3rd December 1966: Kilmarnock v Celtic League – Part Two

Morning of the Match
As the reserve match had been cancelled because of the heavy pitch at Parkhead (Celtic were due to play Nantes on it the following Wednesday and the Boss did not want it to be cut up) I decided that I would go along with the first team to see this match.
When I arrived at Celtic Park in the late morning, the atmosphere was tremendous, as you might imagine. Coming away from Nantes with a 3-1 lead was precisely what everyone at Celtic Park had wanted, so the guys were in great form, the laughing and joking even more boisterous than usual.
I had already arranged to travel with the team, so no one was surprised at my presence. Yogi was also there, as was Ian Young and eventually the three of us, who had not been in the side which played Nantes, eventually became as euphoric as the rest.
The journey down to Ayrshire passed without any problems but once we came off the main road, the traffic started to build up and we could only make our way to the ground very slowly. A big crowd had eventually gathered (it was eventually listed as 27,000) and as made our way into the ground, we could sense the excitement from both sets of fans.


kilmarnockcelticThe Teams
Ferguson, King, McFadzean, O’Connor, McGrory, Beattie, McLean,
McInally, Murray, Watson, McIlroy. Sub: Dickson
Simpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone,
McBride, Chalmers, Lennox, Auld. Sub:  Gallagher



The Play
Right from the start, Kilmarnock went into attack and put our defence under test twice in the space of the first five minutes.

Then a problem arrived. The game had to be stopped when a section of the barricade in front of the enclosure facing the main stand broke sending dozens of fans spilling on to the ground. Players and trainers of both teams rushed to the scenes.
After a number of stretcher cases had been taken from the field, play resumed three minutes later.

We then took some control but when we made some chances, we found Bobby Ferguson in wonderful form. Time and again, the Scottish international showed his ability, getting his hands to efforts by Cesar, Lemon and Joe. Half-time arrived with the game still goalless.

No sooner had the second half started when another incident caused play to be stopped. A number of children spilled on to the pitch behind the goal Celtic were defending and some were taken away on stretchers for treatment.

Once play re-started, we once again controlled the play, desperate to get a goal to maintain our record of having scored in every match thus far this season but a combination of pretty average attempts plus the play of Ferguson spoiled our chances. And there was always the possibility of Killie scoring on one of their breakaways, which were infrequent but dangerous. As the final whistle blew, however, the score was still 0-0 and the players of both teams shook hands, well aware that they had taken part in an exciting match.

Everyone in our party was disappointed at the loss of a point but we all felt better when news came through that Rangers had lost 2-3 at East End Park and we now had a 4-point lead in the table.

Other Results

Aberdeen 2 1 Motherwell
Airdrie 2 1 St. Johnstone
Clyde 0 0 Ayr United
Dundee 2 0 St. Mirren
Dunfermline 3 2 Rangers
Falkirk 0 3 Dundee United
Hibs 6 0 Stirling Albion
Partick Thistle 1 1 Hearts

Later Reflection
As I drove home from Parkhead in the early evening, I got a chance for the first time to reflect on my own position. Did Celtic’s performance that afternoon make my chances for a come-back into the first-team any better? Well, there could be little doubt that our defence struggled sometimes against a pretty mobile Kilmarnock attack, although Ronnie was the equal of Bobby Ferguson at all times.
Both Tam and Pumper were under pressure the whole match, although to be fair, both Tommy Mclean and Brian McIlroy were very talented wingers. Still, the loss of that point was a little dent in the otherwise perfect record and I might need one or two of them before taking up my place again.

Sudden Death
Luciano Fernandes, Benfica’s centre-half, was electrocuted while swimming in the new pool in Benfica’s stadium.
He was swimming with 7 other players, including Eusebio, when the incident occurred.

For the first time, Catholics and Protestants are to hold a joint Christmas service in George Square on Sunday December 18th.
Fr Desmond Gunning (St Helens) and Rev George Mortimer will conduct the service. Music will be provided by a Salvation Army band and the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan choir.

Five baby elephants were mislaid in Glasgow today and it wasn’t the elephants fault. A special coach which brought them from Peterborough had arrived at the city’s parcels depot at Salkeld Street and was left in a siding, apparently unnoticed by the station’s officials.