There did not seem to be any great enthusiasm among the Glasgow football-supporting public anyway, so it was probably no great disappointment for many when the Old Firm Select v Moscow Dynamo match was called off for the second time in 24 hours.
Those in charge at Celtic FC had seemed quite confident the previous evening – when the Hampden match was cancelled – that the Parkhead pitch and its surrounds would be up to staging the game. However, another frosty night over Friday/Saturday –when the temperature dropped even further than had been the case in the run up to the weekend – mean that not only was the pitch even more hard and icy but the terracings and walkways were dangerous too. So, Hugh Phillips had no choice but to cancel the encounter, which would have given the Soviet players the night off. I wonder what they did? Cossack dancing at the Barrowland, perhaps?
Unfortunately, that drop in temperature had also affected the pitch at Love Street, where the St Mirren/Celtic friendly was due to take place and the referee called in early on Saturday morning had no choice but to cancel the match. That gave the Celtic players a Saturday afternoon off and there was much discussion as to what they were going to do with it. Unfortunately, though – at least for you – in the interests of player/teammate confidentially……I’m not going to tell you what they got up to!
The Scots in Sorrento
‘The Scotland team are by now well set-up in their hotel in Sorrento, where they have been met by a few Scottish fans. They have been excellent ambassadors although one of the crucial moments of the trip will come this afternoon, when they will learn of Jock Stein’s selection for tomorrow’s make or break tie here in tumbledown Naples, the city of fantastic contrasts – beauty in the bay, squalor in the streets.
But you folk back home in Scotland won’t be told today. Italy’s fans won’t hear it either.
And – the main point in the ‘keep-it-dark’ campaign, neither will Italian team boss Edmundo Fabbri!’
Jock Stein was quoted as follows;-
‘Morale has never been higher and the boys have never been more determined to do their best.
Meantime, I’ll be glad if you would tell the folks back home that there is no despondency in the Scottish camp following last-minute call-offs’
Trainer Walter McCrae added :
You should have seen the lads when word came out that Jim Baxter, Denis Law and Billy Stevenson had had to be pulled out.
They just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, we’ll just have to play that bit harder!”
There has been talk of a protest march in Naples tomorrow.
The Neopolitans are incensed because their allocation of 23,000 out of 90,000 tickets has been insufficient.
There is every likelihood of attempted gate-crashing tomorrow.
A Bit of Needle
Just for a laugh, on the night before the match, when I got off my bus beside the shops on the main road just up from my parents, I dropped into the café to buy and ice-cream and had a few words with the proprieter, who was, naturally, from Italy.
In the course of our conversation about the match on the morrow, he came out with a wonderful line, in one of those half/Italian, half/Glasgow accents ; “You know, son, ah cannae make my mind up. My ‘hert’ says Scotland but my ‘heid’ says Italy!”
I just hoped that his ‘hert’ was the better football tipster!