Morning of the Match
When we all arrived at Celtic Park for the match, there was a surprise for us. Billy McNeill was out with a dose of flu. Now, that was a turn-up! The reserve team had already left for their match at Love Street and the team was Kennedy, Young, McCarron, Cattenach, Halpin, Hay, Connelly, Henderson, Quinn, Taylor and Macari, so that meant Ian Young was not in the first team.
Could it be that I would get a recall? I must confess that I was quite keyed-up about the situation!
When the team was eventually read out, I got a surprise. Tam was in at centre-half and I got the right-back berth. Bobby Lennox was back in; Jim Brogan was the sub; and Charlie Gallagher missed out altogether.
Simpson, Craig, O’Neill, Murdoch, Gemmell, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Auld, Lennox. Sub: Brogan
Connaghan, Murray, Gemmell, Clark, Kiernan, Pinkerton, Hutton, Hamilton, Taylor, McLaughlin, Treacy. Sub: Clunie
Right from the start, we took the game to Saints. The attacks came down both flanks and future Celt Denis Connaghan showed his ability by making a string of good saves. We did get the ball in the net a couple of times but at the first, Joe was ruled offside and at the second, Jinky was also penalised. By half-time, it was still goalless.
Within two minutes of the re-start, though, we broke through. Tam picked up a loose ball and ran forwards before sending a cracker of the shot which beat Denis Connaghan all ends up. The fans might have thought that a few more goals would follow but instead the goal seemed to inspire the Buddies players more than us. First they got the ball in the net through Hutton but the ref disallowed it for offside; then in 55 minutes, Treacy chased a long ball and poked it past Ronnie for the equaliser.
It was a frustrating match to play in. Certainly we worked hard enough but we were just off the pace – for no specific reason – and they were quite inspired. So, although we had most of the ball right throughout the 90 minutes, they were able to frustrate us and eventually this frustration was too much for firstly Stevie, who was booked for retaliation and then Bobby Murdoch, who was ordered off, seven minutes from the end, apparently for something he said to the linesman.
Final Score: Celtic 1 St Mirren 1
Although it was a full five days after Halloween, one of the evening papers just could resist using this headline ;-
No Guising! Saints Hold Celts
Aberdeen 3 Hearts 1
Airdrie 2 Dundee United 2
Dundee 4 St Johnstone 0
Dunfermline 4 Clyde 0
Hibs 3 Falkirk 1
Kilmarnock 0 Partick Thistle 0
Rangers 5 Motherwell 1
Stirling Albion 1 Ayr United 1