18th August 1965
The Celtic support might have been disappointed by the loss to Dundee United in the first of the sectional games in the League Cup but that did not stop them turning up to see the second contest against Motherwell at Parkhead. They would have made up the majority of the official attendance of 32,000 and it was a nice evening to meet friends and colleagues.
As I mentioned in my article about the night I signed for the club ( 7th January 1965), the Celtic Park of those days was hardly the well-appointed stadium of today. There was a Main Stand on the south side of the stadium, with covered enclosures on both the west and north sides, the former known as the Celtic End and the latter referred to as ‘The Jungle’.
At the four corners of the stadium, pylons soared into the sky, supporting the lights which provided the illumination for night matches. They had one other purpose at that time for the faithful supporter, especially if he was an occasional attender and had made a sudden decision to see a game. Many of the fans who paid their money to enter the terracings had a casual arrangement whereby they would turn up before the match at a designated spot – usually in the vicinity of one of these pylons – and there they would meet family, friends or even other ‘occasional’ attendees.
On that particular evening, the announcer – of whom more soon – would have read out the team in the half-hour before kick-off. The Celtic support in the crowd would have been keen to hear the name of new signing Joe McBride in the side but unfortunately, Joe was still not quite 100% after the injury he picked up in the friendly match in the Isle of Man. The fans’ disappointment was obvious as a groan went up after the forward line had been read out without his name there, although the more astute listener would have noticed that Jock Stein had made one change to the side which had lost to Dundee United the previous Saturday, bringing in John Divers at inside-right in place of Charlie Gallagher. The chosen eleven was ; –
Fallon, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Divers, Chalmers, Lennox, Auld.
The result went in favour of Celtic, who won 1-0, that man Divers getting the solitary goal in the 68th minute. However, in the press the following day, it was quite clear that the team’s performance had not been to the satisfaction of everyone.
WHAT A STRUGGLE FOR CELTS!
‘Celtic won this one the hardest way possible. They dominated for almost the entire 90 minutes but finished with the slender victory and the knowledge that it had taken them 68 minutes to get past the Man of the Match – keeper McCloy.
In the 68th minute, Auld was the maker and Divers the executioner. The inside-right rushed on to Auld’s pass and drove it home from 6 yards.
From then on, it was all Celtic’.
A report in another paper ended with some pleasing news for the Celtic support ; –
‘Although their 1-0 score against Motherwell was good enough to give them victory, I suspect their followers’ other big moment would have come before kick-off. Said the official who makes the loudspeaker announcements “Joe McBride will be fit by Saturday and will definitely play’.
On the same evening,
I was with the reserve side at Fir Park to meet Motherwell in a Reserve League Cup tie. We were up for the tie, the good 3-1 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice in the opening match having given the squad a boost. However, there were still changes to the eleven who had started in Dundee, one player getting a chance to show what he could do, while another went in the other direction, having been ‘dropped’ from the first team. ( I always think that that is a terrible word to describe such a situation).
The player taken out the first team was Charlie Gallagher, who had been at Celtic Park since 1958 and was a very talented midfield general. From a full back’s point of view, he was excellent to play with, always in position to receive the ball and also, in that age when players like myself were making forward runs, very adept at putting the ball directly into our paths. In addition to that, he was always one helluva nice guy.
The new boy coming in was goalkeeper John Kennedy, another very pleasant man, who had been signed by Jock Stein from Distillery just one day after he had arrived at Celtic Park ( 10th March 1965). John, or occasionally Jack, was an English teacher who had been goalkeeper for the GB Olympic team in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, replicating the performance of Ronnie Simpson in 1948, when he had been the goalkeeper in the London Olympics.
Once again, the team gelled together and in spite of Motherwell scoring two goals, we managed to knock in three to pick up the points. It was a good example of eleven players who did not know each other very well all putting in a hard-working shift and getting a reward. I was a newcomer myself but I felt quite protective towards the youngest guy in the side. The very promising George Connelly was only 16 years and 4 months old, whereas with the exception of Jimmy Quinn at centre-forward, the rest were all in their early or late 20s – John Kennedy (26), Jim Craig (22), Frank McCarron ( 21), Jim Brogan (21), John Cushley (22), Willie O’Neill (25), Charlie Gallagher (25), Jimmy Quinn ( 18), Gerry Sweeney (21), Tony Taylor (21).
A range of ages, perhaps, but, after two matches, we had four points and were top of the table, with Dundee next up.
America’s plan to launch two astronauts from Cape Kennedy in Florida on an 8-day space flight was postponed at the last minute because of technical and weather problems.
Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad had spent two-and-a-half hours cooped up in their tiny Gemini V cabin when the postponement was announced.
James Bond’s car will be back in action tonight at the Tattoo in Edinburgh. The Tattoo’s director said that the speed of the car had been modified slightly. Last night at the first performance, the Aston Martin skidded into the audience and slightly injured three people.
19th August 1965
One in….one possible out. Forward Henry Quinn was signed from St Mirren for a fee of £3,000; while, on the same day, John Cushley travelled south with Middlesbrough manager Raich Carter for talks. However, on the 20th August, ‘Wilbur’ came back to Glasgow still a Celtic player.