28th September 1968: Celtic v Aberdeen – League

26th September

There was a particularly good atmosphere at training that Thursday morning. Firstly, we had achieved a good result the previous evening, which sent us through to the semi-final of the League Cup; secondly, the young lads in the team against Hamilton had shown what they could do it given the chance and were very pleased about that; and thirdly, the guys who had been injured all seemed to be on the mend if not quite yet available for selection.

The Boss said little but was in good form at the training. He must, though, have spoken to the press after the session as there was a large headline in one of the evening papers concerning the forthcoming match against Aberdeen –

Celtic Set to Play the Cup X1

  • and this was obviously a little reminder to the young guys that, no matter how well they had played against Hamilton, they were still some way off the first team. It was a tough system…but we have all been there!

There was also news in the papers that Scot Symon had taken over as manager of Partick Thistle. He had been 13 years at Ibrox but before then, he had had a good career as a player at Dundee and Rangers and was also capped as a cricketer for Scotland.

27th September

A light session as was the norm on the eve of a match. The Dons would be the visitors to Parkhead on the Saturday. Most unusually for them, they were struggling a bit at the start of the league campaign and were in the bottom half of the table.

However, as the old saying goes ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ and the Dons had enough players in the latter category for their initial poor form to improve. The Boss always had a great deal of respect for them and went out of his way to stress that we would have a tough match on our hands.

He obviously was a bit more loquacious to the press that morning, as these pieces were in the papers later that evening –

‘Old Firm’ Are After Europe Victory Boost

‘Celtic will be back to their start-of-the-season forward line when they meet Aberdeen at Parkhead tomorrow. The only change from the team that swept through the League Cup qualifying section without dropping a point is Jim Craig keeps his place at right-back and Willie O’Neill is replaced by Tommy Gemmell.

Jock Stein said after this morning’s training session – “This is going to be a hard game…and one we want to win in view of Wednesday’s European Cup tie with St Etienne”.

Day of the Match 28th September

We had been told to report around 1.30pm for the start at 3pm and by the time I got there it was chucking it down and even the diehards who always turned up early were looking for shelter. However, when we went out to have a look at the pitch, it seemed to be fine, obviously wet on the surface but no sign of mud or anything that. The heavier the ground, the more it effects the movement of the ball and can make the swinging play a bit more difficult to put into action. Naturally, visiting teams want the pitch at Celtic Park to be as heavy as possible to hinder the home side but on that day, while the top was wet, the ground itself was in good condition.

The Teams


Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Connelly, Hughes.
Sub: Chalmers


Hermiston, Shewan
Peterson, McMillan, Craig
Rae, Robb, Forrest, Smith, Taylor.
Sub: Buchan

The Play

Supporters in general have a tendency to wait till the last minute before dashing to get into the ground for a match and Celtic fans are no different. The problem that day was that we opened the scoring extremely early! –

Opening minute…..Jim Brogan sent a good pass to George Connelly, who wheeled and fired a fierce shot, from all of 30 yards, right along the ground and into the net past Bobby

Clark in the Dons goal.  1-0 Celtic

As you can imagine, that early success gave us a great deal of confidence and we started to spread the ball about, Yogi and Willie Wallace both hitting a post with shots. The Dons, however, refused to buckle and made some good chances of their own. And in the 19th minute, they went one better –

19 minutes…….Outside-right Tommy Rae beat three of our defenders before sending a shot low and hard into the corner.  1-1

As soon as the ball went into the net, we noticed that the linesman had his flag up, so we surrounded the referee and ‘advised’ him to speak to the official on the line. Mr Padden of Airdrie did so but then pointed to the centre circle, indicating that a goal had been awarded. The defence was not happy and probably over-did the heavy tackling for the rest of the first half. At the other end, Yogi, Lemon and Jinky all missed reasonable opportunities.

It was not a happy dressing-room at the interval. The Boss had been unable to find out why the flag had gone up in the first place while the defence was annoyed at losing a goal. And when the second half started, it continued to be a pretty close encounter, play flowing from end-to-end; according to the press later, Celtic always looked the team in control but the Dons were never out of it. The winner came 14 minutes from time-

76 minutes……this was an amazing goal. Bobby Clark had caught the ball from a shot and was standing in the penalty area holding it….Bobby Lennox stood beside him to put a bit of pressure on and suddenly Clark dropped the ball….he dived to get it back but Bobby was quicker, dragged the ball to one side before flicking it into the empty goal…the Aberdeen players converged on the referee, claiming that Clark had been impeded but after consulting a linesman, the referee allowed the goal.

Final Score  Celtic  2  Aberdeen  1



On the same afternoon at Pittodrie, Celtic Reserves beat their Aberdeen equivalents 4-1. The team was Fallon, McGrain, O’Neill, Cattenach, Hay, Clark, Gallagher, McBride, Quinn, McMahon, Macari; and the goals came from Joe McBride (2), Lou Macari and Davie Cattenach