Over the weekend following the 0-0 draw in the Scottish Cup final, the headlines in the press blasted out various thoughts ;-
It Must Still Be Celtic
It’s a Battle of the Bosses
Rangers Plan is the Winner
Salute Symon’s Courage
Rangers’ plan on the Saturday had been firstly, to switch their wingers, as it was felt that Davie Wilson would be the better man to stop Tam Gemmell getting forward. This he did very effectively. And secondly, they had brought Bobby Watson into the side to more or less play as a midfield destroyer, breaking up Celtic’s play in that area and giving our guys little time to dwell on the ball. This also proved to be a very effective ploy.
As one journalist put it –
‘Rangers line-up on Saturday brought gasps from the fans, puzzled looks from the Celtic players and, I imagine, a slight psychological advantage.
How well did Scot Symon’s plan work?
Well, enough to give Rangers a 0-0 draw…..AND TO GIVE THEM A NEW FAITH IN THEIR OWN ABILITY!
Another journalist said – ‘
The one forecast I’m going to make about Wednesday’s Scottish Cup Final replay at Hampden is ….TACTICAL WARFARE WILL BE EVEN MORE SURPRISING THAN IT WAS ON SATURDAY!’
The pressure was on for the players. From being in with a shout of three trophies we were now down for two, with a crucial match coming up on the Wednesday. If only that header from Billy had gone in instead of hitting the bar….still, there was no point in looking back and we just had to get ready for the replay.
Before then, the reserve squad had an important match and I was involved. It was the second leg of the Second Eleven Cup final and it was played at Fir Park against Motherwell. We were 5-1 up from the first leg and the team that Monday night was Martin, myself, McCarron, Cattenach, Cushley, Brogan, Halpin, Connelly, J Quinn, Sweeney, O’Neill. This match was closer than the first but we still won 3-2, the goals coming from a Jim Brogan penalty and a brace from Jimmy Quinn.
As you can imagine, it was a happy bunch of players who made the bus trip back to Celtic, although I must confess that my mind was on bigger matters. I had played really well that night, both in defence and attack, and was hopeful that I might be brought into contention for a place in the first team for Wednesday’s replay. But, although I hovered about a bit when we arrived back at Parkhead, nobody said anything and like the others, I pushed off home.
Most of Tuesday was uneventful. I spent most of the day at the Dental Hospital, then drove over to Celtic Park late afternoon for the normal Tuesday night training. As we had played the night before, we only did a light session, all the boys talking about the match the previous Saturday and the replay the following night. I then got showered and dressed and was just walking towards the front door when I heard the Boss’s voice calling to me “Cairney”.
When I turned round, he motioned with his head to his office and I went along the foyer to join him, as usual in a situation like that, wondering what I had done wrong?
However, inside the office, he told me that I would be playing the following night in place of Ian Young, so I was to make sure that I got a good night’s sleep, eat well and then report with the rest of the boys at Celtic Park in the late afternoon.
I was really pleased and went out to my car with a spring in my step. Then, as I realised the consequences of what I had just heard, I winced. I would once again have to phone those nice receptionists at the Dental Hospital and tell them that I would not be there the following day and could they kindly cancel – and re-arrange – the patients booked in for me. I was not looking forward to seeing the receptionists two days later!
No tickets had been printed for a possible replay and it would a case of pay at the gate, which would cause quite a pile-up at various areas.
Dundee’s Charlie Cooke was transferred to Chelsea for £80,000.
John Greig was voted Scottish Footballer of the Year, the second time the award had been voted for by the Scottish Football Writers. Billy McNeill had won the inaugural award the previous year.
Last time round, I asked which Rangers player always called me ‘Cairney’ and the answer was the late Alec Willoughby (1944-2014). Alec and I went back a long way, as he was playing for Drumchapel Amateurs when I was with Queen’s Park Victoria Eleven.
In fact, Alec never got over the fact that when the Scottish Amateur U-18 team was selected in 1961, I was picked at inside-right instead of him! But he was a nice laddie and I was sad to hear of his demise.
This time round, the question is also about the Old Firm; the father played for Rangers in the 1930s; the son played for Celtic in the 1960s. Who were they?
A talking mynah bird which reportedly uses bad language has been removed from an exhibit cage at Washington Zoo. It will b be kept in solitary confinement or in a large community of other birds, where its bad language will go unnoticed. But it won’t be put among the talking birds as they might pick up something they shouldn’t!
Italy’s Roman Catholic priests, who for centuries have worn long cassocks both on and off the duty, have been given permission to use clerical dark suits. But the close-fitting cassocks must still be worn in church or religious duties and when talking religion in schools.
In Hong Kong yesterday, Olympic gold-medallist Chris Brasher said that the IOC was more concerned about horses than human beings. He said that Olympic horse events for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico have been shifted to sea level at Acapulco because horsemen protested that their animals would die in the rarefied air.