26th August 1968
Training on the Monday morning was fairly light, as both the first team and the reserves had matches on the Wednesday. I noticed that Ronnie was getting treatment for a leg knock sustained against Rangers but apart from him, everyone else seemed to be OK.
The reports in the evening papers were more concerned that day with the Scottish League side for a forthcoming match –
‘Seven Celts, two Rangers and the Callaghan brothers make up the Scottish League team which will play the League of Ireland at Dalymount Park, Dublin on Wednesday of next week. The team is Simpson (Celtic), W Callaghan (Dunfermline), Gemmell, Murdoch (Celtic), McKinnon, Greig (Rangers), Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace (all Celtic), T Callaghan ( Dunfermline), Hughes (Celtic)’.
And in another paper, Rangers current problem of not scoring enough goals was highlighted in a most unusual headline, a player more normally known as a defender getting a new role –
Jardine the New Ibrox Striker
27th August 1968
My Dad’s 58th birthday, which I thought at the time was quite old. Nowadays, thanks to my own increasing age, I think that ‘quite old’ refers to someone in their 90s?
When the team sheet went up at the end of training, John Fallon was in for Ronnie, the rest of the side made up of the guys who had beaten Rangers. I decided against going to see the Boss as I noticed that some pressmen were there and a couple of directors had also turned up. So, I decided to say nothing and was on my way out towards the front door, when Sean Fallon asked if he could have a word with me.
Once we had gone a little down the tunnel, he told me that he had been most impressed with my performance in the reserve match against Rangers, both in the right-back slot I started in but also in the centre-half role I ended up in due to slight injuries elsewhere. To say I was surprised was putting it mildly but I thanked him for the remarks and went home in a very good frame of mind, just hoping that he had said the same to the Boss over the last few days. I was also looking forward to the reserve match for reasons I will describe later.
The Day of the Match 28th August 1968
One of the morning papers went out of its way to highlight the difference between the two halves of the Old Firm at that point with this piece –
‘As Celtic, the only team with a 100% success record in the League Cup, go flat out for victory at Cappielow and a place in the quarter-finals, Rangers, with a new look team, will be trying to find the blend to bring success in the League Championship.
Rangers manager Davie White has dropped Dave Smith and Alex Ferguson for the ‘nothing at stake’ match against the Jags – and another established star might disappear if Willie Henderson passes a tea-time fitness test.
It was a change in the protocol from Saturday. For this match, the first-team was travelling, so they all came in around 4pm to get the coach down to Cappielow; while the reserve guys, like me, were told to report around 6pm for the 7.30pm kick-off. It was amazingly quiet but even so, there were still the few diehards there to give us all a boost.
The Teams at Cappielow
Arentoft, Rankine, Gray
Bartram, Allan, Mason, Sweeney, Taylor.
Brogan, Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Connelly, Hughes.
The match was apparently described pretty succinctly in one of the following day’s papers –
‘Celtic displayed their full array of talents at Cappielow last night with a superb demonstration pf pace, skill and all-round ability that left the Morton players and the fans breathless.
That Celtic won 3-0 and so qualified for the League Cup quarter-finals didn’t seem to matter all that much.
Super mobility and teamwork outclassed the bewildered, gallant Morton who, to their credit, never gave up their unequal task. Two goals came in the first half –
a Bobby Murdoch free-kick was headed down by Billy McNeill right to the feet of Willie Wallace. 1-0 Celtic
pass through the middle by Chopper, Bobby Lennox was quick on to it and hammered a great shot keeper Crawford. 2-0 Celtic
Morton apparently looked yards slower in thought and action and seldom threatened the Celtic defence. The fans had to wait, though, until after the interval for another goal –
a piece of magic from Jinky out on the right, taking on four players before sending over a cross which Lemon touched into the path of Yogi, who scored from 6 yards. 3-0 Celtic
And that was that. The crowd, of course, around the 25,000 mark, or at least the Celtic section of it, wanted more goalss, as they usually do, but sometimes things don’t work out for one reason or another and when the final whistle went, it was still –
Morton 0 Celtic 3
Over at Ibrox, Rangers beat Partick Thistle 2-1, which left the table after five matches as –
In the reserve match at Parkhead, we demolished Dundee United 4-1.
I mentioned earlier that I was quite looking forward to this match and the reason was that a number of new boys were going to be in the side. We had Kenny Dalglish in midfield, Paul Wilson on the right wing and Lou Macari up front.
I had seen them at training, of course, but this was the first time I saw three in action and I was much impressed.
I was feeling a bit old at 25 but then I looked in front of me and noticed that John Clark, Joe McBride and Stevie Chalmers were also lining up, so I suddenly did not feel quite so bad. The full reserve side that night was;
Wraith, Craig, Gorman, Dalglish, Clarke, Clark, Wilson, McBride, Chalmers, Macari and Clarke