The Close Season and the Run-up to the First Match of the 1965-66 Campaign
As you might imagine, it had been a very happy squad of players which had set off for their summer holidays, most of them heading for the sun, sea and sand of Spain. Not everyone connected with the club was away, though. This period is also a busy one for those working in the environs of a football club, so back at Celtic Park, the pitch was being touched up, cut and repaired, the stands and terracings were also given a once over and the approaches to the stadium checked. Continue reading
My own path through the football ranks was quite an unusual one. My first school was St Anthony’s Primary School in Govan, a rather old fashioned building – the toilets were outside and had no roof! – with a playground bounded at the top end by the gable end of a tenement building. That particular gable end gave me one of my best memories as a kid. The year above me were holding a cricket ball-throwing contest and one laddie’s throw slammed into the wall about five feet off the ground, the first time anyone in the history of the school had managed such a long throw.
Everyone was cheering like mad but suddenly the celebrations were cut short as cracks appeared in the plaster covering the outside of the wall and then big bits of the stuff fell off! Needless to say, sports day was abandoned! Continue reading
During the turn of the year from 1964 to 1965, the country was blessed – if that is an appropriate word – with relatively mild weather, so unlike previous seasons, the fixture list was not affected by frost or snow. The Ne-erday results, one defeat and one draw, had been disappointing and the next match was likely to be equally difficult, when Celtic travelled to Tannadice to meet the Terrors.
League Dundee United 3 Celtic 1 Att: 1 18,000 Hughes
As mentioned previously, several players had left the club either during the previous season of 1963-64 or at the end of the campaign, names like John MacNamee, Billy Price, Frank Brogan and Paddy Turner. The only arrival was Bobby Young from St Johnstone, in an early season swap deal for Bobby Craig
So that meant Celtic went into season 1964-65 with the following pool of players;- Continue reading
Celtic’s first experience of European competition was in a rather unusual competition called the Anglo-Franco Scottish Friendship Cup, which took place at the beginning of season 1960-61.
The invitations to participate were based on league performance in the 1959-60 season and Celtic – who had finished 9th in the table – only got in because Ayr United (8th) did not have floodlights and Kilmarnock (2nd) were taking part in a tournament in New York. With Hearts, Rangers and Hibs all involved in the major European competitions, that left spaces for Clyde, Dundee, Motherwell and Celtic to enter the new tournament. Continue reading
After the decade of the 1950s, when Celtic won five major domestic trophies, two special competitions – the St Mungo Cup and the Coronation Cup – plus two Glasgow Cups and three Charity Cups, the Hoops fans were looking forward with anticipation to the new decade of the 1960s.
The Celtic players entered the new decade with the stern words of their manager ringing in their ears. In his annual report in the Celtic Football Guide, Jimmy McGrory did not hold back his feelings: ‘To say I was disappointed by our performance last season would be a gross understatement’. Continue reading
18th November 1952In terms of the numbers of clubs which won a major competition, the 1950s was in a league of its own. 11 different sides got their name on one of the three major trophies;-
Season League Scottish Cup League Cup
1950-51 Hibs Celtic Motherwell
1951-52 Hibs Motherwell Dundee
1952-53 Rangers Rangers Dundee
1953-54 Celtic Celtic East Fife
1954-55 Aberdeen Clyde Hearts
1955-56 Rangers Hearts Aberdeen
1956-57 Rangers Falkirk Celtic
1957-58 Hearts Hearts Celtic
1958-59 Rangers St Mirren Hearts
1959-60 Hearts Rangers Hearts
During the 1930s, countries like Germany and Italy became very militaristic and it seemed almost inevitable that war would eventually break out. And it did so, just at the start of the 1939-40 season. Almost immediately, the authorities issued an edict stating that professional football was to be abandoned. Players’ contracts would be suspended but registrations would remain valid. In simple terms, no money for the players – but they were still tied to their clubs.
As the days passed and the authorities realised that there would be no mass bombing campaign in the cities, a relaxation in the original ban was permitted. Football matches could take place but only on Saturdays and public holidays. They must be confined to regional and district groupings while crowds could not exceed 8,000 or, for large stadia, 15,000. Continue reading
There could be little doubt that Rangers FC had dominated the Scottish scene in the 1920s and they would do the same in the 1930s, as the following tables show. Only 9 seasons made up the list in League and Scottish Cup, as, because of the war, in season 1939-40 there were no national competitions, only regional leagues. There were, however, 10 titles at stake in the Charity and Glasgow Cups;
…………………. League Scottish Cup Glasgow Cup Charity Cup Total
Rangers 6 4 7 6 23
Celtic 2 3 2 3 10
The manager of Rangers in the years from 1899 to 1920 had been William Wilton, a man highly regarded within football circles and a close personal friend of Willie Maley. Tragically, in the summer of 1920, Wilton drowned in an accident near Gourock and Rangers trainer, Bill Struth, was appointed to the post. Struth had never played football but as an athlete in his younger days, he recognised the value of certain qualities and immediately adopted a strict regime in which discipline, hardness and fitness were all-important. He also insisted that the club travel in style – first class, preferably – and made the players dress accordingly. Continue reading