5th August 1968
In the days after the defeat by Leeds United at Hampden, the comments in the press were still fairly uncomplimentary about Celtic’s loss while at the same time recognising the quality of the English side. One headline singled out the visiting keeper for a special mention –
Celtic KO’d by Super Sprake
There could be little doubt that Gary Sprake in the Leeds goal had played a stormer at Hampden but it was also true that most of the boys had been a bit below par, only a few rising to the level of which they were capable. That was the reason why we had lost.
The whole squad had been given the day after the match off but then we were all back in again on the 5th and it was business as usual. There was firstly a lengthy discussion about the Leeds encounter – what we did wrong and how it all could be corrected – and then we all took part in what turned out to be a quite competitive practice match, with our supposed defects being pointed out and dealt with.
We were all a bit surprised by the intensity of the morning, especially as a few of us were going to be in action the following night against Hamilton in another friendly but at least we were not brought in again in the afternoon!
In the press later that day, Jock Stein was quoted as saying that Ronnie Simpson – in goal against Leeds – would also be playing at least part of this game –“Ronnie looked as though he could do with another game quickly so I have listed him in my team along with John Fallon for tomorrow night’.
Day of the Match
The chosen squad all reported in the late afternoon to Parkhead and left by coach for Douglas Park. To be honest, everyone was taking the occasion very seriously. All the players involved were out of the first team at that time and were desperate to get back in again, so matches like this were an opportunity to make one’s presence felt and we were all keen to take advantage of it.
Connelly, Jacky Clarke, John Clark
Wilson, McBride, Quinn, Gallagher and Davidson.
It turned out to be a very competitive match during which Hamilton gave as good as they got. However, we got off to the best possible start thanks to centre-forward Jimmy Quinn, grandson of the famous player of the early years of the 20th century.
Jimmy knocked in two goals in the 6th and 8th minutes and although Hamilton pulled one back before the interval, we held on to the lead till the end.
One of the evening papers did a little critique of the first team players involved as follows –
*Jim Craig and John Clark – both played their usual efficient game without trying to be over-elaborate.
*Joe McBride – tried to find the goal form of earlier seasons but his luck was out.
*Charlie Gallagher – showed once again that he has few peers in passing the ball to a team-mate in a better shooting position.
The report also mentioned that the star of the evening was Hamilton keeper Billy Lamont, ‘who time and time again thwarted the best-laid scoring schemes of Celtic, particularly in the second half of a game which provided first-rate entertainment for the 6,000 fans’.
Final Score Hamilton Academical 1 Celtic 2