The Morning of the Match
There was a report in one of the dailies that four representatives of Nantes – Celtic’s next opponents in the European Cup – would be watching the match at Hampden that afternoon.
There was also a little piece pointing out that Celtic had only won the League Cup on three occasions since the competition began in season 1946-47, in 1955-56, 1956-57 and 1965-66. Unfortunately, the article failed to point out that Celtic had only won the Scottish Cup too on three occasions since that particular date, in 1950-51, 1953-54 and 1964-65.
There is nothing quite like a Celtic/Rangers contest to fire up the passions of the supporters and that was the case on that particular Saturday. The fact that the encounter was also in the final of a major competition only added to the tension, which was quite evident when those of us not involved in the squad gathered at Celtic Park that morning to be bussed over to Hampden for the match.
There were fans outside the ground to see us leave in the easily-recognisable bus colours of Cotters; they were on the pavements cheering away as we headed across the city to the National Stadium; and outside Hampden, we received a good reception from our supporters as well as, perhaps naturally, a bit of abuse from the other side. This clash came only a few months after the similar meeting in the Scottish Cup Final, when I was an active participant, and as I took the atmosphere in, I realised that I was really missing not being involved.
Simpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Lennox, McBride, Auld, Hughes Sub: Chalmers
Martin, Johanson, Provan, Greig, McKinnon, D Smith, Henderson, Watson, McLean, A Smith, Johnston. Sub: Wilson
I thought it was a strange game, where Rangers had probably the better of the play but just could not put the ball away. We, on the other hand, got one major chance and took it! That was my own recollection of the afternoon but let’s see what one of our best-known reporters made of the occasion ;-
Why did Stein men go into that shell?
‘This wasn’t the Celtic who have been showing us the attacking game. The Celtic full of confidence in themselves, spreading the ball all around the field like a farmer sowing seeds. From the moment they got the opening goal 18 minutes from the start, they were hemmed into their own quarters.
Only Lennox, the surprise packet, was left up front. This surprised a lot of folk. It surprised me. I had imagined the opening goal would have given them confidence to go out for more.
But that was reckoning without Rangers – a Light Blues side that played its best game of the season, and still lost…….
……..only in the first half did Celtic play as we know they can. Then, Johnstone had all the bounce of Roy Castle, who knows his trumpet is blowing well. McBride was playing a thoughtful game. And Lennox was moving like a streak all over the front line.
But Rangers had missed a couple of chances before this and were well in the game when it happened. A high ball was cleverly headed down by McBride to Lennox who rammed it home. A beautiful goal. Now we sat back to watch the brilliant attacking Celtic. It never happened….
…just after McLean had missed the chance of the match with 15 minutes to go when he ballooned high over the bar a neat Smith head-down, Smith himself dragged the ball past Simpson and it was cleared off the line by O’Neill….
…the second half must have felt like the referee’s watch had stopped to the Celtic fans. But, at the end, that one bit of quick thinking on the part of McBride and Lennox settled the destination of the Cup. And the losers were the side that didn’t have that bit of sharpness up front.
Aberdeen 2 Hibs 1
Dundee Utd 2 Dunfermline 4
Falkirk 0 St Johnstone 3
Hearts 0 Clyde 1
Kilmarnock 1 Airdrie 0
Motherwell 0 Ayr Utd 0
Partick Thistle 0 Dundee 0
In that match with Clyde at Tynecastle, Willie Wallace, only six weeks away from joining Celtic, was ordered-off for a foul on the Bully Wee keeper.
The ‘Madonna and Child with St John’ by 16th century artist Correggio, was stolen from the Chicago Art Institute. The painting, measuring 25 x 19 inches, was valued at about 250,000 dollars.
The Aberfan Disaster Fund yesterday went over the £160,000 mark, with donations being received from all over the world.
A negro is not a negro if he comes from Africa, Washington public schools have ruled. In their annual tally of enrolment of school children by race, officials have classified negroes of American parentage as negroes but negro children of African parents are classified as white.