The whole squad was given the day off from training, although, as was the norm, anything with an injury of any sort did report. However, from what I heard from the guys in the days following, no one turned up that day and the Boss was apparently quoted in the press as “expecting everyone to be fit for the match against Dundee at Celtic Park on Saturday”.
The report about the match against Morton had the headline –
Brilliant Russell the Hero!
This was a tribute to the Greenock club’s goalkeeper, Bobby Russell, who had been absolutely outstanding in the clash at Cappielow. I was not the only Celt to walk towards him at the end of the match and congratulate him on his performance.
There was also news for Celtic fans, under another headline –
Johnstone in World Cup 16
‘Jimmy Johnstone, Celtic’s ‘reluctant’ international outside-right, now looks certain to be ORDERED to play against Austria in the World Cup qualifying tie at Hampden on Wednesday of next week. Also in from Celtic are Simpson, Gemmell, McNeill, Hughes and Lennox’.
All of us back in again for a good session. Wee Jimmy was the subject of a few questions but eventually we were told by the Boss to leave him in peace. He had said little about his position and the evening press summed it up in one headline –
Johnstone Stays Silent
For a change, the big news was not about Jimmy Johnstone but about a forward from an Edinburgh club –
Rangers to Move for Stein
‘It has been reported that on 29th October, Colin Stein of Hibs turned down a signing-on fee of £4500 plus more than £100 per week when Everton made a £90,000 bid for his transfer’.
On the previous evening, Rangers had beaten Dundalk 6-1 in a Second Round First-Leg tie in the Fairs Cup…and only 24 hours later, it was announced that the Ibrox club had agreed to buy Colin Stein for a fee of £100,000.
It had been a hard-working few days for us at Barrowfield and we ended the week in a more relaxed fashion on the track at Celtic Park, just a loosener the day before a match. The Boss then made the announcement that the 12 who had played against Morton the previous week would also be the ones he would be relying on against Dundee.
One not so good feature at that time was the weather, which had not only turned much colder but the rainfall had dropped as snow in the areas around the city.
The Day of the Match 2nd November 1968
The day turned out to be cold but quite sunny and when we went out to inspect the pitch, we found it in pretty good nick, hard but able to take a stud, a situation most players prefer.
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Lennox, Hughes.
Murray, Easton, Stewart
Campbell, McLean, Gilroy, Kinninmonth, Scott.
These comments in a daily newspaper summed up the match pretty succinctly;
‘Frankly, Celtic, in their efforts to retain the league championship, are unlikely to have it any easier than they did on Saturday.
When within the first four minutes Wallace had struck Donaldson’s cross -bar and, at the other end, Simpson saved splendidly from Mclean, it looked as though we were to be treated to a contest as memorable as Celtic’s recent 5-4 league win at Dundee. But disillusionment was to be swift.
Primarily through the efforts of Craig, Murdoch and Johnstone, the three most accomplished players afield, Celtic so dominated proceedings thereafter that for practically the entire second half they hardly rose above walking pace’.
The goals came as follows-
I took the ball down the right and passed it to Wispy who made some ground then slipped it across to Jinky, who swept it home off the keeper’s legs. 1-0 Celtic
goalkeeper Donaldson allowed a corner by Yogi to slip from his grasp and Stevie Chalmers was on the spot to slam it home. 2-0 Celtic
a fine shot by Campbell seemed to catch Ronnie by surprise and it slipped under his body. 2-1 Celtic
Yogi went on a run from his own half, mis-kicked his first attempt at goal, then hit the keeper with his second effort, which re-bounded to Stevie, who made no mistake.
Final Score Celtic 3 Dundee 1
Throughout the match, on the bench, in the dressing-room at the break and back on the bench for the second half, the Boss had said little, a sure sign that everything was going well. He even made a decided effort to go across and commiserate with the Dundee Boss John Prentice after the match. So, all in all, it was a very happy day for all of us and we left the park in exuberant mood, ready to get up to activities over the weekend which frankly were not suitable for discussion in a column like this!
At Dens Park, the Celtic Reserve side beat Dundee Reserves 4-1, the goals coming from Lou Macari, Bertie Auld, Davie Cattenach and Jimmy Quinn.