The football press was a little divided in its opinions the day following our 3-1 win over Rangers. Granted, the reporters gave us great praise for the manner in which we came back from a one-goal deficit to take full points but there was more than one comment to suggest that they also thought that Rangers should have got something out of the match.
This headline probably summed it up-
Rangers So Close to Glory
However, no matter how much of the play a team enjoys during any football match, goals are what matters and over the 90 minutes at Celtic Park we got three to their one and that was what counted.
I had certainly enjoyed the feeling after the match, the celebrations inside the ground and dressing-room, the walk through the cheering crowds to the car park, the pleasant journey home, then the joyous welcome in my parents’ house where some of my uncles had also turned up. However, as I mentioned previously, we had been warned by the Boss that we would be training the following morning so I did celebrate but kept the alcoholic intake to a minimum.
And that was probably just as well, as we did go through a fairly energetic session the following morning. However, after a result like that, the atmosphere was superb and the training was done with enthusiasm.
In one of the evening papers, there was an unusual headline –
Celts See Celtic – on Film
And the story was eye-catching too –
‘It has the simple title ‘Celtic’ but it tells in vivid, brilliant colour the story of the greatest season in the history of any football club in Britain.
‘Celtic’ gets its first public view at the Odeon Cinema in Glasgow on Sunday.
There are three showings – at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm – and all tickets have already been booked except for the first performance.
An easy morning at Barrowfield, some light runs and a lot of fun. We all thought that, as the section was now won, the Boss might do some tinkering with the team for the trip to Aberdeen but I don’t think any of us imagined that the tinkering would go as far as this –
Murdoch at Centre and McMahon Plays in Celtic’s Shock Attack
That was a surprise to us all….in fact, I wondered if Chopper had been advised of his new position beforehand. Further back in the side, his right-half role was taken up by Luggy, with Pumper coming in at left-half.
In the press that afternoon, there was also news that ex-Celt Bertie Peacock, at that time manager of Coleraine, has turned down the post of Northern Ireland’s team boss for ‘business and personal reasons’.
Some good news for everyone with Celtic’s interests at heart was that the SFL will help Celtic in their bid to win the World Club Championship against Racing Club.
Celtic intend to ask the league for a 10-day break from competitive games in Scotland to enable them to play the 2nd leg of their ‘World’ tie in Buenos Aires and today League Secretary Fred Donovan said “we will co-operate to the fullest with Celtic in any request they make for a change of league fixtures”.
When the reserve side was put up on the board, there was a surprise, with John Hughes listed at outside-left. The ankle must have healed quicker than I thought.
Morning of the Match
As I have mentioned before, a match against Aberdeen was the only fixture in Scotland that we travelled to by train and on that morning, everyone was there on time at Celtic Park to get the bus to the station. Then, on the early train, we had a light breakfast. Once we arrived in Aberdeen, we had a light lunch at the Station Hotel and then – and can you imagine our modern stars doing it? – we were made to walk to Pittodrie Stadium to, the Boss put it, “get the stiffness out of our legs”.
The pitch at the stadium was in good condition but there was a strong wind gusting across the pitch which looked as though it could cause havoc with the play.
Petersen, McMillan, Buchan
J Wilson, Munro, Storrie, Smith, Taylor.
Clark, McNeill, O’Neill
Johnstone, Wallace, Murdoch, McMahon, Lennox.
Apart from pride, there was nothing at stake in this match, as we had already qualified from the section and to be honest, I thought we were a little relaxed in our opening play and suffered as a result –
cross by Storrie and Jimmy Smith beat the heart of our defence to open the scoring with a header. 1-0 Aberdeen
That set-back should have fired us up but the Dons continued to apply the pressure and we were finding it difficult to get out of our own half. Chopper was nominally at centre-forward but was playing a deeper role than that and we just seemed a bit dis-jointed in some of the moves we were putting together. Then came a very contentious moment –
Bobby Clark dived at Lemon’s feet to grab the ball and, to the astonishment of nearly every person in the ground (including me I must say) referee John Gordon gave a penalty to us.
Every Aberdeen player converged on the referee in protest but he would not be moved and Tam Gemmell came forward to take it. He certainly took a welly at it but it was too near the keeper and Bobby Clark dived and grabbed the ball. Then came another shock for the Dons players when the referee decided that Clark had moved and he motioned for Tam to take the penalty again. This time Tam made no mistake. 1-1
Four minutes after the penalty equaliser, a spectator dashed on to the pitch and threw himself at the referee who fell to the ground. On came about six policeman, dragged the guy away from the referee and pushed him off the pitch and out of the ground. It was a real stramash! and it did wonders for the atmosphere inside the ground.
When play resumed, we seemed to be in better from and soon got another –
a wonderful run by Jinky, who beat four men before laying on a fine pass for Pat McMahon to slip the ball past the Dons keeper. 2-1 Celtic
At half-time, the Boss and his staff spent most of the period trying to calm us down, as the incident had fired us up. He was happy with the play, though, and just told us to continue to apply pressure. When we came out, I noticed that a number of policemen were waiting at trackside to escort the referee back on to the pitch.
Right from the whistle, we kept on top of Aberdeen and forced them back, most of the play taking place in their half of the pitch. In time, we started to make some chances and took some of them.
Jinky went on another fantastic run, by common consent beating five men this time before scoring. This was described in the press as a ‘wonder’ goal. 3-1 Celtic.
Bertie Auld, who had come on after Tam Gemmell had left the field with a leg knock, got another from close in. 4-1 Celtic
and just to go nap, it was yours truly who got the final goal, a shot through a crowded penalty area after a corner.
Final Score Aberdeen 1 Celtic 5
In the other match in the section, Dundee United lost 0-3 to Rangers at Tannadice.
It had been a fine League Cup campaign by Celtic and frankly, a horrendous start to the season by Aberdeen, who had been Scottish Cup finalists the previous season. Their fans were less than happy and by the time we were going for our 4th and 5th goals that afternoon, they were leaving the ground in droves.
As for us, there was little time to celebrate in the dressing room. There wasn’t much time to do anything else but have a quick shower, get dressed, then jump into taxis to get us to the station for the late afternoon train back to Glasgow. At least, we did not have to make the journey on foot this time.