7th December 1966: Celtic v Nantes European Cup – Part Two

Afternoon of the Match


These were difficult matches for someone like me, who was trying to get my place back in the first team. As far as I was concerned, the victory over in Nantes had effectively sealed the tie, so unless our guys screwed up badly in the second leg and did not play at all or Nantes had an ‘A’ game that they had not shown in France, then Celtic were through to the next round.

The best I could hope for was that Celtic would not play all that well but still win, with the added circumstance of Nantes playing well enough to make our defence, particularly the fullbacks, look less than perfect on occasion.

Isn’t it dreadful the thoughts that fly through one’s mind at a time like that? However, I can assure you that every player in the position I was in would be thinking along the same lines, although perhaps not expressing themselves quite so eloquently!

Anyway, the atmosphere outside the ground as I made my way to the front door from the car park was electric; Bill Peacock, the commissionaire in the resplendent green and gold outfit at the front door was at his most welcoming; and once inside, I found all the guys in equally good form. The Boss, as always when we had a lead from the first leg, was just advising everyone not to get carried away and think the tie was won but he was preaching to the converted. There was no chance of anyone under-estimating the French champions, even if we did have a 3-1 lead from the first leg. Even though I was not involved, I found a great satisfaction even to be there on the periphery and it made me even more resolved to get back in the side again.

The Match

celtic The Teamsnantes

Simpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, Chalmers, Auld, Lennox.

Georgin, Le Chenadec, Budzinski, Robin, Grabowski, Kovacevic, Georgen, Blanchet, Simon, Magny, Michel.

The surprise for the crowd of 41,000 was that Joe McBride had pulled out with a slight knee injury and Charlie Gallagher came in. To be without your top scorer might have been a worry for the support but they were given good news quite early on ;-

13 minutes:
Jinky made a run right through the Nantes defence and beat keeper Georgin with a low, well-placed shot. 1-0 Celtic

That put Celtic 4-1 up on aggregate and quite frankly, all of us in the stand, whether player or spectator, expected Nantes to fold completely. Instead, they upped their game and even equalised just before the interval.

36 minutes:
.midfielder Georgen strode forward and beat Ronnie with a fine shot. 1-1

That put the cat among the pigeons and Nantes showed that they could play with another good attempt before the break, when that man Georgen sent a fine shot goalwards and only a great save by Ronnie kept it out. At half-time, it was still 1-1.

Now, I was not in the dressing room at the interval but I heard later the Boss was not at all pleased with the first half showing and let them all know it. Nantes had used the offside trap to great effect in the first half and how to counteract that also got a mention.

From the whistle for start of the second half, it was different Celtic team in action, one much more effervescent, with more drive and directness. And it was not long before they got a reward, most of the hard work being done by Jinky;-

56 minutes:
Jimmy sent a lovely cross into the middle, right on to the head of Stevie, who made no mistake from 10 yards. 2-1 Celtic

And it was the wee Man who also provided the cross for the third goal ;-

78 minutes:
another nice cross, this one met on the volley by Bobby Lennox.

Final Score Celtic 3 Nantes 1 Aggregate 6-2

Nantes took their defeat graciously, striker Jacques Simon even tipping Celtic to win the tournament.

Other Results

In Holland, in the first leg of their second round tie in the European Cup, Liverpool were thrashed 5-1 by Ajax and their 17 year old wonderkid Johan Cruyff

A Quality Headpiece

A Russian Imperial nuptial crown, fashioned from Catherine the Great’s belt and studded with 1535 diamonds has been auctioned for £27,680 in New York. The tiny 19th century crown was worn by the last three Tsarinas at their weddings.

Big Bird

A white-feathered 18-month-old stag turkey weighing 63lbs 5ozs, big enough for 280 Christmas dinners, won the heaviest turkey competition at the International Poultry Show at Olympia, London.

Although the winner beat last year’s weight of 62lbs, it was still below the world record of 63lbs 11ozs set up in 1964.

Tragic Lack of Knowledge

The man in charge of tipping on Aberfan’s tip number 7 – the one that rolled down on to the village and killed 144 people – told the disaster tribunal at Merthyr Tydfil that he was never given detailed instructions about his job.

Mr Leslie Davies said that when he was appointed a tip charge-hand 12 years ago he had been told to look after tip machinery.

But nothing had been said about safety in relation to the tip itself falling.