30th April 1966:  Morton v Celtic League – Part One

Reserve Match

I know it seems hard to believe but on the evening of the Scottish Cup final replay, the Celtic reserves had a match at Celtic Park. They played St Mirren in the league and had a convincing 7-0 win, the team being Fallon, Halpin, McCarron, Cattenach, Cushley, O’Neill, H Quinn, Sweeney, J Quinn, Gallagher and Taylor. The goals came from Jimmy Quinn (3), Tony Taylor (2), Charlie Gallagher (pen) and an OG.


Scottish_Cup_trophyTo say the atmosphere in the Celtic camp at that time should have been despondent is something of an understatement. Four games without scoring a single goal; out of the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Scottish Cup; what more could go wrong?

That might have been the reaction of the fans but football players are used to an up-and-down existence and believe me, the Hoops players of that time were desperate to finish the season on a high and that, of course, meant winning the league title.

Reaction to the defeat at the hands of Rangers in the press was mixed. Nearly every paper stated the Celtic were the better side and also the more adventurous one, their main complaint exactly the same as most fans, that Celtic were wasteful when it came to efforts on goal.

The headlines on the following day were also mixed.  For Rangers, it was –

 Scottish Cup Won by Rangers


Johansen Scores Only Goal of 180 Minutes’ Play


while for Celtic, it was –


 Celtic Crippled for Vital League Game


This was reference to the injuries picked up during the replay. John Hughes (leg knock) and Joe McBride (pulled muscle) were both out; Bertie Auld and Jimmy Johnstone were also carrying knocks but both were expected to play. Bobby Lennox and Charlie Gallagher were drafted in.


Personal Reaction

On a personal level, I was bitterly disappointed. I felt that I had played my part, seldom letting my immediate opponent – be it Willie Johnston or Davie Wilson – into the game while at the same time making sure that ‘Chopper’ Murdoch and Wee Jimmy got a lot of the ball. And the papers were right; we were the better side. However, games are won by the number of goals scored and that is where we let ourselves down; we just did not hit the back of the net on the night.


Just before I eventually dropped off to sleep that night, one thought slipped into my mind – ‘how can a side which has scored 101 goals in 31 league matches ( an average of over 3 goals per game) fail to score in four consecutive matches?’


The Opposition

The league table was very close at that time of the season –

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 31 24 3 4 101 29 51
Rangers 32 23 5 4 85 28 51


and both of the Old Firm were in action away from home, Celtic at Cappielow against Morton and Rangers meeting Dunfermline at East End Park.


The men from Greenock were struggling against relegation – in fact, if they lost to Celtic and other results did not go in their favour, they could drop out of the top division by Saturday evening.

Dunfermline, on the other hand, were in 4th place in the table and their form would have a great bearing on the destination of the title, as they played Rangers that day and Celtic on the Wednesday.


The press, of course, were very well aware of Morton’s predicament and this was pointed out on the eve of the match –

  Celts Can Sink Hal’s Fighters

‘Celtic go to Cappielow tomorrow for Morton’s last home league match not as executioners but as undertakers.

The sad duty of burying hopes of staying in the First Division is all that will be asked of them’.


Reserve Match

On the night before the Morton match, Celtic Reserves drew 1-1 with Rangers at Ibrox in a league match. The team was Martin, Halpin, McCarron, Cattenach, Cushley, O’Neill, Connelly, H Quinn, J Quinn, Brogan, Taylor. Tony Taylor got the Celtic goal.


Cup Scrapped

With fixture pile-ups, it was decided to scrap the Glasgow Cup for this season. The two semi-finals of Celtic v Rangers and Third Lanark v Queen’s Park could not be fitted in at a time which the two games and then the final could be played. Celtic were committed to an American tour at the end of the season.


Last time, I asked for the name of a father/son duo, the father having played for Rangers in the 1930s and the son a star with Celtic in the 1960s. And the answer – Jimmy Simpson and Ronnie Simpson.

This time, the question is  – which star name took part in an athletics meeting at Cappielow, the ground of Morton in the summer of 1924?

Battle of Culloden – Part 2

Inverness firemen fought a ‘Battle of Culloden’ yesterday afternoon. In a gale with gusts of up to 80mph they tackled an outbreak which gutted Culloden Moor railway station.

Built in 1895, Culloden Moor station was closed to passenger services last year but was retained for goods traffic.


How Many?

After a policeman had stopped a Humber car in Standish, near Wigan, at 3.20pm one morning last week and asked the occupants to get out, 14 men stood in front of him on the pavement. 5 had been in the front of the car and 9 in the back.

The driver pleaded guilty to carrying a number of passengers likely to cause a danger and not being in position to have proper control of the car. He was fined £10.


In Court

Sandie Shaw, the 19-year-old barefoot singer, is being cited in a defended divorce petition brought by a London fashion model, Veronica Sands, against her husband, Duncan Murdock. Miss Shaw, whose real name is Sandra Goodrich, was once a punch-card operator in a Dagenham factory.