Shock at Tynecastle…..For Me!
From lunch at the Norton Hotel, we travelled by coach to Tynecastle, where we did all the pre-match activities which were pertinent at all football grounds before a match ; check the pitch to see if there any doubtful areas, have a word with our opponents who were doing the same, then come back into the dressing-room for the Boss to announce the eleven players who would be involved that afternoon. And that was where the shock occurred!
As the Boss read out the first three names – Simpson, McNeill, Gemmell – every single player in the room turned and looked at me, most raising eyebrows as if to say “what have you done that we don’t know about?”. I found it pretty embarrassing and also very wounding because I had no idea, either, of why I had been dropped.
Anyway, I quickly realised that if I was going to ask the obvious question, ‘why?’, then that was not the moment to ask, so I bit my tongue, took the ticket for the stand which was handed out to me, went round the dressing room to wish the boys all the best and headed for the stand.
In the foyer of the stadium, as I went through the door from the dressing-room area, I bumped into the club treasurer, Desmond White.
“You had better hurry up” he said, “it’s only twenty-five minutes to kick-off”.
“I’m not playing”.
He looked surprised. “Why”.
I smiled. “I’m afraid that you don’t ask that question, Mr White, the team is just read out and I wasn’t in it”.
“Oh! right” was his only comment and we made our separate ways, him to the Board Room and me to the Main Stand.
The Celtic team, then, that came out at Tynecastle in front of a crowd of 45,965 was Simpson, McNeill, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Lennox and Hughes.
In the home side were two future Celts, left-back Chris Shevlane and centre-forward Willie Wallace.
Celtic started well, playing pretty well considering how tired we had looked earlier in the day and could have gone ahead when first Charlie Gallagher and then John Hughes missed relatively easy chances.
Then disaster struck for Hearts. In only the 5th minute, midfielder George Miller collided with one of his own players and went down heavily, holding his head. The referee signaled quickly for a stretcher and Miller was carried off, never to return in this game.
They might have been down to 10 men but Hearts now started to play the better football and made some chances. To be blunt, our defence looked uncertain, to say the least, with Billy McNeill obviously not happy in the right-back berth and constantly moving in towards his more accustomed position in the heart of the defence. This left gaps, particularly down the left.
And the Jam Tarts took advantage, with Willie Wallace proving a real threat to the Celtic rearguard. The chances came along, then the first goal arrived ;-
Wallace left Cushley lying on the after the centre-half had missed with his tackle, pulled the ball past two other defenders and slipped it past Ronnie Simpson. 1-0 Hearts
As I was not there, I do not know what was said in the dressing-room at half-time but I would have imagined that the Boss was not a happy man, demanding that his defence be much more solid and wanting much more from his midfield and attack.
At the start of the second half, we now had two men –Clark and Cushley – covering Wallace, while up front, we were brighter and this paid off quickly ;=
a cross by Jimmy Johnstone was tapped in by John Hughes at the far post. 1-1.
We were by now looking a lot better but just when I, like the rest of the Hoops support, was expecting another Celtic goal, Hearts struck again ;-
and it was that man Wallace again, sidestepping Cushley, cutting past Clark before knocking the ball home. 2-1 Hearts
That was a real blow to us and were tried to come back into the match. But, even with 10 men, Hearts were looking the better team and soon got a third ;-
a free-kick by outside-right Hamilton was floated into the middle and inside-left Kerrigan was first there to force the ball home. 3-1 Hearts
The whole team protested that Kerrigan was offside but in spite of their complaints, the referee, Bobby Davidson, let it stand.
We never stopped working but there was not much in the way of flair and chances were few. Towards the end, though, we did pull one back;-
a cross into the middle and Joe McBride headed home a spectacular goal. 3-2 Hearts.
In the 13 minutes left, we threw everything at Hearts but although there was plenty of effort, nothing was working out too well and as the final whistle blew, Hearts were still 3-2 ahead.
It was our 3rd defeat of the season and we were now in 2nd place in the table, behind Rangers on goal average.
We had all been hoping to reach the semi-final stage of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup against Dynamo Kiev but the trip must have taken a lot more out of us than we thought, as the whole team looked below par on the day.
I was particularly disappointed at missing out on the afternoon. Some years later, in a chat with the Boss, he admitted that he had left me out because the Chairman. Bob Kelly, had insisted on following that club rule that players should apologise for being ordered off and I had refused to do so.
That refusal cost me my place in the side and I was confident enough to say that my absence upset the balance of the defence too. Or was that just me being too big-headed?
A Game from the Past…and a Moment to Remember
Sponsored by the Jim Craig CS
A Game from the Past……..After coming through the ranks at St Mungo’s Academy, Townhead Benburb Juveniles and Parkhead Juniors, outside-right William Ribchester joined Celtic in the autumn of 1916, making his first-team debut in the 3-1 win at Hampden over Queen’s Park on 11th November 1916.
And a Moment to Remember…..Bill’s only other appearance for the club came the following week, when he was again deputizing for Andy McAtee, against Partick Thistle at Parkhead, the match ending in a 0-0 draw.
Bill Ribchester joined the Army in 1917 and was a lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps by 1918. At the end of the war, he returned to Scotland for spells with Albion Rovers, St Johnstone, Armadale and St Mirren.
A young soccer star from Dundee played in a vital English First Division league match on Saturday tense with worry that something had happened to relatives who were travelling 150 miles to see him.
After the match, which his side, Leeds United, lost 0-2 to Sunderland, 19-year-old Peter Lorimer’s fears were confirmed. He was told that a cousin had been killed and three other close relatives had been injured in a car crash as they drove south to the match.
How the Other Half Live
Dr Martin Luther King spent some days living in a slum apartment in Chicago to experience the problems of living in such an environment at first-hand.
A snow storm in north-east USA killed 165 people.