31st December 1967
No doubt many of the guys had enjoyed the evening of the 30th, after the Dunfermline match. The Pars always gave Celtic a good workout at that time and the last game of the year had been no exception. So, I suppose we were all entitled to enjoy ourselves but with moderation, as we had two games in three days coming up.
That was the reason why we were all in on the morning of Hogmanay and put in a fairly light session on the track. That word ‘we’ should perhaps be qualified as one of our number was struggling a bit –me!
Late in the Pars match, on a run forward, I had been tackled by two of their players, one coming in from each side, and my left ankle took a real battering. After Neilly’s cold water treatment, I managed to finish the match but on the way home and all during the night, I could feel it stiffening and it was extremely painful on pressure and turning.
By the morning of the 31st, when I reported to Parkhead, it was swollen, hot and very tender to touch. When I saw the reaction of both Bob Rooney and Doc Fitzsimmons, I just knew there was no chance of me playing at least in the Clyde match the following day. And the Boss was fuming, not with me I hasten to add but with the two Pars players involved in the challenge, whom he almost accused of targeting me. He then went on to tell Bob that he wanted me back fit as soon as possible so I just knew that for the next few days I would be spending a fair bit of time in the treatment room.
Morning of the Match
My parents did not go in for great celebrations at New Year, so I was in bed shortly after the bells, although it seemed a fair while before I dropped off, long enough to hear the noise from all the revellers going up and down the street.
On New Year’s Day, I was the first player to arrive at the park and was soon on the treatment table. Later on, the rest of the squad arrived in dribs and drabs, there were handshakes and good wishes all round and the atmosphere could hardly have been bettered, although I suspect that I was a fairly miserable beggar all the way through the festivities.
Then it was a short bus journey across the south side of the city to Shawfield, where a good number of fans were waiting to greet us. And, as you might imagine, among the ‘sair heids’, there were many full of the spirit of the New Year.
At this time, Clyde were a part-time side and were without a manager, their previous boss Davie White having recently left for Ibrox. They were in 7th place in the table, with a record of
P17, W9, D1, L7, F28, A23, Pts19
compared to Celtic’s
P16, W13, D2, L1, F47, A13, Pts28.
However, no matter the difference in league placing the Bully Wee players always rose to a challenge against Celtic and they would be up for another one that afternoon.
It seemed to have been raining for days in Glasgow and when the guys went out to check on conditions, they found that the going would be heavy. That was not good news for us because those types of conditions are great levelers and as Celtic would have been regarded as the better team of the two, the Clyde players would have been very happy to see the sticky surface.
As well as yours truly out with injury, the Boss had left out John Clark and Jimmy Johnstone.
Anderson, Fraser, McHugh
McFarlane, Hood, Staite, Stewart, Hastings.
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Lennox, Chalmers, McBride, Auld, Hughes.
This was quite an odd match to watch as Clyde scored first, Celtic knocked in three before half-time and then the Shawfield men came back in to the game with another just after the break. And, as one of the following day’s papers pointed out – ‘Celtic’s defence did not look comfortable at these stages’.
Four goals in the first half caught the attention of the fans –
Anderson hit a great shot which dipped in just under the bar. 1-0 Clyde
a cut-back from the bye-line by Jim Brogan was met by Steve Chalmers 1-1
A fine shot by Brogie was side-footed in by Joe McBride. 2-1 Celtic
This time a shot by Stevie was deflected in off Glasgow. 3-1 Celtic
The Boss no doubt was quite happy at the interval ( due to my injury I was not present ) but he would have been less happy after two minutes of the second half –
McFarlane was allowed to come forward unchallenged and he took his chance to lash a great strike past Ronnie. 3-2 Celtic
From then to the end, we dominated the play but the Clyde guys worked hard too and there was always the worry that they might get another breakaway, as they had for their second goal.
A worrying feature for us was that Ronnie took what looked like quite a severe knock when going up for a high ball and needed some on-field treatment before resuming; and nobody in the Celtic camp was pleased when Stevie scored what looked like a perfectly good goal near the end which was disallowed for offside.
Final Score Clyde 2 Celtic 3
It was a happy dressing –room at the end but the Boss was quick to warn us – as if we didn’t know – that there was another game coming up on the morrow. So, it was a more subdued squad of players on the bus journey back to Celtic Park; once there, the vast majority headed for their cars but two waited behind. Ronnie, who was being taken to hospital for a look at his injury and me, who went back on to the treatment table.