There was an interesting start to the week. The first –team pool was told to get changed then stay in the dressing-room, the others were directed to go ahead up to Barrowfield. Those of us in the first group looked at each other, a bit bemused but did as we were told, sitting there like little schoolboys expecting a volley from the head teacher or, in this case, the Boss.
We were all well aware that we had not played particularly well on the Saturday at Hampden and frankly, we had been surprised that the Boss had not said very much – at least to us – at the end of the match. Obviously, although it is easy to see these things in retrospect, he had decided to bide his time till the Monday and now the day of reckoning had arrived.
Curiously, though, where we were expecting a going –over, the Boss could not have been more reasonable and rational. He told us he was well aware of the pressures we were under each match and how everyone who did not much time for Celtic was willing us to fall. We just had to take that on board, he said, rise to the challenge in every game and refuse to give those folk any satisfaction. It was a very reasoned speech, with undoubtedly a little bit of a rebuke when he mentioned the cup tie with Clyde, but his words resonated with us and we all thought good by the end of the talk.
In the papers, the Celtic fans got some good news;
Murdoch All Set to Return
Although the Clyde fans did not get cheered up;
Injuries Hit Clyde Replay Hopes
In essence, the comments were confident that Chopper would be back for the replay on the Wednesday but that the Bully Wee would be without three of their players. Frankly, I did not believe a word of it. I still thought that Bobby was not ready to play so if the press said that about his chances, how could you believe the stories about Clyde being injury-hit?
One other big story – or even non-story – was featured in all the papers. It was to the effect that if Celtic and Dukla Prague needed a third game to decide their European Cup semi-final, it will take place either on Saturday May 6th or Sunday May 7th.
If that came to fruition, it would be the first time that a Scottish team had played a major competitive game on a Sunday.
While the Celtic fans were digesting this piece of news, supporters of the Light Blues were taking in some transfer news, when Andy Penman of Dundee joined their team.
There was an unexpected hitch in the proceedings. Penman and his wife were driving down to Ibrox when some bad luck hit them, their car breaking down on the outskirts of Glasgow.
And while Penman was heading south-west, a then current Ibrox star was heading to the north-east, George MacLean making the move from Rangers to Dundee.
We were all expecting a bit of a going-over when we eventually arrived at Barrowfield but much to our surprise, we had been totally in error of the Boss’s intentions. It was a calm and fairly relaxed morning although as Sean and Neilly had been up at the training ground with the other lads and therefore were not at the meeting, they were desperate to find out what he had said.
And, naturally, when we were in a position of power like that, we only gave out the info in dribs and drabs……much to their annoyance!
The Boss might not have been very angry with us but he was very annoyed with the Clyde management, in other words, Davie White, and made his feelings known to the reporters. The headlines told the story;
Stein Hits Out “We’re not fooled by injury smokescreen”
Celtic manager Jock Stein hit out today at the ‘injury smokescreen’ being put up by Clyde Boss Davie White on tomorrow’s Scottish Cup semi-final replay at Hampden.
Said Jock in a frank but surprising statement – “You can quote me on this. We are not falling for all this ballyhoo about injuries. They said the same thing about their troubles last week but all their players turned out on Saturday.
It looks like the same thing is happening again.- but we are not being kidded. We will take their team as it comes – and certainly the fans tomorrow will see a different Celtic in action”.
He might have been annoyed with Clyde but at training – and in that Monday morning meeting – the Boss had been very calm and measured in his words. We were under pressure – as was he – not only from the wider press but from the support too.
They were getting really excited at the prospect of their team winning every trophy that particular season and that would, of course, include a first-ever win by a British side of the European Cup. Whenever we met them and – of course, particularly in those days, there was a constant inter-action between the players and the supporters – they told us how happy they were with all that had happened so far and urged us to go all the way. Their enthusiasm was infectious but it was putting a bit of a strain on us and the Boss was quite right to recognize it and try to help us cope with it.
However, just at that moment at Barrowfield, all our thoughts were on the immediate match and that was the Scottish Cup semi-final replay against Clyde the following evening. So, after some light work, the Boss took us through some moves that he thought might work out usefully for us at the National Stadium. They certainly felt inventive!
Before the Match.
As on the previous Saturday, the bus took us for a pre-match meal over to the hotel near the Cathkin Braes – this time in the late afternoon – and everyone had turned up on time. Well, it was a Scottish Cup semi-final replay after all?
At a time like that, the players could be divided into various groups. There were the more noisy ones – I would put Gemmell, Johnstone, Auld and Lennox in that category. There was also the ‘quieter but still likely to raise a bit of noise from time to time’ lot – like Simpson, Fallon, Craig, Wallace, McNeill, Murdoch and Hughes; and that left the four ‘quietest of the lot’ ones – Clark, O’Neill, Gallagher and Chalmers.
Now, when I use the word ‘quiet’, please remember that I am referring to professional footballers, so the word must be used advisedly. Never have I met a truly quiet one by ordinary standards. But by the guidelines of pro players, ‘noisy’ would mean unbelievably loud; ‘noisy from time to time’ meant that they had spells of never shutting up; so ‘quietest of the lot’ did not mean that they did not talk at all. Far from it. They just did not rattle on as much as the others.
Anyway, everyone seemed to be in good fettle on that afternoon. Perhaps they were feeling the same as me, that we had not played well in the first match the previous Saturday and had come away with a draw so that night could only be better. We all hoped so.
It was a curious position for us all to be in at that pre-match meal. The one topic of interest for all of us was the fitness of Chopper yet rather surprisingly, that was the one subject that no one spoke about. Through the years, people have been surprised when I mentioned that but I explained to them that I, for one, always felt that someone’s fitness or recovery from injury were very much the preserve of the player and if he did not want to tell us then that was his right.
Chopper seemed to be in good form at the pre-match meal and we could only read into his talk and humour and try to make our own minds up. I thought we had missed his presence against Clyde in the first match and hoped that he would be right for the replay.
The bus trip over to Hampden always made us feel good, especially when the fans were giving us a great welcome, clapping us all the way down the drive at Hampden. As we came off the bus, that noise level increased and we walked into the foyer feeling ten feet tall. However, I wonder how many supporters would have believed it if they had been told that at that moment, none of us knew the chosen eleven?
After a walk out to the pitch and a check of conditions, we gathered back in the dressing – room for the big announcement. And I was not surprised to hear that Chopper had not made it.
From the team which had started on Saturday, Wispy retained his place, Charlie came in and Yogi dropped to the bench. But the set-up was different, too. Bertie and Charlie would be the midfield duo and Wispy would move forwards to his more accustomed position alongside Stevie
Wallace, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Gallagher, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld
Anderson, Staite, McHugh
McFarlane, Gilroy, Knox, Stewart, Hastings
The final words from the Boss were that he wanted us to start as we had finished on Saturday – in other words, take control. And right from the start, we did exactly that, putting the Clyde under real pressure and getting an immediate reward –
2 minutes…..Stevie drove a shot towards McCulloch. He managed to stop it but the ball slithered from his grasp and Lemon whipped it into the corner of the net.
That relaxed us and we continued to move forward freely, putting some nice moves together. Eventually, one got us another goal –
22 minutes…Fine play by Bertie, who controlled a head flick from Stevie, evaded Anderson’s challenge and then sent a shot into the roof of the net.
Frankly – and I know this sounds like I am being wise after the event but honestly, all of us thought the same – that was game over. We continued to dominate the first half, then after the break, when we were expecting a Clyde onslaught, we found that the fight seemed to have gone out of them and it was fairly easy for us to keep control of the play. The only memorable moments were the booking of Anderson for a foul on Bertie and the substitution of Yogi for Jinky, the wee man going off with a leg injury.
Final Score Celtic 2 Clyde 0
It had been a good night for the Celtic fans making up the vast majority of the crowd given as 55,138. And they had the satisfaction of knowing that their side would now be in the Scottish Cup Final on April 29 against Aberdeen.
The 36th general meeting of Interpol will be held this autumn in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss ways to cope with recent international crime, the Japanese police agency said today.
The 8-day meeting of the international police organization, beginning on September 27, will be the first to take place in Asia.
About 50 Glasgow people, including seven children, turned up at the Kelvin Hall today to bid for 30 parts as extras in the controversial Passion play – and for many it was a case of getting in by a whisker.
It was an advantage to look like a biblical shepherd – and all the bearded candidates landed parts.
The 30 people chosen will be paid £25 for 18 performances and will start rehearsals tonight.
A Mind of Its Own
An experimental satellite launched from Cape Kennedy last night was reported out of control today after its second-stage rocket failed to ignite properly.
Informed sources said the Applications Technology Satellite was tumbling out of control and would either shake itself apart or burn up in the earth’s atmosphere within a few weeks.
Fierce clashed broke out all over strike-paralysed Aden today as British troops battled with rioting demonstrators , grenade throwers and rooftop snipers.
Altogether, 41 people, including six suspected snipers, were arrested, while 35 people detained earlier were released.
The Rolling Stones’ war cry – “You kids are cold, we’re gonna make you warm” sent a crowd of 13,000 fans wild in Vienna last night.
Mini-skirted girls fainted and long haired boys ripped their shirts off during the group’s performance.
Steel – helmeted riot police squads ejected about 200 screaming teenagers from the Stadthalle Stadium and held more than 100 for questioning after they showered the stage with fireworks and wrecked furniture.
Nowhere to Go
Radio Scotland’s ‘homeless’ pirate pop ship Comet, which has been sheltering from a force 8 gale in Loch Ewe, Wester Ross, is heading for the Mull of Kintyre today.
But Steel and Bennie, owners of the tug Cruiser, which is towing the Comet have had no notification from Radio Scotland managing director Mr Tommy Shields where to take her.