6th November 1965: Celtic v Partick Thistle League – Report

commentButton2The Opposition

On that afternoon at Celtic Park, the listed Partick Thistle side showed one name which would have caught the attention of the Celtic support plus two others who would make a name for themselves in the future.

The ‘known’ name was Jim Conway, playing that day in the outside-right position. Jim had been at Parkhead from 1956 to 1961, making 43 appearances in the Hoops and scoring 13 goals, before arriving at Firhill after spells down south with Norwich City and Southend United.

At centre-forward for the Jags was my old Queen’s Park team-mate Andy Roxburgh, who would go on to be manager of Scotland from 1986 to 1993, before then becoming the head of UEFA’s coaching sector. And at inside-left was Davie McParland, destined later in his career to be assistant to Sean Fallon at Celtic Park at the time of Jock Stein’s car crash.


Nothing Special

Unfortunately, in spite of all the hype and expectation, the match failed to live up to expectations, as the headlines and press reports might suggest;-

Thistle Show They Are Out of the Wood – Draw with Celtic

When Jock Stein took control of Celtic in the spring he inherited a group of players wedded to a style of strong running, spirit and stamina. He has appreciably changed none of these elements or their practitioners. His achievement has been to impose on them consistency of performance.

But even the most successful theme requires variations, otherwise movements become no more effective than televised matches.

That was one reason why Celtic were unable on Saturday to extend their sequence of five successful victories. The others were the unusual instability of Celtic’s defence, deriving almost entirely from McNeill’s lack of confidence and the reorganization of the team’s right flank when Young was injured late in the second half and went to the touchline.


Now, for you younger guys reading this, that expression ‘went to the touchline’ comes from the days before substitutes. If you were injured at that time – and even if you had something quite incapacitating, like ligament damage – you were given a quick wipe down with a cold cloth, then a rub with some anaesthetizing ointment before being told to go out and play on the wing. That kept your immediate opponent occupied by your presence – even if you could only limp – and the hope was that the injury would become less troublesome and you would be able to play a more effective part in the match.


The goals in the match had come either side of the interval;

39 minutes
Bobby Murdoch passed the ball back to Ian Young, who pushed it on to Jimmy Johnstone. The Wee Man headed for the bye-line and cut the ball back to Joe McBride, who swept it home. 1-0 Celtic.

55 minutes
Ironically the goalscorer made the mistake which led to the Jags goal. McBride, almost on the edge of his own area, made an indecisive clearance and the ball came to Davie McParland. He moved it on to Andy Roxbugh, who then passed to Jim Conway and the latter scored with a hard shot. 1-1


While praising Partick Thistle’s comeback, the report did also mention that Celtic had four excellent opportunities to score before the first goal and missed another two after the Jags’ equaliser. The draw was good for Thistle but poor for Celtic and it made the league table look like this ;-

P W D L F A Pts
Rangers 10 8 2 0 33 8 18
Celtic 9 7 1 1 32 12 15
Dundee United 10 7 1 2 27 14 15
Dunfermline 10 6 3 1 27 14 15
Hibs 10 6 2 2 37 14 14

The Reserves in Action

While all this had been going on at Celtic Park, the second side had also been playing at Firhill against the Jags’ reserves.

Firhill was quite a quaint ground in those days. It had a Main Stand which was on the south side of the ground – a throwback to the days when the wealthier guys who had paid more to get into the ground did not like having to look directly into the sun – and a covered enclosure opposite, built into a hillside, behind which was the Firhill Basin, a section of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The pitch itself, at only 106 yards long, was one of the shortest in Scottish football, the 71 yard width four yards narrower than the 75 of Parkhead

Compared to the 26,000 watching the first teams clash across the city, there would have been a maximum of 300 there for the second team affair. The Celtic side was John Fallon, Jim Craig, Jim Kennedy, Davie Cattenach, John Cushley, Willie O’Neill, Stevie Chalmers, George Connelly, John Divers, Gerry Sweeney, Tony Taylor

It was a typical November afternoon in Glasgow but that did not prevent us from putting on a fine show and winning 4-0, the goals coming from John Divers (3) and George Connelly. As you can imagine, it was a happy bunch of players who got back on the bus for the return to Parkhead.

I got the driver to drop me off in the centre of town to get another bus back to my home in Cardonald. While waiting at the stop, I bought the Evening Times sports paper – the ‘Pink’ – and turned to the report of the first team match. The first thing that caught my eye was that Ian Young had been injured and spent the latter part of the game on the wing.

To my shame, I must confess that my first though was not of Ian but for my own career. “Well, now” I said to myself, “that might give me another chance?”


Help From Above

The Government today authorized a Bank of England advance of up to £1 million to the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company and their subsidiary company, Fairfield Rowan, to keep them in operation until the early spring.


A Play Upsets the Viewers

Mrs Mary Whitehouse, co-founder of the ‘Clean-Up TV’ Campaign, has sent a letter to the Minister of Health protesting against Wednesday night’s play ‘Up the Junction’ on BBC1.

The play was about three fictional Battersea girls and showed fragments of their lives round Clapham Junction. One underwent an abortion.

Mrs Whitehouse said that she had received a number of telephone calls expressing ‘deep concern’ about the programme.


Longer Runway

The possible extension of the runway at Glasgow’s new airport at Abbotsinch, Renfrewshire to accommodate trans-Atlantic air liners was discussed yesterday when members of Glasgow Corporation inspected work in progress at the airport.




A Game from the Past….and a Moment to Remember


Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC


A Game from the Past…….Goalkeeper Richard Madden had a most unfortunate debut for Celtic. With a number of players injured – Haffey, McNamee, McNeill, Murdoch, Hughes, Divers – Dick was given his chance against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in a league match on 27th March 1963. It was a disastrous match for anyone to make a debut, especially a goalkeeper. Kilmarnock won 6-0 and the following day, the papers went to town as you can imagine. Dick was in good company – Jimmy Johnstone and John Cushley also made their debuts that night – but while the other two got further chances, that game was Dick Madden’s only match for Celtic’s first team.

A Moment to Remember…..and what a moment too! In later years, Dick Madden joined ex-Celts Archie Longmuir and Bobby Evans in becoming a football pools winner!