhead


Celtic Take Control in Opening Minutes


And I particularly liked the opening paragraph in one of the dailies

‘Who said lightning never strikes twice in the same place? It did at Parkhead – in the rigging just behind Rangers keeper Billy Ritchie?’

The Match

Big Dandy - George McLean - Booked!

Big Dandy – George McLean – Booked!

Rangers actually got the first opportunity, from a free –kick outside the box when Bobby Murdoch fouled George Mclean. Ronnie saved Davie Smith’s shot well then punted the ball up the park. Yogi latched on to it and went down the left before passing to Bobby Lennox, who whipped it across the goal for Bertie Auld to fire home. 1-0 Celtic

Three minutes later, after Bobby Murdoch tried a left-foot shot which came back to him off a couple of Rangers defenders, he sent a lob in from all of 18 yards which completely deceived Billy Ritchie. 2-0 Celtic.

From then on, Celtic kept up the pressure but the Light Blues closed up ranks and decided to adopt a ‘thou shalt not pass’ attitude, determined not to lose any more and willing to try the occasional breakaway to pull one back.

It was not effective and the play turned quite nasty, some hefty challenges going in particularly from some Rangers players. On one occasion, a clatter from George McLean on our left-back put TG on to the running track round the pitch – and ‘Dandy’ was duly booked!

The papers seemed to agree that Celtic deserved their win. One of the problems of going two-up so early on is that there is a temptation to sit on the game and try merely to frustrate the opposition instead of going further ahead. In this match, the Celtic players did sit on the play but did it so effectively that they prevented Rangers from getting on the score-sheet. Certainly, from where I was sitting up in the stands with some other players, the result was certainly a fair reflection of the play.

Out and About
The U.S. State Department indicated today that it had relaxed slightly its ban on Soviet Premier Mr Nikita Kruschev which confined him to Manhattan Island while he stayed in New York for the U.N. General Assembly session.
It was indicated that he would be allowed to travel to the Soviet residence at Glen Cove, Long Island, for weekends following a Soviet request.

Ronald Christopher (Buster) Edwards, hunted by Scotland Yard for over three years, was arrested and charged yesterday in connection with the £2.6 million Great Train Robbery. Edwards later left Scotland Yard in a car accompanied by a team of Flying Squad detectives. Two more cars acted as escorts as they travelled to the police station in Aylesbury, Bucks, near the scene of the train robbery.

Naughty Boys
Fifteen football rowdies were fined a total of £595 at Glasgow Central Police Court today for breaches of the peace near Celtic Park on Saturday after Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers.