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


Another injury, another match on the sidelines. To be perfectly honest, by this time, after two injuries in quick succession, especially to the same part of my body, I was beginning to think that I was destined to be one of those players whose career was going to be blighted by injury.

That sounds terribly dramatic, I know, but that is what recurrent injuries can do to even a sensible player, which I would hope that I was at that time. Logic goes out the window, to be replaced by despair and frustration. I had been playing organised football since I was 10 and had never had an injury which kept me out of action. Oh! I had received cuts and bruises and so on but they had never kept me out of the next match. Now, all that had changed and shortly after getting my chance in the first team, my ankle seemed to be letting me down and I was sitting another match out!


Not just a hit record for the Beatles but something I badly needed at this time and I got it from an unlikely source. On one of my visits for treatment at the park, the Boss suddenly appeared in Bob Rooney’s room and told me to come to his office when I had finished as he wanted me to meet someone.

Words of encouragement from Celtic legend John McPhail.
© Daily Record

When I got there, a large figure got up from his seat in the corner and came up to introduce himself. And that was how I met John ‘Hookey’ McPhail for the first time. The Boss then took over the proceedings and explained that both he and ‘Hookey’ had suffered ankle and knee damage in their time but it had not stopped them from having long and productive careers. John was very complimentary about my play and told me to just take the treatment and regard the injury as something that I needed to fight. Both of them stressed that the second injury coming so soon after the first could be put down to my keenness – or perhaps desperation – to be playing again and perhaps I should just be more careful about rushing back in.

I was down before the meeting but I got a real boost from their words plus the fact that they liked my play. So, I came out the Boss’s office still limping but feeling a lot better in temperament.




The Match

The morning of the match dragged a bit. I had a late breakfast, an early lunch, then a drive up to Celtic Park to park the car and make my way through the supporters to the door where Bill Peacock became about the 40th person that morning to inquire about my fitness. Then, as soon as I got though the door, I ran into that very affable director Tom Devlin, who also asked me how I was feeling? In spite of the fact that I was definitely limping, I took the advice of the Boss and ‘Big Hookey’ and was almost unbelievably positive about the whole episode. Deep down, the ankle was giving me gyp but my outward demeanor was so positive that I could have got a part in the Sound of Music!


A crowd of some 26,000 turned up for the clash and when the team was read out, the eleven names were Simpson, McNeill, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley, Clark, Johnstone, Auld, Chalmers, McBride and Hughes.


Right from the off, the guys took control, made several chances but did not cash in on any of them. The game need a goal and it eventually came in

20 minutes
but surprisingly, it came for Saints. Outside-left McGrogan sent a cross into the middle, it rebounded off John Cushley to left-half Renton, who hooked the ball past Ronnie Simpson. 1-0 St Johnstone.

31 minutes
The guys tried to raise their game but the Saints’ twin centre-half duo coped admirably with everything that we threw at them and it was no surprise that our equaliser came from the penalty spot. Inside-right Duffy appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area, a touch not seen by the referee but pointed out by a linesman. It was a decision not to the liking of the Saints players, who spent some time crowding round the referee complaining about the decision. He eventually cleared the penalty area and Joe McBride took the kick, absolutely blasting the ball into the net. 1-1


After the interval, we took control again, this time with more effect, as we got another in

50 minutes
a perfect pass from Bobby Murdoch gave Stevie Chalmers a great chance and he took it well. 2-1 Celtic

55 minutes

Five minutes later, Stevie went on a great run, beating at least four men before sliding home the ball for Celtic’s third goal. 3-1 Celtic

89 minutes
Fifteen minutes from the end, Bobby Murdoch was carried off with what looked like an ankle injury, although he did come back on again to take up the dreaded outside-left position. And one minute from time-up, inside-right Duffy got a second for Saints to make the final score –

Celtic 3 St Johnstone 2


Reserves in Action

On the same afternoon, at Tynecastle, Celtic Reserves beat Hearts Reserves 1-0 in the semi-final of the Second Eleven Cup. The Celtic team was Martin, Young, O’Neill, Cattenach, McCarron, Brogan, Connelly, Lennox, J Quinn, Sweeney, Taylor. The single goal was scored by Jimmy Quinn


League Table

Rangers had another bad day at the office, again at Ibrox, drawing with Hearts. That left the league table looking like this;-

P          W        D         L          F            A         Pts

Celtic               25        20        1          4          82            26        41

Rangers           25        18        4          3          73            24        40

Kilmarnock     27        17        2          8          64            38        36

Dunfermline    24        15        5          4          69            33        35

Hearts              24        11        9          4          43            33        31


No Change

The 37 Scottish clubs in the League rejected the call by the SFA and the Scottish League for a re-organisation. This meant that there would still be promotion from Division 2 to Division 1 this season.


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

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC


A Game from the Past……..outside-right Malcolm Slater, a Buckie boy, was on National Service in Edinburgh when he signed for Celtic – as an amateur – on 15th November 1958. He made his first team debut against Queen of the South down in Dumfries on 24th January 1959 and went on to make another 4 appearances during that year of 1959.

And a Moment to Remember…..Malcolm was capped for the Scotland amateur side against Northern Ireland at Coleraine on 21st February 1959 and was about to sign professional forms in the summer of 1959 when he suffered a dreadful bereavement, the loss of his two brothers Sandy and Andrew in a drowning tragedy on 14th June 1959. He was released to Buckie at his own request in 1960, then went on to have spells with Inverness Caledonian, Montrose, Southend United, Leyton Orient and Colchester United before returning to Scotland.



Death Brought on by a Wave

Horst Fischer, former Nazi SS doctor at Auschwitz Camp, on trial in East Berlin for sending between 55,000 and 75,000 to their deaths, said that he did have long to examine people on their arrival ; “They were made to run past me and I just flipped my hand at the ones to be gassed”.


New Man on the Beat

Coventry’s police have enrolled Britain’s first coloured man for training as a policeman – 23-year-old Mohammed Yusef Daar, a native of Kenya and a former law officer in the Tanganyika police service.


Triumph for the Americans

Two American astronauts successfully performed the first hook-up in space – tying up their capsule to an un-manned craft, like a ship coming into dock.

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott steered their Gemini V111 capsule across space to within a few feet of the target vehicle, an Agena rocket.