21st March 1966: Partick Thistle v Celtic – Part One



I could not believe it! Due to my physical endeavors on the Saturday, the tough fitness test then the match, I did not go out on the Saturday evening. Indeed, I went to bed early, hit the pillow and that was it!

But when I woke up on the Sunday morning I felt as it there was a great weight lying in my ankle. And to make things worse, it was throbbing as well. I could hardly get out of bed, far less leave the house and I spent most of the day using hot towels on the ankle, then applying some ice cubes wrapped in plastic. Nowadays, of course, you can just pull a bag of peas out of the freezer but it wasn’t quite so easy in those days!

Mum was her usual self, mindful of her ‘wee boy’s’ problems – “well, son, they certainly cannot make you play with an ankle like that”. It sounded as though Celtic was a slave labour camp.

I was more philosophic – “Oh! but they will, Mum, they will”. While Dad was realistic, making sure that the paths in the garden were clear of leaves and debris, then overseeing me as I walked round and round. I noticed that the neighbours were all watching – surreptitiously of course. By the end of the afternoon, before darkness set in, the ankle was feeling a lot better. However, I also had that sinking feeling you sometimes get in the pit of your stomach when you know trouble is brewing. I was pretty sure that if Neilly put me through the fitness routine tomorrow, I would not pass it!



Next up was the Jags, Partick Thistle to give the club its proper name and it was a league match, only two days after the game against Hamilton.

The Jags were two-thirds of the way down the table at that point, with the usual problems of teams in that position, not scoring enough goals and losing too many at the other end. They did have some very good players. The ex-Ranger George Niven had the goalkeeper’s jersey; Donnie McKinnon –brother of Ronnie with Rangers – was at centre-half; future Celtic assistant Boss Davie McParland took up the inside-right role; future Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh played as a striker; and future Scotland international Arthur Duncan was on the wing.



While I was concerned about my ankle, the directors and management of Celtic and Liverpool had weightier matters to attend to. They could not agree on dates for the Cup-Winners’ Cup semi-final.

Celtic wanted the ties to take place on 13th April and 19th April. Liverpool couldn’t agree to the 19th date as they were due to play Sunderland two days earlier and the Yoker Park club weren’t agreeable to a change. The Merseysiders had suggested April 13th  and April 25th  to Celtic as being more suitable.

In the end it may be that UEFA will have to step in and decide the dates for them.


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According to the Sunday papers, I had merely a slight problem with my ankle and I would be back in again on the Monday night against the Jags. Unfortunately, I was not so sure. By the Sunday night, there had been a definite improvement but it still felt far from right and I would report to Parkhead on the day of the match for an assessment – which is a polite way of saying they would have me twisting and turning for about 15 minutes. I couldn’t wait!



The question last time was a little tricky. I asked what was the biggest attendance at Hampden Park for a floodlight match. Now, the catch is the definition of a ‘floodlight’ match; it is one which starts under floodlights, so the answer to the question is an international match between Scotland and Poland on 13th October 1965, when 108,000 were there. Now before anyone suggests that the crowd for the match against Italy at the same venue on 9th November 1965 was bigger, can I point out that the crowd for that match was 101,000.

This week’s question is easy. Why are Partick Thistle called ‘The Jags?’.



Deaths in the Dunes

All 30 persons aboard United Arab Airlines Flight 749 were killed when the plane crashed while attempting to land in Cairo during a sandstorm. It was later found that a defect in the altimeter caused the crew to misjudge its height and it hit sand dunes on its approach.



Virginia Hill, a well-known figure in organised crime and the girlfriend of gangster Bugsy Siegal, of Las Vegas fame, died from an overdose of sleeping pills.  



East German border guards shot two children who had sneaked into an area near the Berlin Wall after nighfall. Jorg Hartmann (10) died at the scene; while Lothar Schleusener (13) died in hospital of his injuries. The relatives of the two boys were told that the children had died in an accident and the facts were not revealed until German reunification.