As I made my way up to Celtic Park on the Saturday, I was feeling, well, OK would be about right. To be honest, I was in two minds about playing. The ankle was unbelievably tight, not bad enough to make me limp or anything like that but definitely not 100%. However, when you are fighting for a regular place in a team like the Celtic of that period, you had to take every chance that was provided and I certainly was not going to pull out unless I was really incapacitated. They were going to give me an early run-over anyway to see how I was so I decided to say nothing until then.
Neilly, as usual, gave me the works in the warm-up. As he explained to me afterwards – he always did this – there was no point in giving the player an easy session. The whole idea of the work-out was to find out if the player could cope with anything that would be thrown at him in the course of the match. So, I gritted my teeth and got on with it….and came through it well. My physical fitness was not in doubt, so I did quite a few runs etc but what Neilly – and the Boss, who was watching – were checking was my ankle’s reaction to the twists and turns. I felt it tight but it did not stop me doing anything and I got the nod to play.
John Hughes had picked up a knock against St Johnstone the previous week and although this had not stopped him playing for the Scottish League side at Newcastle on the Wednesday, he aggravated it again in that match and was forced to sit out this one. Bobby Murdoch missed his first game of the season, with Jim Brogan coming in; Billy McNeill was back at centre-half; Bobby Lennox came in at inside-left, with Bertie Auld going back on the left-wing and Joe McBride reverting to his inside-right position.
Hamilton had been promoted from Division Two the previous season and were struggling in the higher division, well detached from the rest. They would not have been looking forward to their visit to Celtic Park.
Douglas Park was a compact ground, with a Main Stand, a covered enclosure opposite that and terraces behind both goals. It was not at its best at that period – having been put together in 1912/13, to a design by the well-known architect Archibald Leitch. Its record attendance had been the 28,690 who turned up for a Scottish Cup tie versus Hearts in March 1937. There was also a slope of 9 feet from left to right in front of the Main Stand.
Even though the attendance was only around the 20,000 mark, the start was held up for 10 minutes or so to let the late-comers in. And I suspect the delay put us off our stride for a bit as we did not start well. However, after a quarter-of-an-hour, we got going and the goals arrived ;
I fed Jimmy J, he struck a lovely pass over to Bertie Auld, who crossed it into the middle and there was Jinky again to head home. 1-0 Celtic
and a shock. Inside-left Gilmour receives the ball in the clear and races forward to slam the ball past Ronnie Simpson. 1-1
after a great run – it’s almost impossible to guess which way he goes – Jinky slams home another. 2-1 Celtic
we had made several chances but did not take any of them. However, Joe McBride made the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the play just on half-time. 3-1 Celtic
As you can imagine, it was a happy dressing-room, although we did get the usual warning about not letting-up, allowing them back into it etc. However, we had no intention of doing that and carried on after the interval the same way we had played before the break….and more goals soon came.
Bobby Lennox makes no mistake from a Stevie Chalmers cross. 4-1 Celtic
Bertie tripped as he went through and Joe made no mistake from the spot. 5-1 Celtic
Stevie raced through to score another. 6-1 Celtic
Bertie scored direct from a free-kick. 7-1 Celtic
In the Evening papers, it was wee Jimmy who made the headlines ;
It’s Johnstone All the Way
It had been a great afternoon for everyone connected with Celtic. And a bit later there was more good news, this time from Ibrox, where visitors Kilmarnock had taken a point off Rangers. So, that left the league table looking like this
P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 26 21 1 4 89 27 43
Rangers 26 18 5 3 74 25 41
Kilmarnock 28 17 3 8 65 39 37
Dunfermline 25 15 5 5 70 39 35
Dundee Utd 26 15 3 8 63 37 33
Reserves in Action
On the Friday evening, the reserve side had defeated Hamilton 2-0 at Celtic Park, where the team was Martin, Halpin, McCarron, Cattenach, Cushley, Hay, Connelly, H Quinn, J Quinn, Sweeney and Taylor. The scorers were Jimmy Quinn and Henry Quinn.
And on the Saturday afternoon, Celtic lost 0-3 to Airdrie in a combined reserve league match at Broomfield. The side was Kennedy, Young, Halpin, Henderson, McCarron, O’Neill, Cunningham, Connelly, J Quinn, Sweeney and McGowan.
A Game from the Past….and a Moment to Remember
Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC
A Game from the Past…….while a player at Forres Mechanics, outside-left Konrad Kapler was spotted by Celtic scouts while turning out for the Polish Army in a match at Johnstone and was signed by the club on 16th August 1947, making his first-team debut against Third Lanark at Parkhead in a Glasgow Cup tie on 10th September 1947.
And a Moment to Remember…..Konrad went on to make 8 appearances for Celtic in that season of 1947-48 – one in the League Cup and 7 in the league – but found it difficult to displace Johnny Paton and was given a free transfer in 1949. He moved south to play for teams in the north of England but never returned to live in his native country, by that time a Communist dictatorship
A pre-season exhibition baseball game at the Houston Astrodome marked the first test of Astroturf, a surface made of synthetic nylon fibres. The LA Dodgers beat the Houston Astros 8-3.
The Soviet satellite Kosmos 110 and its 2 passengers, the dogs Veterok and Ugolyok, returned to Earth safely having been aloft for 22 days.
A meeting was held in Rome between Pope Paul 6th and Michael Ramsay, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the first gathering between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Church of England religions for 400 years.