6th March 1968:  Celtic v Aberdeen – League

4th March

Everyone back in for training and with the match against Aberdeen coming up on the Wednesday, there was plenty of effort being put in. This was a time when you wanted to show the Boss that you were very keen to take part in everything that was going on.

I was definitely running a lot more freely after the weekend but, to be honest, I did not think that I was ready for a match. I never felt that the Boss was too keen on doing those one-to-ones with players about how you felt. Perhaps he had been ‘conned’ in the past by some player or other or perhaps he just preferred to rely on the evidence of his own eyes. If he had been looking at me that day, he would have seen that, for all the effort I was putting in, the final product in terms of pace was not quite what it should be, so I did not expect to be in the side for the clash with the Dons.


The report about the Kilmarnock match in one of the evening papers that night was surmounted by a headline about one man in the team –

 It’s That Old Johnstone Magic!”


Wee Jimmy certainly had his moments but I should imagine that Wispy had reasons to feel slightly annoyed. It is not often that a player scores four times in a match and does not get a mention for being top player, so perhaps the Wallace household was not the happiest in the country that night!


5th March

Celtic and Rangers were ordered to play their postponed Glasgow Cup semi-final at Ibrox Park on Monday. And that means a hectic time for Rangers – 5 games in 10 days!


At Parkhead, we all trained, although some were definitely out of the forthcoming match. Luggy was still suffering from his back; Bertie had knee and ankle problems. I trained with the rest but was very grateful to see that we did not finish the session with our usual 7 – or 8-a-side. If somebody had caught me on my sore leg, well, I had better not go into the possible consequences. I think assault is an offence.


There was an interesting set of stats in one of the evening papers. It showed the record of the major clubs over the past 5 matches –

Goals Points Total Points
For Against Home Away
Celtic 15 1 4 6 10
Rangers 16 6 6 4 10
Hibs            16 7 4 4 8

2000 Clyde shipyard workers are to lose their jobs between April and August. This shock news was announced this afternoon by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.


Day of the Match

Everybody in the first-team pool – apart from me – did not have to report until later in the afternoon. I was told to do the same but I also came in early morning to do a work-out, as I had not played for some time.

I was not expected and was even treated with a certain amount of annoyance by the ground staff boys. They had been getting the dressing-rooms ready for the match that afternoon and did not want to clean them a second time. They did not exactly say that I was a nuisance but I got the message anyway and after training, kept my gear on, put my own clothes in a bag and made by way home to have a bath in peace. Not quite in peace, though, as my Mum told me to make sure that I cleaned the bathroom afterwards. Honestly, it was a tough life being a professional footballer!

The guys and I all reported around 6pm for the match having provided our own pre-match meal at home. The Dons were not doing particularly well that season and at the time of the game were 10th in the table with a record of P22 W9 D4 L9 F40 A34 Pts22.

Still, they usually had a habit of raising their game when playing Celtic and we could take no chances if we wanted to keep the pressure on Rangers.


The Teams


Gemmell, O’Neill
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Gallagher, Hughes.
Sub:  Hay


Whyte, Shewan
Peterson, McMillan, Murray
Johnston, Smith, Watt, Buchan, Craig.
Sub: Robb


The Play

Anyone coming in late for this game would have missed a couple of goals as we just took control right from the start and drove the Dons players backwards –

3 minutes….Yogi pushed a short pass to Charlie and his cross was headed in by Lemon.  1-0 Celtic

7 minutes….Shot by Charlie which Billy got his head to.  2-0 Celtic


Aberdeen got a little bit of a breather after that but only in terms of goals. We still controlled the play but it was not until the half-hour mark that we added to our tally –

30 minutes….cross from Yogi was chested down by Lemon and he then hammered the ball past Bobby Clark.  3-0 Celtic

35 minutes…this time a hard, low center by Tam was headed in by Lemon. 4-0 Celtic


The guys got an amazing ovation from the crowd of 28,000 at the interval but the match had been destroyed as a contest. Unfortunately, Celtic’s rhythm was gone and they just could not get it back. Charlie had to go off with a knock in 65 minutes and on came Davie Hay for his first-team debut.

Johnston made it 4-1 with a powerful 25-yard drive and the Dons had other chances, firstly when Ronnie had to make a good save from a Buchan header and then when Watt’s overhead lob hit the bar and bounced out.

The result, though, was never beyond doubt, although we were perhaps a little fortunate that damage had not been done to our goal average, which might yet be an important factor in deciding the league championship.

Final Score  Celtic  4  Aberdeen 1