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Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!
On the morning after the Old Firm reserve game, I was lying in my bed in my parents’ house, enjoying the feeling of reliving the important moments of the night before while well aware of a little soreness and bruising in the muscles round my hips and legs. Suddenly, the phone rang!
Now, for you younger guys and gals, let me tell you that it was a different world back in those days. There were obviously no mobile phones and the only phone available was attached to a fixed point. In my parents’ house, it was in the hall and my Mother would have had to go out from the kitchen or sitting-room to answer it. A few minutes later, I could hear her voice calling up the stairs; “Jim, there’s a Mr Fallon on the phone for you”.
A Surprise Caller
As I made my way down the stairs – more slowly than I normally would do so – I debated with myself who Mr Fallon was? Was it Sean or John? Once I picked up the phone, though, and a real Irish brogue said “is that you, Jim”, I realised that Celtic’s assistant manager was on the line and wondered what he was wanting?
A Long Way to Go for a Match
The reason for the call was soon clear. ‘They’ – meaning the management at the park – wanted me to invite me to go with the team to Ibrox for the Old Firm match and they would like me to report at such-and-such a time to be part of the bus party heading across Glasgow.
I was quite chuffed. My approach to the manager for a chance must have struck a chord, I was obviously in the frame to get a run-out soon and I was quite delighted to get the invitation. At the same time, I did have a real problem. My parents lived about a mile to the west of Ibrox in Cardonald and I had no access to a car, so I would have to take a bus into town, then another one out to Celtic Park, then, after the match –when I could easily have walked home through the crowds but did not have the slightest intention of so doing – when the bus had deposited the squad back at Parkhead, do the trip again in reverse.
POLICE WARN OLD FIRM FANS
Glasgow’s Chief Constable, Mr James Robertson, yesterday appealed to Rangers and Celtic fans to behave themselves at today’s match at Ibrox. He warned that stringent measures would be taken against those who did not behave.
When I arrived at the park, I got a great welcome from all the players and congratulations were the order of the day for the win the night before. They wanted to know all the details of the game and once again, it was the Brazilian Inacio who was the topic of most of the queries. The Boss also went out of his way to welcome me, as did Sean and the coaching staff. Then the Boss said “Let’s Go” and we were off.
What a Trip!
The journey across the city in the team bus was amazing. From the minute we left Parkhead all the way to Ibrox, fans were on the pavements cheering us on – or booing us as the case might be – and when we arrived at Ibrox, the police had to step in to clear the way for us to enter the ground. I had played there before and knew the layout of the dressing-rooms but this was on a different level from anything I had come across before and I was keen to be part of the first-team scene as soon as possible. However, on this trip I was merely an onlooker –from the inside, admittedly – and well before the kick-off, I had to leave the changing areas and make my way to my seat in the stand. How I was hoping for a Celtic win!
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The headlines in the papers that night and the following day were much the same as after any Old Firm contest, depending on which side won;
It’s a Blue Day! Ibrox Rejoices! Gers Come Through! Celts Disappoint!
However, if I can remain calm and clinical, here is a resume of the important moments.
Rangers v Celtic League match
18th September 1965
Celtic: Fallon, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Divers, Hughes, Lennox, Auld.
Rangers: Ritchie, Johansen, Provan, Watson, McKinnon, Greig, Henderson, Sorensen, Forrest, McLean, Johnston.
Rangers got off to the perfect start when centre-forward Jim Forrest gave them a lead in the 7th minute. The other two goals came from penalties; John Hughes for Celtic in 18 minutes
and McLean for Rangers two minutes later. Injuries played their part in the second half. A leg injury to Billy McNeill handicapped his play; while Jorn Sorensen, also with a leg knock, had to switch to the wing. Near the end, it was touch and go whether Rangers could hold on to their lead but Celtic just could not find the flair required to pierce a far-from-convincing Light Blues defence.
Rangers 2 Celtic 1
The loss of two points in only Celtic’s third league game of the season gave a boost to their major rivals and provided the manager a real problem to solve, as his team did not rise to the occasion.
Now, he had to lift the team for the League Cup return against Raith Rovers in only four days time.
As usual, while Glasgow was obsessed by the Old Firm clash, other events were regarded throughout the world as being slightly more important;
Bob and Bill
California’s Summers brothers, Bob and Bill, will try to break Donald Campbell’s world land speed record today.
It will be the last scheduled day at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The brothers, from Ontario in California, will be after Campbell’s wheel-drive record of 403.1mph in their 4-engined car Oldenrod.
What a Steal!
Lancashire police are looking for a man who walked on to a building site in Derby Lane, Hindley, near Wigan yesterday and drove away with a bulldozer!
And back in Scotland, two stories caught the eye;-
THIEVES TAKE RUGBY PLAYERS’ TROUSERS
For the second time within a year, the Sports Pavilion of Madras College, at Station Park, St Andrew’s, was broken into on Saturday during a rugby match and personnel belongings taken. These included wallets, watches and the players’ trousers!
Brits to the Fore!
Morton 1 Dunfermline 1
In spite of the fact that there were 3 Danes on the pitch at Cappielow for Morton – Sorensen, Madsen and Neilson – and there was one Venezualan – Chico Filho – for Dunfermline, the goals on either side were scored by players with the very British name of ‘Smith’.
Not Such a Good Trip
On the way over to Ibrox, the feeling of expectation and excitement on the bus had been quite evident. However, on the way back to Parkhead, it was quiet, with no one seemingly wanting to break the gloomy mood and everyone just wanting to get home.
It was an important lesson for me. When a team gets beaten in a major game like that, most of the reports tend to mention the disappointment of the fans and so on. Well, that afternoon, on that journey back to Celtic Park, I could see how gutted the players were and how much the defeat had hurt. Suddenly, my euphoria of the night before did not seem as important as it had been earlier and I just sat quietly and looked out of the window like everyone else!
Season so Far …
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