After the victory against Hibs on the Saturday, we had been told that we would be heading down to Seamill on the Monday for a few days, where the Hydro, as usual, would be our base. The place was a great favourite with the guys, particularly those who had young children, as they were guaranteed the full night’s sleep, something they did not always get at home.
Seamill Hydro was rather a quaint hotel, possibly at that time in need of a make-over in terms of décor but it was very much a home-from-home for the guys, who invariably went round the place in tee-shirts, shorts and bare feet. This outfit was de rigeur because the temperature was much too high for guys like us. However, what the owners had taken into account was that a number of guests – most of them well into the later years of their lives – lived there on a regular basis. They liked the place to be warm and as they there all the time and we were occasional visitors, the temperature was at a level to suit them. That was the reason for half naked football players wandering round the hotel at various times of day.
The day always started early. We reported downstairs in our track suits and trainers and set off for a walk with Neilly Mochan. We headed north along the main road towards Largs, cut down a small pathway at the far end of West Kilbride golf course to the beach, then headed back towards the Hydro along the sand for breakfast.
That bright start to the day could be followed by training later on – this was invariably performed on the front lawn of the hotel – followed by a little session in the swimming pool. On one classic occasion, I was challenged by Chopper that I would not dive from the railing outside the ladies changing rooms into the deep end of the pool. Unable to resist a challenge, I climbed up to the appropriate spot and prepared to take a header. Now, as the pool was only about 4 feet deep at that point and I was diving from about 6 feet above the water, it probably was not the brightest move that I have ever undertaken but I was going to perform what we called back then a ‘gutser’ where you hit the surface flat on your front and only went a few inches into the pool. That, at least, was the theory.
Unfortunately, when I was up in the air and just before I hit the water, I heard someone roar out “idiot” and when I surfaced, having not touched a single part of the bottom, and quite pleased with myself, a very angry Mr Stein was standing there, calling me a ‘prat’ and threatening to fine me. I was very embarrassed and the situation was not helped when I saw that Chopper was almost wetting himself standing beside the Boss!
In the afternoons, we very often went for a round of but this arrangement could also be varied sometimes and we would golf in the morning and train in the afternoons. The course at West Kilbride was always in excellent condition and the only thing that spoiled our day were the hooligans. There were two of these – I never found out their proper names but one was always referred to as Jinky and the other was known as Pumper – and their big trick (and also their most annoying one) was to run out from the bushes where they had been hiding, grab the ball of your carefully placed drive down the fairway, throw it into some other bushes or even worse, into some deep bunkers then run away to safety back in their hideaway. They were always being threatened with severe retribution!
The papers were having their say on the Scottish Cup ties coming up.
‘Special Scottish Cup training’ usually involves hard graft, overtime work and stacks of practice with the ball.
Not with Celtic. All their stars went off today for their pre-cup preparations – and it will be three whole days of golf, salt-water baths and relaxation for all but two men.
The ones who will work hard while the others enjoy a well-earned luxury holiday are John Hughes and John Cushley.
They will be there with full training kit because although they are now fully recovered physically from serious injuries they are not quite tuned up to the high standard set at Celtic Park’.
Rangers also got a mention.
‘Goalkeeper Jock Wallace, of Berwick Rangers, the only player-manager engaged in Saturday’s Scottish Cup programme, has no serious injury problems to solve before the visit of Rangers from Ibrox in the only all-ticket tie of the day.
Jock, back with Berwick after spells with Airdrie and West Bromwich Albion, said today “I have no injury worries. However, I won’t name a team till later. Tomorrow evening and again on Thursday evening we will train as usual at Old Meadowbank’.
‘Celtic will return to Glasgow on Wednesday afternoon but before that they will have TALKED a lot about the Scottish Cup and the Arbroath tie in particular. On Thursday morning, all the words spoken at Seamill will be changed to deeds when a full-scale game will be staged at Barrowfield Park’.
‘Celtic’s supporters, well-used to a football diet of caviar and champagne, have been promised even richer fare in the near future.
That clever manager-cum-showman Jock Stein has leaked the news that his players are now working on a brand-new and revolutionary system…a system in which every man on the field plays an attacking role.
To preserve an air of mystery and to keep the fans in happy suspense, Mr Stein flatly declines to release details but he says – “This plan will have its premiere in February, when we play our challenge match with Dinamo Zagreb”’.
‘Good news for Celtic fans. The club will receive a ‘generous’ supply of the 23,000 tickets for their all-ticket league match against Airdrie on Saturday week’.
‘Celtic’s “life of luxury” preparation for the Scottish Cup ended today – and tomorrow Jock Stein may announce his team to met Arbroath.
Bobby Lennox, out of the team last week because of a slight injury is fit again….John Hughes worked very hard at training this week while his team-mates enjoyed themselves on the golf-course and the swimming pool at Seamill but I understand that he will be putting in more tuning-up work before he makes an appearance at outside-left’.
The much mentioned full-scale practice match went ahead at Barrowfield, this one a first team versus second team affair. These were always tough games as our reserve side was better than many a first team. I was up against Tony Taylor, who was very quick and I got quite a work-out. However, it was better than training, which, although the coaches tried to keep it varied, could become a bit repetitive.
‘Cup trouble for Celtic! Unfit for tomorrow’s tie against Arbroath at Celtic Park are THREE of manager Jock Stein’s pool of eight forwards – Joe McBride, Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Lennox.
McBride, who has not played in the first team this year, has now been told to rest from football for a fortnight to give his injured knee a chance to recover.
Johnstone was unable to accompany the other players to Seamill on Monday and did not train yesterday. And Lennox, an absentee against Hibs, is still receiving treatment for a leg injury’.
The main story in one of the evening editions came under the heading of ….
‘If there is anything certain in the chancy game of football it is this – the names of Celtic and Rangers will be in the black velvet bag when the second round draw for the Scottish Cup is made at the S.F.A. headquarters on Monday.
While dog-eat-dog ties such as Dundee v Aberdeen, Hearts v Dundee United, Kilmarnock v Dunfermline and Morton v Clyde were being thrown up in round one, the “Old Firm” were being given the easiest possible football business tomorrow.
THE Rangers, from Glasgow, have been ordered south of the border to meet the Rangers of Berwick – and that is where comparisons must begin and end. Jock Wallace, Berwick’s goalkeeper, manager and captain, has all his players fit and he has already told them they have everything to win and nothing to lose at Shielfeild Park….
…Somehow, though, I cannot see the big Rangers being intimidated – and the there should be rapid execution in England as Willie Henderson, Alex Smith, Jim Forrest, George McLean and Willie Johnston start looking for goals’.
Now, that comment in the papers did not carry a name but the journalist in question must surely have blushed on Saturday evening when the Scottish Cup results came through!
An Airdrie man who had drunk 8 vodkas, 4 whiskies and 4 exports, got into a car lying in the forecourt of a filling station and tried to drive it off. He was later charged with driving a car without the owner’s consent, driving without insurance and without a driving licence.
At Airdrie Sheriff Court , he was fined £10 on the first charge, fined £5 for having no insurance and fined £15 plus two years disqualification for not having a licence.
The Maid of the Loch will sail on Loch Lomond again this year – although she made a loss of £6000 last summer.
Revealing that in 1966, the Maid of the Loch carried 35,000 fewer passengers fewer than in 1965, the general manager blamed bad weather in the earlier part of the season.
Beauty in Motion
‘Miss World’, India’s Reita Faria, flew into Heathrow Airport today, wearing a fur coat and a new white spring hat which she had bought in Guyana.
Reita is travelling the world and enjoys the seasons, sometimes out of rotation. She has just returned from Surinam, Trinidad and Guyana via Los Angeles, where the weather is warmer although London’s current weather is not as wintry as it usually is.