Last day at Seamill, so we set out to enjoy it. The routine was similar to yesterday, breakfast, chat among ourselves, training, lunch, a quick few holes on the golf course, back in to the swimming pool, baths and showers then changed into ‘proper’ clothes for dinner.
And as a ‘proper’ outfit meant at best, a shirt, trousers and trainers, you can probably imagine what we wore at other times, as the place was usually a furnace due to the residents’ love of warmth.
Tam Gemmell, my room-mate as usual, was in good form but I was rather worried about him. Normally, he was late for most things and when I said things like;
“Tam, we are supposed to be downstairs right now!”
his replay was always the same;
“Cairney, they are no’ likely to go without the two full-backs”.
Technically, he was correct but as I was the one who would be asked by the Boss – “what kind of time is this to turn up?” – I probably felt the pressure much more than him.
Anyway, much to my surprise, on that trip to Seamill, he was the best-behaved of the whole crew – apart from me, naturally. He was first on the bus, on time for his meals and in the front rank for the walk along the beach which started our day.
I was beginning to wonder if there was something working on him? However, although I cannot recall a particular incident, I am pretty sure it did not last.
I did not see the Boss after lunch that day and when I asked others in the management team where he was, it was like dealing with the Mafia. There was humming and hawing, then “he’s at a meeting, back in Glasgow”, I was told.
Turns out, though, that he was not ‘at a meeting back in Glasgow’. He was, in fact, at a dinner in London, where he was awarded the Westclox Manager of the Year Trophy for the second successive year. And he got £1000 as well. But why was it almost a state secret?
While I was down at Seamill, out of sheer curiosity, I always asked the journalists who turned up every day if there any special news about the Italian side and on that day there was a great story in one of the evening papers.
This came from the senior organizer of the committee which picks referees for the major matches in Italy and it said ;
‘Undoubtedly, these men are the most vulnerable section of the football world and as such have become scapegoats of those managers who have reduced football in Italy to the level of a great swindle.
Supporters have now grown accustomed to referees who fail to award penalties when a team like Inter Milan are in danger of losing a game”
My goodness, strong words….and further down the article, came good news for Celtic…
‘All but their most loyal fans detest the Milan team. They are not content with having the best players and most money spent on them but they must also win every game’.
The journalist also told me of a story about agents for the new Chicago Spurs team, which was to play in the – ‘outlawed’ – National League of America. The millionaire joint –owner of the Chicago Spurs, Mr Al Kaczmerak, was in London to try to snap up some players for his team and 6 Scots were in the frame – Willie Wallace, Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch from our side plus Jim Baxter, Eddie McCreadie and Jim McCalliog.
Unfortunately, though, that night down at Elland Road, Leeds United proved too strong for Kilmarnock, beating the Ayrshire side 4-2 in the first leg of a semi-final of the Fairs Cup.