On the Sunday, the day after we had beaten Stirling Albion 4-0 at Annfield, a match for which the headline said…..
Celts in the Groove Again
…….. we all reported to Celtic Park for a light loosener and also the announcement of the squad of players who would travel to Kiev.
It was the so-called ‘Lisbon eleven’ plus John Fallon, Willie O’Neill, David Cattenach, Charlie Gallagher, Chris Shevlane, John Hughes and Joe McBride. As well as those players, a backroom staff of Sean Fallon, Neilly Mochan, Bob Rooney, Jim Steele and Doc Fitzsimmons would also make the trip, one of the latter’s immediate jobs being the care of the Boss, who did not look – nor sound – too healthy after his bout of ‘flu.
By 9am, the whole party had left Celtic Park for Prestwick Airport, from where we took off in our chartered jet for Kiev. It was an uneventful trip – even the reluctant fliers would have said that – and we arrived in the Ukraine in mid-afternoon. From the airport, it was a bus to our hotel before relaxing with a cup of tea and the allocation of rooms.
Later, we got back on a bus again for a trip to the stadium – which had been known as the Nikita Kruschev Stadium – but after his ‘retirement’ or perhaps downfall in 1964, it was usually called the Central Stadium
Anyway, whatever they decided to call it, we were less than impressed with some aspects, mainly the pitch which was uneven and bumpy. However, we did some work but it was light-hearted, as everyone was fit and it was important for all the squad to stay clear of any injuries.
Talking of injuries, mine was feeling OK. In consultation with the management and the doctor, we all took a good look at it and I did a little workout just to keep Neilly happy. He was quite pleased with my movement, the cut was again healing – although the Doc warned me that in a contact sport, the chances were that it would occasionally open up all during the season – and it was now thought that what I had been suffering from on the Saturday was a ‘dead leg’ where the nerve supply to some area of the leg is struck and the area is effectively paralysed. When I thought about it, that was exactly how it did feel and I was delighted that I was now back to ‘nearly’ full-fitness.
Back in Glasgow, the evening papers, as well as discussing the trip and the fact we would be training, had two other relevant stories.
The first came under the heading –
Kiev Will Take No Chances
‘Kiev trainer Viktor Maslov said today that his team were in fighting spirit for Wednesday’s 2nd leg European Cup tie against Celtic.
The Russians are favourites to eliminate the Scots but Maslov said the“we expect a hard, sporting encounter. Celtic are a strong team. I have no doubt at all that they will win the Inter-Continental Cup. Over the past year, Celtic have become even stronger”.
And the second story concerned tickets –
Old Firm Fans in Ticket Rush
‘Celtic and Rangers fans joined forces today to form fair-sized queues outside Glasgow shops where tickets for big games were on scale.
Celtic fans were buying tickets for the League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on October 11 when Celtic face Morton and also for the World Club Championship game against Racing Club of Argentina at Hampden Park on Wednesday October 18.
Stand tickets for Wednesday’s Fairs Cities Cup against Dresden Dynamo were also on sale for Rangers fans’.
It was a beautiful day when we breakfasted in our hotel, at the relatively late hour of 10am. From that point on, though, it was a fairly long day, as we were not training until 7pm. So, we hung around the hotel in the morning, had a very late lunch –almost in mid-afternoon – and then headed for the stadium. The floodlights were, as we thought the night before, first class but the pitch was truly awful, the balls bobbling all over the place as we did some passing moves. How it got the nod from UEFA was hard to believe. Then, it was back to the hotel and a team meeting, where the Boss explained that he was going to make a slight alteration to the way we usually played, although he would say more about it the following morning after breakfast.
That left us somewhat in limbo, as most of us would have liked to have known right then as to the new ‘variation’. And he must have mentioned the idea to the Scottish reporters who were with us, as everyone back in Glasgow who bought an evening papers found out a little of what was happening almost before we did;
Stein Gamble – He Must Bank On Surprise Tactics
‘Mr Stein has clamped a security ban an all information coming out of his camp. Scores of Soviet football writers, television and radio cameramen and interviewers have spoken to Mr Stein since the Celtic plane touched down to a welcoming party of hundreds of Soviet citizens yesterday. Mr Stein talked plenty and said precisely nothing’.
Now, you have to read slightly between the lines here. Those words in the headline ‘surprise tactics’ obviously meant that he was going to make s light change to the way we played – could be in system or in personnel – and he has told the Scottish press that but given them no further info.
So, what would we be doing on the night that was ‘new’?; well, we would just have to wait until after breakfast on the morning of the game.
In our respective beds that night, Tam Gemmell and I discussed the situation and gave each other our personal views. He thought that Jinky would be given a roving commission and I was more inclined to the idea of two strikers and the rest in supporting roles. We would find out in about 12 hours!
Morning of the Match
A fairly late breakfast at which all the discussion was about the Boss’s new plans for the team that night. Time was dragging and it seemed an age before we got the nod from Neilly to head for a room on the first floor, where the Boss was waiting with a board of sorts beside him.
Tam and I had both been wrong. The new idea was that Jinky would play on the left wing; Yogi would come over to the right and Stevie would be the man who dropped out. I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea – nor was Tam, when I spoke to him later – but I suppose it was worth trying. The Kiev coach had prepared his side every well for the first leg so a change like this might upset his plans. Anyway, the Boss had made his decision, so who were we to argue? As John Steinbeck wrote in the Grapes of Wrath – ‘a man got to do what he got to do’.
A light lunch was on the cards then back to bed for a few hours before coming down again for the pre-match meal. Wherever we were, the routine was usually the same and Kiev was no different. However, later on, when we left the hotel by bus to make our way to the stadium for the match, we did notice a difference in the city. Suddenly, there were crowds everywhere, all seemingly heading for the game. We did not know this at that time but many fans were protesting that tickets were being sold for the match outside of the Ukraine; while in Kiev itself, tickets were selling on the black market for up to 10 times their value!
Levchenko, Krulikovsky, Turnanchik
Byshevetz, Sabo, Medvid, Serebranikov, Pusach.
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Auld, Hughes.
As you might imagine, it was a tense affair for both sides, with Kiev desperately trying to hold on to their lead from Glasgow and our lot doing our damnedest to avoid going out of the Cup we had won the previous season in the first round. A lot of aggression was obviously on display, tackles were flying in and it needed a strong – and more importantly talented – referee to take control of proceedings. Unfortunately, we did not have one, we had Signor Antonio Bardelli from Italy.
Now, the dictionary definition of the word ‘nightmare’ is ‘a very unpleasant or frightening situation’. What we were experiencing in Kiev was certainly not frightening but, thanks to referee Bardelli, it was definitely becoming a very unpleasant situation. He just would not allow any challenges for the ball, blowing for every petty misdemeanour, making it impossible for either team to build up any sort of rhythm.
Kiev had obviously been told to sit back and defend and they did that very competently, in spite of every one of us putting in a real shift. So, for the whole of the first half, we had by far the best of the possession but made few chances and at the interval, it was still goalless.
At half-time, the Boss, annoyed with the referee like the rest of us, controlled his temper and changed the plan again, bringing Jinky back to his right-wing berth and pushing Yogi back to the left. To be honest, changing them over for the first half had not made any difference although if another referee had allowed play to flow a little more freely instead of constantly interrupting it, then it might have worked. But all the Boss could say was to keep working hard and we had certainly done that in the first half.
And we continued to do so after the interval, maintaining our control of possession but in spite of all our efforts, we just could not make the chances that we needed and amid the hard work, we heard the referee’s whistle blow constantly. Then, we were struck with possible disaster –
Chopper had been booked for showing dissent in the first half so when he reacted badly for being penalised for a tackle in midfield by throwing the ball away, Signor Bardelli showed his annoyance by ordering him from the field.
That meant we had to re-arrange again, Wispy coming back into midfield; and it also gave a boost to Kiev, who, now with a one-man advantage, raised their game. Still, we stuck at it and even re-doubled our efforts and only two minutes later, managed to take the lead –
free-kick from Bertie was screwed into the goal from a near impossible angle by Lemon. 1-0 Celtic
We all realised that we needed one more goal to go through and it was amazing what a boost that gave to us. But Kiev were defending well and our chances were few and far between.
Halfway through the half, though, we did get the ball in the net when Yogi rushed in on a loose ball in the box and pushed it between goalkeeper Bannikov’s legs. Signor Bardelli, though, had other ideas, pointing out that Yogi had made contact with the keeper before scoring, a decision which almost had all of us nearly in despair although, as you might imagine, it was loved by the vast majority of the 85,000 crowd.
We never stopped putting the pressure on but with only 10 men, we were also tiring and almost on the final whistle, we were hit by a sucker punch –
a quick break by the Kiev forwards gave an opportunity for Byshevetz to have a crack and he took it to full effect, the ball flashing into the corner of the net past Ronnie. Kiev 1 Celtic 1
Final Score Dinamo Kiev 1 Celtic 1 Aggregate Score Dinamo Kiev 3 Celtic 2
We were all devastated. The dressing-room was full of heart-broken players, not to mention the Boss and his backroom staff. All the usual after-match activities – the bathing and showering, the getting dressed, the going out into the main entrance of the ground, the bus trip back to the hotel, the post-match meal, the chat among the boys and so on – were all done as quickly and quietly as possible. Usually the Boss and his staff had to be quite tough about getting us to go to bed but that night we were only too ready to disappear upstairs. And as we did so, we were all well aware that we had become the first European Cup winners to go out of the competition at the first stage the following season.