9th November 1968: Arbroath v Celtic – League

4th November

All the guys – except those who were in the international squad – had the day off, which gave me the chance to be in the dental practice full-time and catch up with some paperwork.

The papers were more concerned with match coming up against Austria on the Wednesday and the weather seemed to be causing some problems down the Ayrshire coast –

Extra Stint for Scots Tonight

‘Scotland’s World Cup players, preparing for Wednesday night’s vital qualifying match with Austria at Hampden, will put in an extra training session tonight – because the ground at the Inverclyde Recreation Centre was icy and dangerous this morning.

They did take part in some light running, then headed for Glasgow, firstly to see a World Cup film and then they all travelled over to Hampden, not only to see the makeshift dressing-rooms after the fire but also the pitch itself’.

In spite of all the discussions about the position of Jimmy Johnstone over the previous few days, the Wee Man was with the squad. His display against Dundee in the 3-1 win on the previous Saturday had been very impressive and one of those who agreed with that description was Red Star’s master spy – Tosa Zivanovic – who told the press how impressed he had been by Jinky’s talent.

The Yogoslavs had beaten local rivals V.O.K. Belgrade 2-0 at the weekend and were now lying 4th in the league table. Star outside-left Dragan Djazic was not in the team because of a leg injury but he did fly to Brazil on Sunday to play for a FIFA Select.


Glasgow was fine for our work at Barrowfield but cold and icy winds were in evidence down at Largs, causing Scotland manager Bobby Brown to cut short his training sessions. The press seemed to know just where Scotland could win the match against Austria –

Johnstone Ready

Scotland to Win on the Wings


5th November

We all trained at Barrowfield; down at Largs, Bobby Brown announced his team for the Austria match –

Simpson, Gemmell (Celtic), McCreadie ( Chelsea), Bremner (Leeds), McKinnon, Greig (Rangers), Johnstone (Celtic), Cooke (Chelsea), Law ( Manchester Utd), Lennox, Hughes (Celtic).

For one of our stalwarts, it was a big day –

McBride Gets Ready for Ibrox

‘Joe McBride, one of the greatest goalscorers ever to play for Celtic, left Parkhead for the last time yesterday  – and today he was out in full training with his new club Hibernian at Easter Road. Jock Stein told the press – “Joe invariably gave 100 % effort. He was exciting to watch, a gentleman on the field and a great credit to this club. If he does half as well for Hibs, the transfer fee will be money well spent”.

6th November

The previous evening, at Hampden, Scotland had beaten Austria 2-1 and as the press had suggested, it was the wingers who did most damage –

High Praise for Johnstone and Hughes

It was rather a strange affair, really. Certainly it was competitive enough with Scotland always seeming to have that extra ‘edge’ but referee Kurt Leidberg of Sweden was quoted as saying  – “it was a clean game…I had no problem in keeping control of the players” – a statement which would appear to be at odds with the bookings count of four for Scotland ( Cooke, Gemmell, sub Gilzean and Lennox) and two for Austria?

The Austrian Boss was gracious in defeat and complimented the Scots for their efforts –

Scots Can Reach Mexico

7th November

The boys arrived back from the Scotland camp so everyone was together for a good work-out. Ronnie had taken a bit of a blow to a leg so he did not do much. Tam was in the best of form, until he was informed by the Boss that the booking he got against Austria meant that he now had three for the season and would be appearing before the SFA Referee Committee. He was not a happy bunny! In fact, I never knew bunnies knew as many bad words as that?

8th November

The usual light day-before-the-match routine, with Tam still complaining. The Boss announced that the team against Arbroath would be the same as the one against Dundee and then also informed us that he would be going to Belgrade on Saturday to see Red Star in action, so Sean Fallon would be in charge of the team.

The Day of the Match 9th November 1968

It might have been an all-ticket sell-out of a match at Arbroath but it did not obviously merit a pre-match lunch, so we all ate at home then headed for Parkhead to catch the coach for the east coast.

There was a forced change in the team. Ronnie’s knee was still not quite 100% so with a big European tie coming up, the management were taking no chances so out went Ronnie and in came John Fallon.

The Teams



Booth, Riddle
Kennedy, Stirling, Hughes
Sellers, Reid, Jack, Bruce, Wilkie.
Sub: Cant


Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Lennox, Hughes.
Sub: Auld

The Play

Arbroath had been promoted from Division Two in the summer and were struggling a bit, lying bottom of the table and only having taken one point from their previous 9 matches. And unfortunately for the home support, the gulf between the two sides showed right from the start of the match and the goals soon came along –

12 minutes
Steve Chalmers dragged the ball across the 18-yard line and hammered a left -foot shot past the Arbroath keeper.  1-0 Celtic

15 minutes
cross by me and Cesar was in the right spot. 2-0 Celtic

Then something strange happened…..the goals dried up. Whether we took our foot off the gas or they defended better than they did in first quarter-of-an-hour is debatable but what we can say for sure is the score-line of 2-0 stayed like that until well into the second half –

53 minutes
cross by Yogi and Mr Wallace was on hand to blast the ball home.  3-0 Celtic

61 minutes
by this time Jinky was having one of those days where he took on everyone in the opposition ranks and the run and pass to Stevie for goal number four was quite exceptional.   4-0 Celtic

89 minutes….there was quite a wait for the last, nearly till the final whistle but when it did come, it was Stevie Chalmers who got it, giving him a hat-trick on the day.

Final Score  Arbroath 0  Celtic  5


Clyde 1 0 Airdrie
Dundee 1 0 Dunfermline
Hearts 2 0 Partick Thistle
Kilmarnock 5 1 Falkirk
Morton 1 0 Aberdeen
Raith Rovers 1 2 Dundee United
Rangers 6 1 Hibs
St. Johnstone 2 3 St. Mirren


Team P W D L F A GAv Pts
Celtic 10 7 2 1 22 9 2.44 16
St. Mirren 10 5 5 0 16 8 2.00 15
Dundee United 10 7 1 2 18 12 1.50 15
Rangers 10 6 2 2 28 14 2.00 14