Before the Match
Like the rest of the guys, I had an early lunch and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. However, the timing of all this was quite important. For some reason, which I was never able to work out, we did not meet for a pre-match meal that afternoon, so that had to be taken at home as well.
There was one other unusual feature of the day, though, and this one was for the record books. We had been split into two groups for reporting to Parkhead. One group, which we shall call the ‘heavy mob’ (consisting of Hughes, McNeill, Murdoch, Gallagher, Clark and Gemmell) was told to report at 4.30pm.
All of these liked – or possibly were told to – have a little workout before a match, a stint just a little more physical than that undertaken by the later group, the ‘skinny mob’ who reported at 7pm and just did a short stint on the pitch just prior to the match. I was in that group, along with Simpson, Chalmers, Johnstone and Lennox.
That 7pm time was also a very critical one for all of us. At that point, just as the crowds were beginning to come into the stadium in their droves, the team was announced.
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark,
Johnstone, Lennox, Chalmers, Gallagher, Hughes.
Sekeres, Brzic, Nesticki,
Rakic, Dakic, Radsosav, Trivic, Pusibric.
Usually the home side in a tie like this takes the initiative but on that night, both teams went for it and Vojvodina missed a real chance in 5 minutes, Pusibric missing a positive sitter from 6 yards.
That caused a bit of looking around in our team – defences always like to look for a culprit at a time like that – but we soon threw that off and took control of the play, dominating for the next 40 minutes. However, the expected breakthrough just did not come.
It was not the happiest of dressing-rooms at the break, as we were all a bit gutted at the effort we had put in and the lack of rewards it brought. But the Boss was at his calm best, stressing that as long as we kept the pressure on, the break would come so just continue with the way we had been playing.
We went at them again in the second half and to be honest, just as we were thinking a goal would never come, it did…
a simple cross by Tam was fumbled by goalkeeper Pantelic and Stevie was right on the spot to do the necessary. 1-0 Celtic
The crowd went mad and we could all feel their tension in the way they were urging us on. Jinky was proving a thorn to the left side of the Slavs defence; Yogi was doing equally well on their right side. They helped make the chances and the shots rained in. Charlie, Yogi, Jinky, Yogi again, Tam and Stevie. Most were on target but they found Pantelic back in wonderful form
Almost on the whistle, Jinky went on another great run, this time causing the defence to put the ball out for a corner. Over went Charlie to take it; up went Cesar into the box. Charle swung over a beautiful cross, a cluster of heads went for it but Cesar’s blonde locks were higher than the rest and he powered home a powerful winner.
The crowd went mad, as did Ronnie, belying his age as he turned cartwheels and swung from the cross-bar. The Slavs looked shocked and defeated; only seconds later, they were beaten, as the referee blew the whistle for the end of the match.
Final Score Celtic 2 Vojvodina 0 Aggregate 2-1
As you might imagine, the dressing room afterwards was bedlam. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was the noisiest, most celebratory moment in my Celtic career. Unlike Lisbon, we took a bow in front of the wonderful fans before heading up the tunnel to a place we knew well and then did we let go! And eventually, once we had bathed and put on our normal clothes, there was another problem, that of literally fighting our way to our cars through hordes of supporters, all keen to cuddle us and tell us what a great night they had.
To be honest, so did we and, as one paper pointed out, Billy’s header saved us all a trip to Rotterdam for the third match.
Two armed East German guards, aged 20 and 21, fled to the West last night. They left their double-sentry post and crawled under barbed-wire fences into the British sector.
Dundee announced today that both Andy Penman and Alec Hamilton can leave Dens Park – if the right offer comes in.
Glasgow Weather Centre reported today that a 143 m.p.h. gust of wind was recorded yesterday 3500 feet above sea level in the Cairngorms.
When confirmed, this will be the strongest gust ever recorded by a surface wind recorder in the UK.
Previous highest was122 m.p.h. at 2142 feet above sea level, on Lowther Hill, Lanarkshire.
Nearer sea level, the highest recorded wind was 116 m.p.h. at Tiree on 26th February last year.