5th April 1966: St Mirren v Celtic League – Part One

Next Match

The next match was not until the 5th April and it was against St Mirren at Love Street. The Buddies were struggling, lying in 4th bottom slot in the table, and would be fighting for their lives. Their stadium in Paisley was very compact, with a pitch that normally held up during the often wet winters in the west of Scotland. And although it was an away match, the Celtic support would not have to travel far to reach the ground.


The reason for the St Mirren/Celtic clash being on Tuesday 5th April was that, on Saturday 2nd April, the Scotland v England international had taken place at Hampden. I had gone along, mainly to see the three Celts in the home line-up. The teams were ;-

ScotlandBobby Ferguson, John Greig, Tommy Gemmell, Bobby Murdoch, Ronnie McKinnon, Jim Baxter, Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Wallace, Denis Law, Billy Bremner and Willie Johnston.

EnglandGordon Banks, George Cohen, Keith Newton, Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, John Connelly.


It was actually a terrific match, play swinging from end to end. England got off to a great start with goals from Hurst (18) and Hunt (34) but Denis Law pulled one back, heading home Willie Johnston’s corner 4 minutes before the break.

Hurst made it 3-1 in the 47th minute but the Scots, with Denis Law and Billy Bremner leading the charge, came back into it, Jimmy Johnstone beating two defenders before firing the ball past Banks at his near post (62).

After a Bobby Charlton free-kick made it 4-2 (73), Jinky smashed home his second from a Jim Baxter free-kick (81) and the Scots raised their game again, possibly being denied a penalty when Bremner was tripped and then having the anguish of seeing Nobby Stiles clear a net-bound shot off the line. However, in the end, it finished 4-3 to England.

The victory gave England the Home International Championship for that season, with Scotland finishing in 3rd place.


Another Name

24 hours after I had scored a couple of goals from the striker role in Celtic’s 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell in the first leg of the Second Eleven Cup semi-final at Celtic Park, I was back at Parkhead training with the rest of the reserves. However, I soon found that there was a difference in their approach to me.

It was nothing to do with status or anything like that; football dressing-rooms are very democratic places and no one would get away with any stuck-up ideas. If the King’s son turned up for a trial, for instance, he would get the same treatment as anybody else. No, the difference was in the name that they suddenly were all using to address me. Up till then, it had always been ‘Jim’ but after the Motherwell match, thanks to Neil Mochan, it was now ‘Cairney’.

It was amazing; from then on no one ever called me by my Christian name. It was ‘Cairney this’ or ‘Cairney that’ that and I just had to get on with it. Fortunately, it was not the worst name to be called and I quickly got used to it.



I was annoyed, though, by another aspect of my life at that time. After all, I had been the guy in place in the right-back slot and had been playing well before the ankle injury. I had proved that my fitness was back to what it had been before but, could I get someone to tell me why I was not being brought into contention for a place back in the side, with some big names coming up? I could not!

Every time I asked Sean, who I saw frequently, or the Boss, who I saw occasionally, the same question – “why am I not being brought back into the side? – I got evasive answers, from “we think that you should spend a little more time getting fitter” to “sometimes an ankle problem can be the worst to come back from”. Absolute nonsense!


Now, you are not going to believe what the actual problem was, particularly as I only discovered the truth when I was researching this website. You will remember that I was quite delighted when the SFA took no action against me for my ordering-off in Kiev and I was free to play immediately after their inquest.

What I did not know, however – firstly because no one in the club told me and secondly, because I had never seen a copy of the rules of participation for a player in European trophies – was that any player who is ordered off in a European match is automatically suspended from his club’s next match in the competition!

So, I eventually found out why I was not being included in the plans – 50 years on! It makes common sense when I know the reason. There was a European Cup semi-final tie coming up in just over ten days time, a game I would have to miss because of the incident in Kiev. Most managers at that time liked continuity in defence so no wonder they kept Ian Young in the side for the two matches preceding the semi-final. It makes common sense… what a shame no one in authority at the club had used some common sense 50 years ago and realised that I would have fully understood their position and reasoning.

In those days, clubs occasionally treated their players like they were in Primary 7…..or even Primary 4! I wonder if they still do?




Last time round, I asked from which Scottish club Chelsea had signed full-back Eddie McCreadie and the answer was East Stirlingshire?

This time the question relates to the England team named above which faced Scotland at Hampden on 2nd March 1966. How many of those eleven players were in the side which beat West Germany in the World Cup Final only a few months later?


Labour Victory

The British Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, won the British General Election, gaining an extra 48 seats to give them a 364-253 advantage over the Conservatives.


Good Win

British and Empire Flyweight champion Walter McGowan convincingly out-pointed Argentininian Ernesto Miranda in an 8-round Bantamweight contest at the World Sporting Club, London.

Miranda seemed practically inconsolable when the verdict was given to McGowan. He believed the fight was over 10 rounds when, in fact, it was over 8. Two more rounds, however, would scarcely have made any difference.


New Way to Travel

Hoverlloyd inaugurated the first cross-Channel Hovercraft service, from Ramsgate Harbour to Calais, using passenger-carrying SR N6 craft.