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11th February 1967: Ayr United v Celtic, League – Part One

8th February
In the papers the day after the loss to Dynamo Zagreb, the concentration was not so much on the plan used the previous evening but the execution of it.

Stein Plan Was No Flop
‘Celtic’s new quicksilver system failed to produce one goal dividend last night – but it was the players, not the plan, that failed in the Parkhead spectacular.
Most of the side who were playing unusual roles in the new and exciting football offering seemed to be suffering from stage fright.
They were like nervous actors on a first night. They knew their lines, they had rehearsed well, they came in right on cue but when it came to the punch line, they dried up.
Not for a long time have I seen Celtic make so many chances and reject the lot. These were not merely half chances – they were the kind every forward dreams of in bed at night when he is playing the game of his life.
Gemmell, Johnstone, Chalmers, Wallace and Auld all failed to score when it looked a good deal easier to put it between the posts and it was ironic that the defensive minded Zagreb should steal away in the last minute and score the only goal of the game.
The result looks bad. It makes the plan look a flop but I hope that Mr Stein will not put it up on the shelf for years to come’.

 

Jock Stein was quick to point out that his own thoughts on that matter –

“We are certainly not going to throw the plan on the scrapheap. Nothing is ever perfect the first time it is tried out. We will be working on improvements – and it could yet be a big success”.

Interested spectators at last night’s match was the three-man delegation from Elgin City, Celtic’s opponents in the second round of the Scottish Cup. The party consisted of their two trainers, Charlie McCaig and James McDonald, plus the Elgin chairman Mr Michael Wynn.

On that Wednesday, those who had been in action the night before were allowed an easy session, the rest of us were put through the mill. It always fascinated me that when the top team had an adverse result, those not in that side always were given a rough time of it the next day? It was as though someone had to be punished for the failures of the first team…and it could not be them as they were a bit tired! Ah! the poor lambs…..anyway, I was feeling better, the double vision had cleared up, that guy hammering away at the inside of my skull was obviously on holiday and I felt not too bad. Not perfect by any means but better!
Unfortunately, when I came in that morning and was asked by Bob Rooney, the physio, how I was feeling?, I very stupidly said that I was fine. He then obviously told the Boss that and within a few minutes, I was in the middle of a tough running session, long runs, medium runs, short sprints etc. It was hardly suitable for someone recovering from a severe thump on the head but it was my own fault. I did say I was fine. Needless to say, it was another item on the list of ‘things I will never say again’, a list incidentally, that was getting longer by the day.

On the day that I wrote these words, there was an article in The Herald (formerly the Glasgow Herald) about the Glasgow Coma Scale. This had been invented in 1974 by two professors at Glasgow University and has since been used all over the world to record and grade concussions on sports fields. What a shame it was not in use in 1967!

9th February 

Dundee United left Turin for home today still having more than a flicker of hope that they will oust Juventus from the Fairs Cities Cup in spite of the 3-0 lead the Italians built up in yesterday’s first leg.
Manager Jerry Kerr said “We’re not beaten yet. The return will be a different matter.

Rangers beat Clyde 5-1 in a league match.

10th February.
There was little news about the teams for the match between Ayr United and Celtic, with both managers playing their cards close to their chests. We, for a change, had no one in the treatment room and the reports from Somerset Park were that a few of their players had problems.

When I say that we had no one injured, that was not strictly true. Joe McBride was still unable to play and at that time was a very frustrated man. Joe and I had a few things in common – two Govan boys, both educated at St Gerard’s Senior Secondary School – and I always found him a very pleasant guy to speak to. And that came as quite a surprise, because at school I found him the proverbial pain in the butt! Not that I ever knew him at St Gerard’s – he left in 1954, I arrived in 1955 – but he was always being held up as an example of what you could achieve if your attitude was right. When I was picked for Glasgow Schools and then Scottish Schools in successive years in 1960 and 1961 and thought I was doing well, more than one teacher would say “ach! you’ll need to do better than that if you want to match up to Joe McBride”. No wonder my jaws were always sore…..I spent a fair bit of time grinding my teeth!
At this particular time of that season of 1966-67, though, he was not a happy player. He was still seeing doctors and specialists about his knee problem, with no one seemingly confident enough to make a precise diagnosis. Even for such an optimist as Joe, it was a tough load to bear and it was undoubtedly getting him down.
We could do little to help apart from trying to boost his morale and this we all tried to do. Whether it helped or not, only Joe would have known. And he was too nice a guy to say anything.


Class Act
Cassius Clay defeated the gangling, brave Ernie Terrell, just as he said he would, by outhitting, outpunching and finally outclassing him at the Astrodome in Houston.
A St Louis referee and two local judges came up with a convincing score, after 15 rounds of hateful, sickening arrogance by Clay, for him to become the undisputed kingpin of the ring.

Fires
Some 70 people are now feared dead in the bush fires on the Australian island of Tasmania. The fires, whipped by gale-force winds, burned to within two miles of Hobart, the island capital.
A Melbourne reporter, in a radio broadcast from Hobart, described it as a ‘city in a state of devastation’. He said damaged homes lay in a 40-mile radius round the city.

Fun Days
Students from Glasgow’s Veterinary College made an ‘ass’ of parking-meter regulations – by attaching three donkeys to parking meters in the city. Two traffic wardens who came along to investigate found themselves being ‘fined’ by the students, who wanted money for charity.