29th July 1967: Joe to Go Slow

29th July 1967

While training at Barrowfield continued in the usual tough fashion, news came in from Ibrox that the deal with Orjan Persson – currently with Dundee United – was off and that the winger had returned to his home in the town of Smogen in west Sweden.

Frankly, there had been so much discussion and false news in this particular transfer that I was really unwilling to believe any story about the then current situation. I was happy to wait for a final definitive resolution to all the rather complicated negotiations.

One piece of news that I was willing to believe was also about Rangers, who had apparently scrapped the pre-season trial, a staple of Scottish football for many years. Now that made sense, as most players of any club never liked them and I presume the Ibrox guys would have felt the same.

News from Celtic Park. First that the balance sheet for the year ended 30th April 1967 showed a profit of £25, 068. It is difficult after all these years to put that amount of money into some kind of perspective but if I mention that Ayr United FC, which announced their figures on the same day, proclaimed a profit of £2153, then it easy to see the difference between the two clubs. Celtic, winners of five trophies the previous season and Ayr, who were relegated from the First Division.


As the first match – against Spurs at Hampden – was by now only a week away, the intensity of the training was increasing, with the emphasis by now on the short, sharp stuff. Everyone was looking good, including one player who had rather fallen out of the scene in the previous season, yet still finished the top goal-scorer in Scotland. I am referring, of course, to Joe McBride, who, to the delight of all the guys in the dressing-room, seemed to be looking fine during all the exercises. However, a piece in one of the evening papers advised some caution –

‘Joe McBride, rated by Celtic as ‘still the greatest potential goalscorer in Scotland’ has been ordered to ‘go slow’ in his fight to regain full fitness.

For months McBride has been making slow but steady progress from a cartilage operation and today manager Jock Stein insisted that Joe had not had another major setback. He said “we are trying to save the player from himself. We feel that in his great effort to come back as quickly as possible he may have been doing a little too much and he has been told to tone the training down. This is a deliberate policy…and we think it will pay off”.

And for those who, since they did not have any football to watch, fancied a night out at the cinema ( or the pictures, or the flicks, or the movies, whatever you wanted to call it), these films were showing in Glasgow –

Curzon Classic: Michael Caine – The Ipcress File

Odeon: James Coburn – In Like Flint

ABC Regal: Robert Redford/Jane Fonda – Barefoot in the Park