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10th February 1968: Motherwell v Celtic – League

5th February

While we were all in for training at Parkhead, Scotland Boss Bobby Brown was having to cope with some withdrawals from his squad for the U-23 game against England. Both Willie Johnston and Jim McCalliog pulled out with injuries received at the weekend.

Training at Barrowfield was pretty tough, a sure sign that the Boss had not been too pleased with the performance against the Jags. You would think a 4-1 victory would have satisfied most managers but the Boss could be pernickety at times if he felt that we had not played as well as he expected. Obviously, in spite of the result, that had been the case on Saturday, hence the hard work at the beginning of the week.

In the evening, the Reserve side beat Motherwell Reserves 2-1 at Celtic Park.

 

6th February

It had been announced the previous day that we would be going down to Seamill for the few days and we left early in the morning, were quickly allocated our rooms then did a session on the lawn between the hotel and wall bordering the sea. The fresh air was fantastic and we all enjoyed it.

After lunch, we had the opportunity of a few holes of golf and that was followed after dinner by a visit to the cinema, where we all sat in two rows like little schoolboys, passing the ice-creams along to each other.

In the evening, the Boss disappeared to Rugby Park to see Kilmarnock and his old club Dunfermline play out a 1-1 draw.

 

7th February

Training and some golf once again during the day; just some rest round the hotel in the evening. The card schools got underway, the rest of us relaxed with some tea and chat.

At Hampden, Scotland’s U-23 side were beaten 2-1 by England.

 

8th February

The headlines in the press tended to show that Scotland had been a bit unlucky the previous evening……

Scots a Shade Unlucky to Lose

 

…and there almost universal condemnation of the display by the Welsh referee, Mr Gow of Swansea –

Ref Too Lenient With ‘Strong-Arm’ English

 

There had been 14,497 at the match and the Scots goal had been scored by future Celt Harry Hood, at that time with Clyde.

 

9th February

After the usual walk before breakfast – along the main road towards Largs, down the lane at the far end of the golf course to the beach and then back again to the hotel along the strand – we did a light workout later in the morning before having some lunch and then coming back up to Glasgow again by bus.

By the look of the guys, there were no injury worries among the squad and we all went off our separate ways back to families and – in some cases – kids.

In the evening press, the big story came from England, from Sunderland in fact, who had sacked their manager Ian McColl – ex- Rangers and Scotland – and replaced him with one of their former managers, Allan Brown, at that time in charge at Sheffield Wednesday.

 


 

Morning of the Match

It was a short trip to Fir Park, so lunch was not on the menu. Most of the squad was involved that day in one way or another. The Boss had read out the first team on the bus on the way up to Parkhead the day before and had also mentioned the Reserve team that would play Rangers at Celtic Park at the same time in a third round tie of the Second Eleven Cup. So, while one set of players boarded the bus for the trip to Motherwell, the reserve players would come in a bit later to get ready for their match.

 

The Opposition

On that day, Motherwell were sitting 3rd bottom of the First Division with a record of P23 W5 D5 L13 F29 A43. This was not a record that suggested they could be a real danger to Celtic but we all knew that teams like that raised their game when they faced the league champions and the Steelmen would be no different.

 

The Teams

Motherwell

McCloy
Whiteford, Mackay
Campbell, Martis, W McCallum
Wilson, McInally, Deans, McCall, Murray.
Sub: Hogg

Celtic
Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Wallace, Hughes, Auld, Lennox.
Sub: Chalmers

 

The Play

We started really well, taking the game to Motherwell all the time and putting their defence under real pressure. At the same time, our own backline was in control of their attacks quite comfortably. And halfway through the first half, we got the breakthrough –

27 minutes
Yogi started the move in midfield and after the ball had been spread out to the right wing, he was in position when the cross came in to head home.
Motherwell 0 Celtic 1

We should have got a few more after that but every shot on goal seemed to be straight at keeper Peter McCloy and frankly he did not have to work too hard to keep them out. Yogi was in good from up front as was Bertie in midfield but in spite of making the chances, we did not take them and the interval came with only the one goal in it.

There was a surprise for the fans at the start of the second half. Yogi had been having some trouble from his back and had been pulled; Stevie replaced him. Suddenly, we could all feel that the Steelmen had raised their game and were now making a real fist of it. At the back, we had to work hard to keep them out.

Then, we were struck by more trouble. Bertie had obviously taken a knock and was limping but with our only substitute having been used, he just had to hirple on! And Motherwell took advantage of our problems, raising their own game and looking as though they had some extra men on the park. Fortunately, we managed to keep them at bay and when the final whistle blew it was still.

Motherwell  0  Celtic  1

 

Other Results

Aberdeen  2  Hearts 0  Clyde  0  Airdrie  0  
Dundee  2  Rangers  4 Falkirk  1  Dunfermline  1  
Hibs 4 St Johnstone 0   Morton 2 Stirling Albion 0
Partick Thistle 1 Dundee United 0  Raith Rovers  1  Kilmarnock 0

 

Table

P W D L F A Pts
Rangers       23 0 3 0 61 19 43
Celtic           21 17 3 1 59 18 37

 

Reserve Match

In the Second Eleven cup-tie at Celtic Park, Celtic Reserves lost 0-2 to Rangers. The team was;

Fallon, Young, O’Neill, Cattenach, Connelly, Brogan, Gallagher, MacMahon, Quinn, Hay, Macari.