26th July 1967 – Fitness Levels Rise as Man in Black arrives at Ibrox

26th July 1967


Training was going on as usual. Tough would be the word to describe it but then why wouldn’t it be. We were all part of a team that had won every competition the previous season and we knew that the management – and fans – would expect a repeat performance in the forthcoming season. And the Boss was obviously happy with the effort we were putting in, judging by his comment in one of the evening dailies –


“One of the most pleasing things so far about our preparation is the willingness shown by the players. It is to their great credit that they all reported for the start of training in good shape. They have obviously kept themselves fit during the close season”.


And by that time, 10 days or so before the first friendly match of the season – v Spurs at Hampden – we had raised that fitness level quite considerably. We all felt good and the runs, passing and shooting exercises were being performed at an even higher temp than before.


However, that also meant that there was a queue at Bob Rooney’s door, all of whom were complaining of the little things, like blisters, muscles aches, sore feet etc. These are quite natural for any athlete in any sport and what you are looking for is a few words of sympathy and perhaps some form of rub to make the complaint feel better. In the Parkhead of that time, the latter was supplied in great number but as for the former, that depended on the injury ….and whether they thought you had brought the injury on yourself!


We heard little within the club about any new players coming in, unlike our rivals over at Ibrox who had been pursuing Orjan Persson of Dundee United for some time. From the coverage in the press, ever time the deal was about to be concluded, some minor details arose to scupper it. But on that particular day, Rangers did enter the transfer market and buy a foreign player, although it was not Persson. The newcomer was a Dane, Eric Sorenson, who had been Morton’s keeper for the previous three years and would now be number one at Ibrox

One topic of discussion among the boys        was that we were not playing any matches, apart from the one of 5th August. We usually got in a couple of game against smaller sides but that did appear to on the agenda this time round, as least as far as we knew. A list appeared in the press of the matches already lined up for the teams in Scotland –


2nd       August            Aberdeen v Chelsea

3rd        August            Motherwell v Ipswich

4th        August            Queen’s Park v British Amateur Select

Clydebank v Chelsea

5th        August           Celtic v Spurs

Arsenal v Rangers

Blackpool v Partick Thistle

Southend v Clyde

Tranmere v Motherwell

Dundee Utd v Sheffield Utd

Arbroath v Ipswich

Raith Rovers v Notts Forest

Hearts v Preston North End

Falkirk v Millwall

Walsall v Morton

Top of the Pops in the USA was the Doors, with Light My Fire. In the UK, A Whiter Shade of Pale, by Procul Harum led the list.