Paddy Spills the Beans! 1960-64

The 1960s

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’.

A huge pool of 36 players assembled in July for pre-season training;-

Name                              Year Joined                 Previous Club

Robert Auld                      1955                       Maryhill Harp

Alexander Byrne              1954                       Port Glasgow

T Carmichael                    1960                       St Andrew’s United

Robert Carroll                  1959                       Irvine Meadow

Stephen Chalmers           1959                       Ashfield Juniors

John Clark                        1958                       Larkhall Thistle

John Coltrane                  1957                       Duntocher Hibs

Francis Conway               1960                       Blantyre Celtic

James Conway                 1957                       Coltness United

Patrick Crerand               1958                       Duntocher Hibs

John Curran                     1959                       Duntocher Hibs

John Divers                      1957                       Renfrew Juniors

John Donnelly                 1956                       Armadale Thistle

John Fallon                      1958                       Fauldhouse United

Charles Gallagher            1959                       Yoker Athletic

Francis Haffey                  1958                       Maryhill Harp

John Hughes                    1959                       Shotts Bon Accord

Michael Jackson               1957                       Benburb

John Kelly                         1960                       Crewe Alexandra

James Kennedy                1955                       Duntocher Hibs

John Kurila                       1958                       St Francis Boys Guild

Ian Lochhead                   1958                       St Gerard’s Senior Secondary

Steve Lynch                      1959                       St Mungo’s Academy

Duncan McKay                1956                       Maryhill Harp

Donald McMillan             1957                       Aberdeen Woodside

John McNamee                1960                       Bellshill Athletic

William McNeill               1958                       Blantyre Victoria

Thomas Mackie                1959                       Johnstone Burgh

Neil Mochan                     1954                       Middlesbrough

Brian Moore                     1960                       Duntocher Hibs

Daniel O’Hara                  1959                       Fauldhouse United

William O’Neill                1960                       St Anthony’s

Robert Paton                    1958                       Maryhill Harp

Robert Peacock                1949                       Coleraine

Ron Sherry                       1960                       Annbank United

James Upton                    1959                       St Roch’s


Unfortunately, though, although expectations were high among players, management and the support, the first four years of the decade failed to live up to expectations;-


Season 1960-61

League                   4th –                     P34   W15   D9   L10   F64   A46   Pts39

League Cup          Failed to qualify from a section involving Rangers, Third Lanark and Partick Thistle

Scottish Cup        Reached the final to face Dunfermline, by then under the control of Jock Stein. In front of a fascinated 113,618 fans, Celtic’s dashing style was matched by the Pars’ more controlled play. The former caught the eye but the latter made the better chances in the 0-0 draw. Four days later, 87,000 turned up for the replay. The Celtic support was surprised to see young Willie O’Neill at left-back, Jim Kennedy having been whisked off to hospital suffering from appendicitis. Many felt that the experience of Bertie Peacock might have been a more logical choice but in the end, it did not matter. What did make the difference was the magnificent display by Pars goalkeeper Eddie Connachan, who defied the Celtic  attack time after time. Dunfermline scored with a breakaway goal in 68 minutes then had to endure a heavy period of Celtic pressure before they snatched a second goal after a mistake by Frank Haffey.

In November 1960, Neil Mochan moved to Dundee United for a fee of £1500. At the end of the season, Jim Conway was transferred to Norwich City for £12,000, Bertie Auld joined Birmingham for £15,000 and Bertie Peacock became player/manager of Coleraine.


This was also the last season of the Charity Cup. Celtic beat Queens Park in the semi-final on the toss of a coin and then in the final, after a 1-1 draw with Clyde, the clubs agreed to share the trophy.


In the Glasgow Cup, Celtic lost 0-2 to Partick Thistle in the final at Hampden.


Season 1961-62

League                 3rd   –   P34  W19  D8  L7  F81  A37  Pts46

League Cup        Failed to qualify from a section involving Hibs, St Johnstone and Partick Thistle

Scottish Cup       After wins over Cowdenbeath (5-1), Morton (3-1), Hearts (4-3) and Third Lanark (4-4; replay 4-0), Celtic met St Mirren in the semi-final at Ibrox, where, in front  of a crowd of 59,278, they lost 1-3.


This was a season of inaction in the transfer market for Celtic, the only exception being the free transfer given to centre-half John Kurila at the end of the campaign. To finish on a bright note, however, Celtic reached the final of the Glasgow Cup, where they met Third Lanark, ironically at Celtic Park.

The match was played just after a torrential rainstorm had flooded the pitch. Indeed, halfway through the first half the referee had to stop the play to allow the ground staff to remove some of the excess water. Charlie Gallagher gave Celtic the lead in 18 minutes and they held this position till half-time, the Hoops much more adventurous than the Hi Hi.

Four minutes later, though, Billy McNeill was taken off after a chest knock and suddenly, Thirds were back in the game. In 58 minutes they equalized through outside-left Fletcher and on the 75th minute mark, a header by inside-forward Matt Gray put them 2-1 up.

Even with 10-men, however, Celtic’s superior power told on the heavy surface and late goals by John Hughes and Gallagher again made it a disappointing night for Third Lanark. The 3-2 victory was Celtic’s 22nd in the competition.



Season 1962-63

League                 4th   –   P34   W19   D6   L9   F76   A44   Pts44

League Cup         Failed to qualify from a section involving Hearts, Dundee and Dundee United.

Scottish Cup        The first Old Firm final of the new decade, with the  match ending in a 1-1 draw at Hampden, with 129,643 watching. Everyone seemed to think that the draw was a fair result and a very impressive 120,273 returned for the replay four days later. However, the hopes of the Celtic fans were dashed when they heard the team.

Jimmy Johnstone – whom many fans felt had been very good in the first match – had been dropped in favour of Bobby Craig. They continued to give the players their support but the team flopped, was 0-2 down at the interval and lost a third in the second half, as huge gaps appeared in the Celtic end, the disillusioned and even disgusted supporters leaving in droves.


On the transfer front, Bobby Craig had been signed form Blackburn Rovers in October 1962 for £15,000; Bobby Carroll joined St Mirren for £7,000 in February 1963; in that same period, Pat Crerand was transferred to Manchester United for £36,000, Mike Jackson moved to St Johnstone and at the end of the season, Alec Byrne and Benny Rooney were given free transfers while Paddy Turner was signed from Morton for £10,000.

Once again Celtic met Third Lanark in the final of the Glasgow Cup but there would be no repeat of the previous season. This time round, Thirds rose to the challenge and won 2-1 which was disappointing for Celtic and their fans, as the club had knocked Rangers out of the competition in the first round.


It had been a disappointing season for the fans to watch and a review of the team selections over the season might show a possible reason for the poor show. During the season, in the league, players were frequently switched and swapped into different positions. 7 outside-rights were fielded; 6 inside-rights; 5 centre-forwards; 7 inside-lefts and 6 outside-lefts! Not surprisingly, inconsistency was rife!


However, to end the review on a promising note, it was also a season in which some future stars got their big break. Bobby Murdoch made his debut against Hearts in October 1962; John Cushley got one or two games at centre-half; Ian Young got his first start in November 1962; and Tommy Gemmell was given a first outing in January 1963.

1960 Interview with Pat Crerand

On a trip to Las Vegas for the North American Celtic Supporters’ Convention in the late 1990s, I did an interview with Pat Crerand. Pat had joined Celtic from Duntocher Hibs in 1957 and initially played in the reserve team under the guidance of Jock Stein. Once Stein left for Dunfermline in 1960, things were not quite the same, as we can tell from his answers to my questions in this brief excerpt from the whole interview;-

Q         There were rumours that Jimmy McGrory didn’t pick the team?

A         He didn’t! There were so many situations that made that quite clear. Like Mike Jackson turning up at Hampden Park for the semi-final of the Cup against Rangers, just coming from his work, in fact, coming to see the game and finished up playing. Or Willie Goldie [reserve-team goalkeeper]. On the way to Airdrie, the coach passed him standing at a bus stop with a Celtic scarf on. Bob Kelly said “stop and give the boy a lift” and he ended up playing too. How the hell could you accept anything like that in the situation we were in?

Q         What was a day like at Parkhead back then?

A         You reported for training at 10 o’clock. All the gear was there on the table, we just put it on and then went out round the pitch. We never saw a ball, that was for Saturday! Willie Johnstone was the trainer at the time. He stood at the bottom of the tunnel in a white coat and the only time he took his hands out of his pockets was to smoke a cigarette. But then again, those were the days when Willie was trying to be a trainer and a physio.

 Q         The defence seemed quite settled at the time but up front, the changes were unbelievable?

A         Well, it didn’t make a great deal of difference to us playing defensively because there were no tactics or anything. You went on the pitch and just played and tried to work out some form of tactics as you went along. Free kicks were an absolute shambles. No-one knew what to do. You just put the ball down and whatever came into somebody’s mind, you just tried to create.
Corner kicks, nothing, no idea whatsoever of anything. I mean, people used to wonder why Celtic never won anything. Well, there were a lot of good young players but all they needed was a little bit of guidance and there was no one there to guide us.

Season 1963-64


League                        3rd      P34 W19 D9 L6 F89 A34 Pts47

 This was a reasonable performance by Celtic, who scored more goals than any other team but  drew too many matches. They also lost both of the league fixtures against Rangers.

League Cup               Failed to qualify from a section involving Rangers,Kilmarnock and Queen of the South.

Scottish Cup             After wins over Eyemouth United, Morton and Airdrie, Celtic faced Rangers at Ibrox in the quarter-final. Once more, though, the power and strength of the Light Blues was too much for Celtic’s more open style, a goal in each half enough to take Rangers through.


Once again, in terns of success, the Glasgow Cup came to Celtic’s rescue, although the passage to the final was far from easy, with replays against Partick Thistle and Third Lanark. In the final at Hampden, in the spring of 1964, against Clyde, only 13,500 turned up to see the Bully Wee move the ball around in the first half without having the nous to get through the Celtic defence. The Hoops themselves only threatened occasionally and as a result, the game was still goalless by half-time.

Two goals in the space of five minutes in the second half sealed the match. In 55 minutes, Steve Chalmers rose above the Clyde defence to head a corner home; and five minutes later, John Divers was on the spot to push the ball home after carelessness by the Clyde defenders. The 2-0 triumph was Celtic’s 23rd win in the competition.

Most of the transfer activity took place near the end of the season. On 17th April, John MacNamee was transferred to Hibs for £17,000; on 30th April, Billy Price was given a free transfer; Frank Brogan moved to Ipswich for £12,000 on 8th June; and on 16th June, Paddy Turner joined Morton for a fee of £1000.

However, in the light of what was to come, perhaps the most important move of the season took place on 10th February 1964, when Neil Mochan returned to Celtic Park as assistant coach to Sean Fallon.


These early years of the 1960s were also the time when Celtic entered European competition for the inaugural time, a most important development in the clubs history. In our next section (Celtic in Europe in the Early 60s), we will review how the club dealt with the challenge.


Special Moments in Football


1          In season 1960-61, Celtic played their first competitive tournament in Europe, the Anglo-Franco- Scottish Friendship Cup (Celtic in Europe in the Early 60s).


2          The first European Championships was held in France in 1960. In the semi-finals, Yugoslavia beat France 5-4 and the Soviet Union overcame Czechoslovakia 3-0; while in the final, the Soviet Union had a narrow 2-1 win over the Czechs.


3          After five hours of last ditch talks at the Ministry of Labour on 18th January 1961, the Football League finally agreed to abandon the regulations that effectively tied a player to one club for life.


4          Just days before the transfer deadline in season 1960-61, the manager of Leeds United, Don Revie, bought ex-Celt Bobby Collins from Everton for a fee of £250,000. Collins responded by guiding Leeds to safety, the club winning their last 10 League matches.


5          When Jimmy Greaves was brought back from Italy to Tottenham Hotspur in the autumn of 1961, the fee was a very deliberate £99,999, as Spurs manager Bill Nicholson did not want his new player to be burdened with the tag of Britain’s first £100,000 star.


6          The 7th World Cup finals were held in Chile in the summer of 1962, when, once again, 16 teams took part. England were the only British nation involved and they reached the quarter-finals before losing 1-3 to Brazil. Nine other European countries had made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean and one of them – Czechoslovakia – made it through to the final, where they put up a good show but found Brazil just too strong, going down 3-1.


7          Three exiles, Denis Law, John Charles and Gerry Hitchens, were in the Italian League side which beat Scotland 2-0 at Hampden Park in November 1962.


8          Jim Fryatt scored the fastest goal in first-class football on April 25th 1964, his strike for Bradford Park Avenue against Tranmere Rovers being timed at 4 seconds.


9          Ex-Celt Dick Beattie was one of a number of players suspended by the English League for being involved in fixing a match to stage a betting coup.


10        The 2nd European Championships were held in Spain in 1964. In one semi-final, Spain beat Hungary; in the other, the Soviet Union had a 3-0 win over Denmark. In the final, Spain triumphed, their 2-1 victory watched by a crowd of 125,000 in the Bernabeu in Madrid.


Special Non-Football Moments


1960    South Africa; 56 killed in the Sharpeville shootings

1961    Adolf Eichmann sentenced to death in Jerusalem.

1962    John Glenn becomes first American in orbit.

1963    John F Kennedy assassinated.

1964    The Beatles ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ is released with advance world-wide sales of

            2-1 million,