High Ground, Low Ground
Celtic and Hibs have much in common, although perhaps the Edinburgh side should be mentioned first, as they were not only founded much earlier in 1875 but were also partly responsible for the advent of Celtic.
Don’t forget that it was in St Mary’s Hall in the Calton on the evening of the 12th February 1887 – only hours after Hibs had beaten Dumbarton in the final of the Scottish Cup at Hampden – that the Hibs secretary John McFadden suggested that the good folk in the parishes of the east end of Glasgow should start up a side similar to Hibs. There were a few men already thinking along those lines in that district and this just pushed them to further effort, Celtic Football Club thus coming into being on 6th November 1887.
Then Celtic did something a bit naughty. They signed several of Hibs top stars, good players who helped the new Celtic FC get off to the most promising of starts. It was definitely a ‘Low Ground’ manoeuvre but also one which left many astute observers puzzled. At this time, Scottish football was an all-amateur affair. So, why would players from a top club like Hibs – which had just won the Scottish Cup – go to play for a brand new team, one with no guarantee of success in the pipeline?
Well, it does not take a genius to work out that Celtic had performed another ‘Low Ground’ manoeuvre. They were obviously paying their players, in breach of the rules of the time. Hibs were furious but they had no real evidence on which to base their complaint. Celtic were keeping quiet, the players – now getting some real benefits – would not say anything, so Hibs could not put together a case, with secretary John McFadden the most verbose and frequent complainer. He even wrote a letter to a publication of the time, the Scottish Umpire, claiming that Celtic had been guilty of duplicity. No action was in fact taken. However, although definitely wounded, Hibs held the moral high ground.
Unfortunately, though, only a few months later, that same John McFadden absconded to America with the proceeds of the Catholic Young Men’s Society. My goodness, how the moral high ground had been abandoned!
All through the years they were in the same competitions in Scottish football, Celtic and Hibs were always noted for the adventurous side of their play. Their best elevens throughout this period were remembered for their attacking skills rather than an ‘Iron Curtain’ defensive system. And the teams which ran out that night of the 4th October 1965 at Ibrox were in the same vein, so the supporters were expecting goals…and with a bit of luck, quite a few of them!
The Celtic side that night was Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Lennox and Hughes. It had been raining heavily before the game and the pitch was fairly sodden but the action was intense from the first kick of the ball and crowd of 50,000 revelled in the excitement. The goals came as follows;
9 minutes: From a throw in, John Hughes controlled the ball and passed it to Charlie Gallagher. He sent a fine, floated cross into the middle, where Joe McBride, Bobby Lennox and ex-Celt John McNamee all went for it. It was McBride, though, who reacted quickest and he flicked the ball home with his head. 1-0 Celtic
16 minutes: A pass from Ian Young went slightly astray and was picked up by outside-right Scott. He played a one two with left-winger Stevenson, then crossed it into the middle where Martin rose above the Celtic defence to head home. 1-1
58 minutes: Hibs took the lead. Billy McNeill conceded a corner and Quinn’s high cross went right across to Stevenson on the other wing. He tried a shot at goal and it was deflected by Martin into the net. 2-1 Hibs
This was not what the Celtic support had been expecting and they urged their team on to pull back the deficit. Hibs, though, were determined to hold on and as Celtic came forward, the Edinburgh side’s defence performed heroics to keep them out. Then, with only seconds left and the Celtic fans becoming desperate, the breakthrough arrived.
90 minutes: Tommy Gemmell went on an overlap down the left, beat a couple of players, got to the by-line and cut the ball to Lennox, who fairly rammed it home for the equaliser. 2-2
Only seconds later, the whistle went for full-time, so extra-time it would be. During the added period, play swung from end to end, with Celtic possibly looking the more dangerous but Hibs were never out of it. After the 30 minutes, though, the score was still tied at 2-2 and a replay was on the cards.
On the morning after the match, the reporters were full of praise for what they had seen;-
CELTS SAVE THEMSELVES IN LAST SECONDS!
A Replay I Wouldn’t Like to Miss!
What a game! What a display of guts and tenacity from Hibs! And what a demonstration of attacking, speedy football from Celtic!
There would be a real challenge on offer for the winner of the replay. Not only would that side reach the final of the League Cup, it would meet Rangers, who had beaten Kilmarnock in the other semi-final!
South Africa won the Canada Cup, the world team golf championship at Madrid, thanks to the efforts of Gary Player and Harold Henning. Player also won the individual title.
President Sukarno told the world that he was alive, well and in command of Indonesia following on an attempted coup three days ago but the situation remains confused.
Right-wing generals appear to control the jittery capital, tanks were in the streets and rumours abounded of clashes in the countryside.
Epsom Derby winner Sea Bird proved himself one of the greatest European colts of the century when he easily won the Prix d L’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s richest race, at Longchamp yesterday.