Arbroath Football Club had undergone quite a chequered career. Founded in 1878, they had initially been members of various minor leagues, only joining the Scottish League Division Two in 1921.
Arbroath won promotion to the First Division in season 1934-35, maintaining that status right through to season 1938-39, the last full one before the war.
When the league programme began again in 1945, Arbroath were once again in the Second Division. The club won promotion to the First Division in season 1958-59 but unfortunately were once more relegated the following season and by the time of this contest against Celtic, they had spent all of the decade of the 1960s in Division Two.
However, when it came to matters of the Scottish Cup, Arbroath FC had one major claim to fame. On 12th September 1885, in a first round tie at their home ground of Gayfield, Arbroath FC beat Aberdeen Bon Accord 36-0, the biggest-ever score in an official match in Britain. It was later alleged that Bon Accord arrived for the match without any form of football kit.
Arbroath were 15-up by half-time and a quote from a publication of the time, the Scottish Athletic Journal, declared that “the leather was landed between the posts 41 times but 5 of the tries were disallowed”.
18-year-old Jocky Petrie scored 13, still the record for most goals in a senior tournament although it was equalized by Archie Thompson when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 on 14th April 2001 in a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup.
Almost unbelievably, on the same afternoon as Arbroath were thrashing Bon Accord, 18 miles down the coast Dundee Harp were beating Aberdeen Rovers 35-0. The referee actually recorded that 37 goals had been scored but in a discussion with Harp’s secretary after the match about the final score, he agreed that it had been difficult to control the match and keep track of the tally. So, when he sent the result to the SFA, he put it down as 35-0!
But what if his initial figures were correct? That match in Dundee would then be the biggest-ever score in a senior match in Britain!
The largest victory in a senior football match anywhere was set on 31st December when the Malagasy club AS Adema beat SO L’Emyme 149-0 in a national championship match. Apparently, SO L’Emyme scored own goals throughout the match as a protest to a refereeing decision in a previous match.
Morning of the Match
I would doubt if any of us had any knowledge of all this at that time. Our main concern was the state of the pitch, so, as soon as we arrived at the ground around 1.30pm, we went out to check the conditions. Fortunately, although a bit bare of the green stuff thanks to some fairly harsh weather, it was flat and slightly damp, just the sort of surface we were used to in our country.
The reserve side had a match against Aberdeen that day. Pittodrie was the only ground in Scotland that the team travelled to by train and the guys in the second team would have reported to Queen Street station in time to catch the 9 o’clock express.
Back at Parkhead, though, just before 2.30pm, the manager brought us all into the dressing-room where he announced the team. The lucky ones started to get ready for the fray, those not in the side went out to join the folk milling around in the main foyer.
I could be accused of getting a little cocky at that period. I had been in the first team for quite a number of games now and, to be perfectly honest, I was expecting to be there every time. That’s not to say that I did not have some sympathy for the guys left out. In those days at Celtic Park, only ‘those-and-such-as- those’ got into the Boardroom (Board members of both clubs plus their VERY good friends) and as there were not the various hospitality suites so prevalent today, any not so very-good friends merely had to stand in the main foyer, where they could get a hot cuppa from the tea ladies who had their own little corner.
Frankly, while all this was going on, those players who had not been included just had to stand around, talking to each other and anybody who recognised us. And, when I was in that position, I was always threatening to punch the next one who said “Oh! you’re not in the team today?”
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark,
Gallagher, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld, Hughes.
Cargill, Stirling, Pierson,
Easton, Sellars, Jack, Cant, Finnie.
This did not turn out to the cakewalk that many of our fans expected. The Arbroath players treated the match like the cup final and put their heart and soul into it, making life difficult for us on more than one occasion. We always looked the more clinical side, though and got our first half off to a good start with three quick goals –
Chopper tried shot from well over 20 yards out, the Arbroath keeper mis-judged the flight and it slipped just under the bar. 1-0 Celtic
taking a pass from Yogi, Tam slammed one home from just outside the box. 2-0 Celtic
this time the shot came from Stevie, only 8 yards out. 3-0 Celtic
It was a happy dressing-room at the break. The main thing to do with a home cup tie is to avoid the chances of a replay and we all felt that we had already done that. Now, we just had to kill the match off and as the Boss stressed just before we went back out – “no mistakes!”
As requested, we did not make any errors but we found it hard to make another breakthrough either. Their keeper was in good form and they made some chances so it took till 8 minutes from the end to get another –
Bertie made it four from close in. Final Score Celtic 4 Arbroath 0
After the Match
We were seated in the bath when the Boss walked in. “Well”, he said “I have one piece of bad news and one bit of good news” He caught all our attention. “First, the bad news. The Reserves were beaten 3-1 by Aberdeen. And the good news is the score from Shielfield Park – Berwick Rangers 1 Rangers 0!”
We all cheered the news -it was certainly one of the happiest baths I have ever had!
Other Results in the Scottish Cup
Berwick Rangers 1 Rangers 0
Dundee 0 Aberdeen 5
Falkirk 3 Alloa 1
Hearts 0 Dundee Utd 3
Hibs 2 Brechin 0
Inverness Caley 1 Hamilton 3
Kilmarnock 2 Dunfermline 2
Morton 1 Clyde 1
Motherwell 0 East Fife 1
Partick Thistle 3 Dumbarton 0
Queen’s Park 3 Raith Rovers 2
St Johnstone 4 QOS 0
St Mirren 1 Cowdenbeath 1
Stirling Albion 1 Airdrie 2
When we came out of the ground after the match, we were all astonished by the size of the crowd still waiting outside. The attendance given out was 31,000 and it seemed that a considerable number of those had stayed behind, desperate to celebrate the demise of Rangers at Berwick. It was raucous and exciting, with every player being cheered to the echo as we made our way – very slowly – to the car park. What a night! As all of us were from the west of Scotland, we were all very aware of how crucial the Celtic/Rangers rivalry was to every fan. That night was just a example of how true that was.
China has protested to the Soviet Government against the alleged ill-treatment of Chinese students by the Soviet police in Moscow’s Red Square.
The Chinese claimed that 30 students were injured, 11 of them seriously, in scuffles after they placed a wreath at the Lenin mausoleum.
The 1,000,000th vehicle to cross the Tay Road Bridge passed the toll gates this week.
In five months, the bridge has collected considerably over half its first year’s expenditure and interest money and its financial success seems assured.
At the Flicks
Films showing in Glasgow in the first week of February 1967 were;-
La Scala: Southwest to Sonora – Marlon Brando
Green’s Playhouse: Where the Bullets Fly – Dawn Adams
Regal: Family Way – John & Hayley Mills
Grand Central: Victim – Dirk Bogarde
Regent: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? – James Coburn
Coliseum: Dr Zhivago – Omar Sharif/Julie Christie
Odeon: Return of the 7 – Yul Brynner