Celtic v Hibs 4th October 1965 League Cup SF – Preview

The Bhoys Done Not So Good!

On 2nd October 1965, on Windsor Park in Belfast, Scotland were beaten 3-2 by Northern Ireland in the first of that season’s Home International Matches. The result came as something of a surprise to the Scots, as one headline in the press the following day might suggest;


Unfortunately, in one assessment of the performance of the two Celtic players involved, neither achieved a top rating;

‘I’ve never seen centre-half Billy McNeill so out of it as he was against the lanky Derek Dougan’.

‘Hughes did much that was good and much that was bad’.

And just in case you think that the writer had a bias against Celtic, I must tell you that those two comments came from the typewriter of Tommy Gallagher, son the great Patsy, who himself had been a fine player with Dundee.



Battle of the Greens

Two days later, the League Cup semi-final meeting of Celtic and Hibs was to take place at Ibrox. Now, the term ‘Battle of the Greens’ is certainly hackneyed today and possibly it was so back in 1965. But it describes the clash of two teams quite accurately in terms of colour and both sets of supporters were up for the contest. My own house was a divided place that week.


The Hibbie in my House

As mentioned previously, my Dad was a supporter of Hibs. When he was 12- and-three –quarters, in 1923, Celtic met Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park. His Father – my Grandpa – had wanted to take him to the match but his Mum – my Grandma – decided that the crowd would be too big, especially when ( and don’t forget she lived in Leith) those rowdy folk from Glasgow would be there and she was worried about the safety of her youngest son. Anyway, Dad was not allowed to go and Celtic won 1-0 before a crowd of 80,100!

One year later, when Dad was 13-and-three-quarters, Hibs reached the final again with the opponents this time round being Airdrieonians and the venue Ibrox . Dad wanted to go, Grandpa said he would take him and Grandma relented, stating – apparently – that the crowd would be smaller this time and that the folk from Airdrie would not be as rowdy as the ones from Glasgow?. Dad was eventually allowed to go…but, unfortunately, Airdrie won 2-0 before a crowd of 59,218!

So, with a start like that as a supporter of the Easter Road side, no wonder Dad could be a bit of a worrier when it came to his beloved Hibs and this time was no different. In the week leading up to the match, he kept asking me about his and about that and to be perfectly honest, as a part-timer, I never got to know anything!



Champing at the bit!

I had not come across Jock Stein since I had had to say ‘no’ to his offer to travel to Holland with the squad for the European Cup Winners’ Cup tie. When I raised the matter with Sean Fallon at training in the evening and asked if the Boss had been upset, he merely told me to carry on showing the form I had been displaying and my time would soon come.

When I look back now, although I did not think so at the time, I must have been quite a confident guy. After all, I had only signed in January and now, just 8 months later, I was expecting a call up to the first team. It takes some guys years to get to that position; some never make it at all! But, to be honest, when I go the chance to see the first team, I did not think that I would be out of place in the team and indeed, might bring a touch of extra pace and flair to the right side. So, it was a question of waiting…….never one of my strong points.


The Day Dawns

On the morning of the day of the League Cup semi-final, the headlines – and the comment – showed just how eagerly the contest was being anticipated ;-



‘In what should be an exciting game, we have crack shot Celtic attackers, who have netted 26 times in the last 5 games, lined up against similarly lethal Hibs forwards, who have scored one more goal for an extra game.


The scene was set, the teams were on their way to the national stadium, the supporters were also getting ready to travel. It would a big night for both clubs but particularly for Celtic, as there was the possibility of an Old Firm final looming.



Hundreds of police yesterday made final security checks for today’s historic visit to New York by Pope Paul V1 – the first Pontiff to set foot in the Western Hemisphere.



Bobby Charlton George Best 1968 Football Writers Assoc dinner where Best was awarded the Footballer of the Year Trophy

George Best – The 5th Beatle? – Permission Daily Record

In that column by Tommy Gallagher mentioned above, there were two paragraphs that really caught my attention….

…..the campaign to oust Alec Hamilton from the right-back position is stronger than ever. I don’t think Hammy was all that bad.

His immediate foe, young ‘Beatle’ Best of Manchester United, is quite a player and definitely one for the top of the charts in the near future.

Many a true word is written!