March 12th 1966: Celtic v St Johnstone – Part One

The Ankle

Jim Craig of Celtic football Club 1966

Wispy tackle causes recurrence of ankle injury.
© Daily Record

After the great result against Hearts in the quarter-final replay of the Scottish Cup on the Wednesday evening, 9th March, I should have been ‘over the moon’. Unfortunately, though, having taken that challenge from my future teammate Willie Wallace – no malice intended, it was just a clash between competitors – I was really suffering, the ankle having throbbed all night, giving me very little sleep.

The following morning, I had a decision to make. I should have been at the Dental Hospital for a couple of lectures but I decided that I would skip those – on the basis that I could get the notes from someone else – and headed for Celtic Park and the caring hands of Bob Rooney. While waiting for Doc Fitzsimmons to come in after his morning surgery, I went though the usual hot water/cold water routine, which, although it seemed, even at that time, to be a bit antiquated, it certainly worked for the first injury to the same ankle.

When the Doc eventually arrived, he diagnosed the problem as a recurrence of the initial damage. I mentioned the possibility of an injection – usually of cortisone – but he was not keen at that point to go down that route and advised that the hot water/ cold water regimen should be continued. He thought that it was not as bad as the first time and added that my pain was coming from the fact that Willie’s kick had also bruised the bone in that area as well, so there was a double problem. His optimism as regards my comeback, however, was just what I wanted to hear and it did improve my morale.


Press Reaction

The papers were unanimous in their appreciation of Celtic’s performance, everyone in the side getting full marks for the performance. One of the headlines summed it all up ;-

 Parkhead Magic KO’s Hearts


On the same evening, Rangers had been beaten by Falkirk and that also received some headlines, this one being typical ;-

Bairns Topple ‘Gers from the Lead


Although the Rangers management were quick to give a boost to their support ;-

Don’t Count Us Out


Other Results

In that same midweek, some English clubs had been involved in European ties. On the 8th March, in the Cup-Winners’ Cup, Liverpool had beaten Honved 2-0 ( goals from Lawler and St John) at Anfield in the return leg of the quarter-final. The first leg in Budapest had finished in a goalless draw, so Liverpool went through to the semi-finals on a 2-0 aggregate score.

One night later, Manchester United had played the return leg of a European Cup quarter-final tie against Benfica, winning 5-1, with the goals coming from Best (2), Connelly, Crerand and Charlton. As they had also won the first leg in Lisbon 3-2, that put the Reds through to the semi-finals on an 8-3 aggregate.

And on the same evening, in a Fairs Cup quarter-final tie, Leeds United, after a 4-1 win in Hungary over Ujpest Dosza ( goals from Cooper, Bell, Storrie and Bremner) one week earlier, drew 1-1 with the Magyars at Elland Road to go through on a 5-2 aggregate. Peter Lorimer got Leeds’ only goal.


Good News

I had been ordered by the SFA to report to Park Gardens for a discussion regarding my ordering-off in Tbilisi during the match against Dynamo Kiev. There were quite a number of photographers and journalists outside the building but eventually, once inside, I was brought before the committee (a group of directors of various clubs) and asked to tell them what – in my opinion – had happened.

I told them exactly what I though had occurred and it must have registered with the committee, as no action was taken against me. However, by the rules of the competition, I was barred from playing in the next Celtic game in European competition, so that put me out of at least the first leg of Celtic’s semi-final tie.


Next Game

This was against St Johnstone and the press were uncertain of the outcome ;-

Still second bottom of the league, Saints must collect all the points they can from now on.

It won’t be easy at Parkhead, but Saints have the encouragement of a league double over Celtic last season.

They crashed 4-1 to Jock Stein’s boys earlier this season but Parkhead has always been a good ground for the Muirton men.

Manager Bobby Brown lists 13 players.

There will be no Celtic team announcement until the last minute. John Hughes is fit and will play.

Charlie Gallagher is definitely unfit and Jim Craig is doubtful. Bertie Auld or Bobby Lennox will take over from Gallagher.


Prospective New Boss

John Prentice, the manager of Clyde, is considering an offer to be the new manager of the Scotland national team.


Last time I asked why the crowd of 53,396 who packed into Tynecastle on 13th February 1932 for a match against Rangers was not the biggest crowd for a Hearts home match? Well, that was because they got a crowd of 57,857 for the match against Barcelona on 28th July 2007 but that game was played at Murrayfield, just a short distance away!


And this week’s question is now going to seem quite easy, after the details just listed. What is the biggest attendance for a Celtic home match?


Fight or No Fight?

The trouble-plagued Cassius Clay/ Ernie Terrell world heavyweight title fight in Toronto on March 29th was still in doubt yesterday, with Clay declaring in New York that he was ready to face Canada’s George Chuvalo if Terrell pulled out of the contest.

For his part, Terrell has said that the terms are unsuitable.


Panda in Action

Chi-Chi, the 19-stone Giant Panda who is to be the ‘bride’ of the only other Giant Panda outside China, will leave London Airport for Moscow today for the first mating with the prospective ‘groom’, An-An.


Blown Up – Again?

Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin is to be blown up again – legally this time. The army will do the job.

The Irish Government announced it had intervened to ensure the speedy demolition of the stump.

The Corps of Engineers will demolish it in the early hours of Monday morning by an explosive charge.