1st June 1967
Training had been intermittent that week and the attention of the Scottish – or more precisely the Glasgow – press had been on the build-up to the European Cup Winner’s Cup final the previous evening, when Rangers had taken on Bayern Munich in Nuremburg.
The match had ended in a 0-1 defeat for the Light Blues but I thought that over the course of the match they had been a bit unlucky. However, a defeat can bring out the critical side of the papers and on that Thursday morning, they really went to town, with headlines to match –
IT’S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
URGENT! Rangers Must Buy Big Now
Those were two of the biggest headlines but in another evening paper, there was an equally critical heading and comment –
Not One Fan to See Rangers Return
‘The dejected Rangers team returned to Glasgow today after their humiliation at Nuremburg – and there was not a single fan waiting to greet them.
They were met at Glasgow Airport by Glasgow’s Lord Provost , Mr John Johnston, who shook hands with all the players and told them –“Hard luck”.
Also waiting to give commiseration was Mr Bob Kelly, chairman of Celtic Football Club.
Mr John Lawrence, chairman of the Rangers club, who travelled with the team, was not his usual talkative self.
When asked about the team’s defeat in the Nuremburg rain, he said – “I’ve said enough regarding Rangers …..I don’t want to say any more”.
In the midst of all these comments and remarks, our lives at Celtic Park went on as usual, with a light training session in preparation for the forthcoming match against Real Madrid. It was quite a strange situation at that point as everyone out-with the first team pool had been allowed to go on holiday, so numbers were right down. But if the numbers inside the doors of Parkhead were down, the crowds outside were amazing. It seemed that the whole world was wanting to make a trip up to the club and see the players who had won the European Cup and we spent a fair amount of time after training signing anything that was handed to us.
As someone said – and after all these years I cannot attribute the comment to a particular person – “our lives will never be the same again” – and he was to be proved right.
© Daily Record
However, it did look as though we were about to lose a friend and colleague, as we heard that John Cushley was about to sign for West Ham. That was the rumour inside the club but as usual, we got more information from the evening paper;
‘West Ham United have agreed to pay Celtic £20,000 for reserve centre-half John Cushley but before the deal goes through Cushley must pass a medical examination by West Ham’s specialist.
Manager Ron Greenwood said today “I want the player examined by our club specialist who is on holiday and not due back until June 15. I had hoped to have Cushley in our party for our three-game tour which starts in Helsinki on Sunday but that is now out of the question”.
Wilbur was a popular guy and he went south with our best wishes.
There was one rather ironic story in the papers that night. Apparently, at the banquet after the Cup Final in Nuremburg, the Rangers players gave their opponents travelling rugs as a present and in return the Bayern players handed over……miniature silver cups?. I’ll bet that gesture went down well!