Back to the grind – 17 July 1967

17th July 1967

Most folk reached the park early and the gossip was plentiful, with stories about the holidays and also what was happening in the rest of Scottish football. The Boss, though, was quick to bring us to heel and gave us a little pep talk which at the time seemed a trifle banal but also one which proved to be very precise in the context of the ensuing season.


It was to the effect that by our hard work in the previous season, we had reached the top of the tree, as far as football was concerned. The problem was, he went on, that those who reached the top of the tree were the target for all those in the lower positions, so we could expect that the players of every single team in the country would do their utmost to upset our day. And, to be honest, once the season got underway, it did not take us long to figure out that what he had said was perfectly true. Teams that we had beaten comfortably the season before were determined to show that they could compete – in terms of football and physicality – against this team which had won the European Cup.


However, on that Monday, after the pep talk, training got underway and was as tough as most of us had expected. As in the previous season, the ‘heavy’ bunch – which did not include my 6 feet 1 inch and 12 stone – were forced to wear the plastic under-garments designed for those trying to lose weight. When they took them off at the end of the session, the water fairly poured out of them. When I saw the discomfort that these guys were suffering, it made me even more pleased that I had continued to train all during the close season.


The session was indeed a tough one – even for those who had kept themselves ticking over during the summer break – but as usual, the coaching staff made it varied and interesting, so we could have no complaints on that score. And, rather surprisingly, we were not asked to come back in again for an afternoon stint



Naturally, the press covered the start of the new season and this offering was in one of the evening papers that day;

‘Celtic, who swept the boards last season, are back at work.

First arrival for the new season at Celtic Park today was Bobby Lennox, who was at the ground half an hour before the 10 o’clock deadline.

Before the arrival of his players, manager Jock Stein said  – “we will be training each morning of this week at Parkhead”.

Jock expects to have Joe McBride, who was out of the team in the closing months of last season after a cartilage operation, taking part in all the training sessions.

Celtic open at Hampden Park on Saturday 5th August, with a glamour game against FA Cup winners Spurs.

The game is creating such interest on both sides of the border that Celtic have decided to allocate a fifth of the available stand tickets – 3,000 out of 15,000 –to Spurs supporters.

Celtic are almost certain to send out the side which beat Inter Milan in the European Cup final in Lisbon.

Celtic have still not arranged any dates for their European Cup tie with Kiev Dynamo.

Other full-time clubs who started training today were Dundee, Dunfermline, Hearts, Motherwell, Morton and St Johnstone’.