I can recall the night when Celtic played Go-Ahead Deventer in Holland quite clearly. There were no televised matches in those days – only radio commentaries – and the Scottish, or, more properly British broadcasting authorities probably did the hordes of Celtic fans tuning in a disservice that evening.
They decided that the main game of the evening for listening fans was in the European Cup, where Kilmarnock were facing Nandori Tirana from Albania in a preliminary round second leg tie. So, that game was the one chosen for a second-half commentary and the Celtic fans had to do with occasional reports from Deventer, especially when a goal was scored….and there were plenty of them!
The Goals Rain In!
a) Celtic Fan: Great! – Brilliant! – Fantastic
b) Prospective First Team Player – Aye, very good!
That evening, at various times, I played both the roles mentioned at (a) and (b). Right from my early days, I was always a Celtic fan, so to hear my team take charge of the play and frequently score was terrific. On the other hand, I was well aware that if the team did really well, then my chances of breaking into the first team would lessen. Frankly, as I sprawled in an easy chair in the sitting-room listening to the radio, I was becoming more worried about breaking through. Then my Dad came in, always a sensible man, and said something which made me think he must have read my mind “well, if they win by a big margin in this leg, they might give some younger guys a chance in the return”. Just what I wanted to hear! Dad might have been a Hibbie but he didn’t half talk sense sometimes.
In front of a crowd of 23,000, Celtic took control of the match and Go-Ahead were always up against it. It took a while for the Celtic guys to find the net but once they did, the goals arrived in a regular way;-
A scramble in the Go-Ahead goalmouth and Bobby Lennox forces the ball home. 1-0
A cross from the right was well met by John Hughes. 2-0
Hughes to Bobby Murdoch, who tried a quick shot. It was only partly blocked by the keeper and Jimmy Johnstone arrived to slam it home. 3-0
Steve Chalmers and Charlie Gallagher combined well and found Lennox in space to fire in a fierce shot. 4-0
Lennox rounded off another neat Chalmers/Gallagher move. 5-0
Johnstone pounced on a loose ball to fire home his second. 6-0
It was a comfortable win for Celtic and the following morning, one newspaper summed it up in a rather unusual headline;-
CELTS HAD THEIR DUTCH RIVALS IN A REVERSE SPIN
Meanwhile, down at Ayrshire, there was reason for the Kilmarnock faithful to be happy;-
Kilmarnock 1 Nandori Tirana 0
‘A goal 13 minutes from the end at Rugby Park put Kilmarnock into the next round of the European Cup. It was a well-deserved victory in the end but how these tough, skilful Albanians made them fight’.
Pass the Sun-cream?
The weather in Scotland at that time was pretty good but in Australia, it was roasting!
‘Thousands crammed the Sydney beaches as the early-spring temperature climbed to 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest September day on record. Firemen were called out to attend several bush fires just outside the city’.
Quite a Steal!
‘British military police called in at Calais police station to collect a British soldier who drove up on to the beach nearby aboard a large army amphibious vehicle.
French police said that the trooper had been trying to make a quick trip across the Channel after taking part in exercises near Brussels but bad weather had forced him ashore!
‘Nothing very interesting happened at the two-and-a- half hour secret session of the Labour Party conference at Blackpool yesterday.
It was all so dull that some delegates are reported to have fallen asleep!’
Across the Water
While most of the Celtic squad headed home for a weekend with the family, Billy McNeill and John Hughes joined up with the rest of the Scotland team chosen to face Northern Ireland in Belfast. The eleven selected were ;
Brown (Spurs), Hamilton ( Dundee), McCreadie (Chelsea), MacKay (Spurs), McNeill (Celtic), Greig (Rangers), Henderson (Rangers), Law ( Manchester United), Gilzean (Spurs), Baxter (Sunderland), Hughes (Celtic).
The World Cup pool for the match with Poland at Hampden on Wednesday 13th October was also chosen. It consisted of the above eleven plus –
Goalkeepers: Donaldson (Dundee), Ferguson (Kilmarnock)
Defenders: Gemmell (Celtic)
Halfbacks: Bremner (Leeds), Crerand (Manchester United), McKinnon (Rangers) Murdoch (Celtic).
Forwards: Gibson (Leicester), Johnston (Rangers), Martin (Hibs), Wallace (Hearts).