50 Years On

396 Articles

4th December 1965 Italy v Scotland Preview #3

Anglos Unscathed in European Ties

Law Lays on Goals for United


That was the good news for Jock Stein after a number of his squad for the match against Italy had been involved in the midweek European competitions. The results were;-

Real Madrid 5 1 Kilmarnock
Chelsea 2 0 Wiener SK
Aberdeen 4 1 Slovan Bratislava
Manchester United 3 1 ASK Vorwaerts
West Ham 2 2 Olympiakos

Read More →


2nd December 1965 – Italy v Scotland Preview #2


That was the word used in at least one newspaper to describe the situation at Largs where the Scots party for the match against Italy had gathered. In another, the circumstances were laid more bare;-

Scots Training at Largs Fades into Farce

‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a’gley’ just about sums up Scotland’s preparations for the Naples match. Yesterday, when it was hoped that a 19-strong squad of players would foregather at Largs to prepare, and plot, with the ultimate idea of pulverizing Italy next week, the dismal total of players available turned out to be 10.

So, with the best intentions in the world and having made every effort possible, it is difficult to see what good can come of it.

  Read More →


Tuesday 30th November 1965: Scotland v Italy Preview #1

commentButton2Worries for the Boss

This must have been a stressful time for Jock Stein. The post of manager to one of the Old Firm sides is difficult enough but at that particular moment in 1965, Stein was also manager of a Scotland side trying to qualify for the finals of the next World Cup, to be held in England in 1966. Having beaten the Italians in the home leg – 1-0 at Hampden on 9th November – the table now stood as below;

P W D L F A Pts
Italy 5 3 1 1 14 2 7
Scotland 5 3 1 1 8 5 7
Poland 6 2 2 2 11 10 5
Finland 6 1 0 5 5 20 2

Read More →


27th November 1965 Celtic v Kilmarnock – League – Part Two

The Rugby Park Boys

This was a match with a difference, for me at any rate!

Up till now, I had always been told on the Thursday evening where I was playing and with which side, the reserves or the first team. But that particular week, when there was no reserve match at the weekend, everyone had been told to report to Celtic Park on the Saturday and the team would be announced then.

At that time of that season, Kilmarnock, who had won the title the previous campaign, were lying in 6th place in the table, some 10 points behind Celtic. Like many sides, they were not scoring enough goals and were also losing too many. However, they had some quality players and were quite capable, again like many other sides, of raising their game when they played one of Glasgow’s Big Two, so we all knew that the match would not be easy.



Celtic Park, 1960s

Celtic Park, 1960s
© Daily Record

I found the scene at Celtic Park before the match quite amusing. Every single player, when they arrived, walked right through the building to the tunnel to get out to see the pitch, which was being cleared of the straw by the ground staff. And when they came back in again into the old snooker room – now the table tennis room – I thought it was funny to see the different reactions.

Now, I must confess that I was not looking forward to playing on such a tricky surface but I had more or less resigned myself to it – if picked – and was mentally getting myself ready. Most of the others seemed to be doing the same but there were a few, including some experienced players, who were almost fuming at the thought of playing on such a surface.

Comments ranged from : “Its in terrible state” to “You can’t possibly play on that!” to “ The ref’s bound to call it off” to “Quite disgraceful, that’s what it is!”.

Anyway, while this anguish and even anger was being displayed in the table-tennis room, our coach Neilly Mochan came in to tell us that referee Mr McKenzie from Coatbridge had just inspected the pitch and found it playable! Neilly was a wise man. As soon as he had given us the news, he pushed off! And he was right to do so. As soon as he left the room, the voices were raised once more although this time even more vociferously. It was to no avail, though…the game was going ahead.


The Team

The team had not yet been announced at that point. This was a new thing for me, although I would get used to it in the forthcoming years. Suddenly, Jock Stein pushed open the door of the room, stood just inside the entrance and read out the from a sheet of paper: “Right, gentlemen, the team the afternoon is Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Lennox, Hughes. Now, get ready as quick as you can and get out for a feel of the pitch. It’s quite hard”

"Wilbur" in again for the injured McNeill © Daily Record

“Wilbur” in again for the injured McNeill © Daily Record

So, Billy McNeill did not make it; John Cushley was in. Charlie Gallagher was out from last week, Stevie Chalmers in; and Bertie Auld out, John Hughes back. The chosen ones headed for the dressing room; those left out tried to control their disappointment and carry on playing table-tennis or gather in small groups in the foyer for a chat…..no doubt about the team selection!

And there was a surprise for me in the dressing room. For the first time as a Celtic player, I put on the all-green strip.


The Match

The ground staff had been working on the pitch right up to the kick-off but it helped little. The surface was horrendous. Playing silky football was out; it was a case of trying to keep one’s feet and getting the ball forward from the back into the opposition half and let them worry about defending.

Celtic started the better, finding their feet better too and had most of the early play but Killie had a real chance when Jackie McInally –father of the future Celt Alan – went right through on a good run but lost his footing just as he tried to shoot. Celtic also made one or two chances but they were difficult ones and by half-time the game was still goalless.

‘Then Kilmarnock broke out of defence in the 57th minute and McIlroy put them into the lead when he popped up in the centre –forward position to pick up a pass from McLean. The outside-left looked offside but after the referee consulted with his linesman, the goal stood’.

 We were annoyed by the decision but had to get back into the game and the equaliser came ten minutes later;

‘Celtic got an amazing penalty goal equaliser in the 67th minute. Chalmers had challenged goalkeeper Ferguson for possession and the referee decided that Ferguson had pushed the centre and awarded a penalty.

Hughes took the kick and gave Ferguson no chance with a shot that was in the net before the goalkeeper could move’


By now, we were the more dominant team and made some other, admittedly, difficult chances. The breakthrough, though, came seven minutes from the end;


‘McBride put Celtic into the lead in the 83rd minute with a great drive from a Johnstone pass’


So, a 2-1 victory and a suitable headline in the press –

A Penalty – And Hughes Spot On

Joe McBride - hits winner © Daily Record

“Joe McBride – hits winner
© Daily Record



We were all pleased with the win – as was the Boss – as on a surface like that, mistakes are inevitable and fortunately none of ours were in crucial areas. From everyone’s reaction after the match, although most of us had come down on to the pitch with a thud at one time or another, no one seemed to be seriously injured. Bruises and grazes were about the extent of the damage. The win left the league table looking like this;







P W D L F A Pts
Rangers 13 11 2 0 43 8 24
Celtic 12 10 1 1 43 14 21
Dunfermline 13 8 4 1 40 29 20
Dundee United 13 9 1 3 41 19 19
Hibs 13 7 3 3 43 20 17


Those figures show the crucial aspect of defence in any league race. Those top five teams in the league had all roughly scored the same number of goals but look at the variation in goals against. That can often make the difference.



Nae kissing…if you want to keep your teeth!        

A dental scientist yesterday blamed kissing as a major cause of tooth decay. Recent experiments have shown that tooth decay is a highly infectious disease and not an inherent defect in teeth.

Dr Doran Zinner, reporting his findings in Florida, said : “This is not going to stop kissing but it does mean that we have taken a major step forward in stopping decay”.


Arrest of a Murderer

Captain Henry George Kendall, the man who caught Dr Crippen in 1910 died yesterday in a London nursing home. He was 91.

He had sent a message to Scotland Yard from the liner Montrose, of which he was master, revealing that Crippen was on board.

The dramatic message by wireless, a new invention, was the first step to the gallows for Crippen for murdering his wife.


Another Role for Tommy

Paramount Pictures have acquired the film rights to the British musical ‘Half a Sixpence’ still running on Broadway, it was reported in New York yesterday. The film version will also star Tommy Steele, the pop star turned actor, in his role as Kipps.




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

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC


A game from the Past……English international half-back Tom Barber made his Celtic debut against Clyde on 31st August 1918 while on loan to Celtic from Aston Villa and working in the munitions factories at Glasgow. He made another four appearances for the club during that one season – also playing for England against Scotland in the Haig

Hospital Fund International at Celtic Park on 18th June 1918 – before going on to play a few matches for a number of clubs in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.


And a Moment to Remember…..on 19th April 1913, a crowd of 120,081 was at Crystal Palace for the FA Cup Final and they saw a looping header by Tom Barber score the only goal of the match as Aston Villa beat Sunderland. Tom then joined the Footballer’s Battalion in 1914 but received severe wounds on the Western Front and took some time to recover.

After his footballing adventures round Britain after the war, Tom retired from football in 1923. Tragically, though, he was soon struck down by tuberculosis and died in 1925 at Nuneaton at the age of 37.


27th November 1965 Celtic v Kilmarnock – League – Part One

Man with a Mission

While Jock Stein no doubt would have been pleased with the excellent result against Hamilton, he would almost immediately have needed to switch mentally to his other job as manager of the Scotland national team and the game against Wales in midweek. And over the ensuing 48 hours, it was a case of bad news following bad news as several players in the 16-man squad were forced to call off for one reason or another.

Read More →


20th November 1965 Celtic v Hamilton Academical League – Report


As I came to on the morning of the match, the noise of the rain battering on the roof of my parents’ house told me all I needed to know. It was going to be a wet pitch!

I had hoped for a long lie but Mum needed help with her bags at the grocers at the top of the road so I did my bit there, while trying to fit in breakfast and a pre-match meal around my duties.

Then, it was up to the top of the road for the bus into town, getting off at Argyle Street and getting on another to take me to Celtic Park. By the time I got there, my coat was not only drenched but my hair was plastered down over my forehead. Oh! the pleasures of living in the West of Scotland?

Read More →


17th November 1965 Celtic v Aarhus ECWC 2nd Round, 2nd Leg – Report

17th November 1965 Celtic v Aarhus


Prior to the Match

1)   Rest

Unfortunately, although I strongly fancied the idea of a nap in the afternoon before the match against Aarhus, there was no chance of me getting one. I was still a student, I was expected to attend classes and see patients, as the points total for treating patients was crucial – you were awarded points for fillings, root treatments etc and a student could not sit the final exams unless he or she had reached a certain total- and I was taking too much time off already.

Read More →


19th November 1965 Celtic v Hamilton Academical League – Preview



Celtic had won the match against Aarhus 2-0, had not really been bothered defensively and had qualified for the quarter-final stages of the Cup- Winners’ Cup but the reaction in the press had not been very flattering and the general public took its cue from that to state their own disappointment. Read More →


16th November 1965 Celtic v Aarhus ECWC 2nd Round 2nd Leg – Preview


I was really looking forward to the second round second leg match against Aarhus in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Not only did I know I was playing but the idea of actually taking part in another European tie (I had played in the home leg against Go-Ahead Deventer) just made me feel great.

It also made life a bit difficult for me at training with the part-timers, the sessions being brought forward to two nights before the match. While the squad was being put through the mill on a tough session, I was told to take it easy and concentrate on short stuff, as I was playing sooner than them. I never was one for pushing myself forward but that night I made doubly sure that I did not come over as a bit cocky. I would not be the first player to end up back in the reserves after a try-out in the first team! Read More →


13th November 1965 St Johnstone v Celtic League – Report

On Cloud Nine

From the minute Sean Fallon told me that I was in the side for the match against St Johnstone, I was a very happy man. Or, as a Glaswegian would say : “my heid was in the clouds!”. My Dad was delighted, my Mum less so. She still believed that there was this group of thugs on the pitch trying to do damage to her older son and nothing Dad or I said could dislodge this thought from her mind. She had never seen me play and from what I was told, she spent the 90 minutes of every match praying that I would come back in one piece!

Anyway, from the Thursday night until the Saturday, nothing bothered me or was too much trouble to deal with. Even the guy I bought the evening paper from on the Friday night just outside Central Station – whose comment of “are you no’ in that team yet?” used to ‘get on’ a certain portion of my anatomy under the neck and above the waist and normally associated with a woman – even he got a smile and a nod and a ‘maybe soon’. If I was going to tell anyone, it certainly would not be him!

Read More →