I was becoming a little weary of the hot/cold water treatment. I was back in for a session on the Tuesday night – but only after I had done some running and sprinting – had to turn up again on Wednesday lunchtime, then back again on the Thursday evening. I was feeling pretty good and running fine, although I must confess to failing to admit that a lot of painkillers were going down into my system as well!
I got a surprise message from the Dean’s office in mid-week, saying that he would like to see me, so I got myself along there promptly. I also had a good idea of the topic that would be under discussion.
In order to be allowed to sit the final examinations, every dental student had to accumulate a certain total of points – awarded for the number of fillings, scalings, dentures, crowns etc. performed on patients. I was seriously struggling for numbers in this area, as I was taking too much time off to attend to my other duties at Celtic Park, including one trip to Tbilisi.
I had passed all the relevant exams but that points total was becoming a real problem and I just knew that my lack of numbers would be the area under discussion. And it was. The Dean could not have been more pleasant – and I was grateful for that – but he did come up with a solution to the problem.
Normally, final year students in dentistry take the first part of their finals in March and the second part in June. So, in order for me to catch up on the points total, he suggested that I did the first part in June and the second part in September. A perfect solution, for which he got my eternal thanks.
A Not So Happy Boss
I told the Boss of my new plan the following day. Much to my surprise, he was not pleased. I can still recall his words : “That means we will have to do without you on the summer tour plus the first couple of months of the new season?”.
I didn’t say anything, as I was absolutely gutted! Later on, I realised that both of us were probably being a bit selfish, me only thinking of myself and the Boss only thinking of the club. However, we did part on speaking terms.
At a meeting at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland, it was decided that substitutes should be used in all matches, whether for injured players or not. Most of the players at Parkhead – much more experienced than me – were fully in agreement with the proposal.
At lunchtime on the Friday, after my treatment, I was taken out behind the goals again for another fitness test, with Neilly and the bibs. I thought I did well; I had some pain with the twisting and turning but it did not hinder me in any way and I was pretty pleased with my performance.
You can imagine my annoyance, then, when I saw the Boss shake his head as he came towards me, then confirmed my worst fears : “we’ll give it another week”.
I was absolutely seething, got off the pitch as quickly as possible, had a shower, got dressed and made my way out to my car, just wanting to be on my own. When I got to the car, though, Neilly was standing alongside it. “I know you’re disappointed, son,” he declared, “but you are doing well just now and you don’t wan’t to be caught short because you are not 100% fit. Now, you might think that you were twisting and turning well today but the boss and I thought that there was just a wee bit of hesitation when you were doing it. That’s why you need another week. OK, Jim”. And with that, he gave me a big smile, a pat on the back and then headed back inside the stand.
As I drove back to the Hospital, I calmed down a bit and re-assessed the situation. The ankle was a bit tender, so perhaps to wait another week was the right thing to do. I only hoped that Celtic would not beat Hearts too easily the next day, otherwise I could be out for more than a week!
Hearts had gone out of the Fairs Cup in midweek. They had received a bye in round one, then beat Valerengen of Norway 4-1 over two legs in round two.
That had given them a place in round three, where they met Real Zaragoza of Spain. The first leg – at Tynecastle on 12th January had finished in a 3-3 draw; the second leg in Zaragoza on 26th January had also finished in a draw, this time 2-2, so the teams were locked on a 5-5 stalemate. That meant a toss of the coin to decide the venue for the play-off and Real Zaragoza won that and then went on to win the match 1-0 in Spain on 2nd March 1966.
So, this meeting between Hearts and Celtic in a Scottish Cup tie was coming only three days after the third Real Zaragoza match. Between the travelling and the disappointment of the result, it would be a miracle if the Jam Tarts were feeling great. Tynecastle was always a tough place to visit but taking all these points into account, might this not be the perfect time for us to meet them?
Last time round, I asked from which club Celtic had signed the promising youngster Henry Quinn and the answer was St Mirren.
This time the question is about Neilly Mochan; he scored a famous goal in the Coronation Cup final from – in Jock Stein’s estimation – about 40 yards! But how far out did Neilly think he was when he made the strike?
An experiment with traffic ‘boxes’ is to be tried out in Glasgow at six main road junctions. It will be an offence for motorists to block the crossings. The maximum penalty for being caught in the yellow-lined boxes will be £20.
An Old Way of Travel – Gone!
The Indian government has declared the abolition of rickshaw pulling because it is beneath human dignity and may impair the health of the puller.
An Egyptian customs official who insisted on opening all of Gina Lollobrigida’s luggage at Cairo Airport has been moved to another department because of ‘discourtesy’.