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12th February 1966 : Celtic v Falkirk – League – Part One

The Draw

On the Monday after the win over Stranraer, the morning papers were lukewarm in their appreciation of Celtic’s victory, more than one commentator pointing out that there was a considerable gulf in ability between the sides, as well as a decided difference in league position.

The evening press, though, rather than concentrate on Celtic’s performance, used their column inches to illustrate something entirely more important to fans of other clubs, the 3rd Round draw of the Scottish Cup, which been made that afternoon. There had been a few draws in the ties played on Saturday and these would be replayed in the coming week. The full draw was;-

 

Falkirk or Dundee United v Aberdeen
Dumbarton    v   Queen of the South
Dundee v Celtic
Hearts           v   Hibs
Ross County v Rangers
Stirling Albion v   Dunfermline
Kilmarnock or Morton     v     Motherwell or East Stirling
Cowdenbeath     v     St Johnstone

So, it would be trip up to Dens Park for Celtic, a venue the club already visited twice that season, once in the League and once in the League Cup, Celtic having won on both occasions, albeit each time by a single goal.

Before that match, though, there was another league game to be undertaken, this time against the Bairns of Falkirk


An Enigma

Falkirk Football Club was, in some ways, a bit of an enigma, for several reasons.

Firstly, they had won the Scottish Cup for the 2nd time in 1957 (the first time had been in 1913) but since then, in that same competition, they had never reached the final stages again.

In the Scottish League competition, since that glorious day in 1957, the Bairns’ record was anything but spectacular. Two years after the Scottish Cup win, in season 1958-59, they were relegated, coming back up again in 1960-61 but in the following four seasons, they finished 14th, 13th, 14th and 16th.

In that particular season of 1965-66, at the time of the above match, Falkirk were lying mid-table, having only won roughly half of the matches played.

 

A Surprise

After days of nagging from that consultant friend of mine about the Dean’s incorrect comments at the Final Year Dinner concerning my ordering-off in Kiev, I finally made an appointment to see him and clarify matters.

I was very apprehensive when I went into his room but the Dean could not have been nicer and apologized to me, saying that he had made the comments knowing all the facts of the case. Then, I had to go and see the consultant and tell him he had been right all along.

 

Training

After a spell of icy conditions, Glasgow was back to its worst on the Tuesday evening, rain teeming down, so much so that we were not allowed to use the sodden grassy area behind the goals – in case it was damaged? – and had to do our hard work on a wet and muddy track, which kept trying to pull your boots off as you ran along.

I know I have mentioned this before but I always found it amazing that our coaches, bright people in every way, felt it necessary to run the legs off us. We were into February, had been training since the middle of July, so was there any chance at all that we might not be fit? The answer was surely no!, so why was it necessary for us to be pushed hard at every session. There was no logic to it.

 

And it got worse on the Thursday, when the ice came back into play, although not as bad as before and as we did the sprints we always finished a session with, players were slipping and sliding all over the place. One young laddie even fell, which did his knees – and his backside – no good at all.

Anyway, at the end of it all on the Thursday night, there was good news for me, as I was told to report to Parkhead for the first-team match against Falkirk. They also put the team up on the board for the Combined Reserve game against Clydebank and I noticed there was bad news for Bobby Lennox, as he was included but there was no listing of Bertie Auld, who was obviously in the first team with me. One out, one in! Football never changes.

 

Two New Initiatives

The SFA gave notice that they were considering the introduction of substitutes for next season, following the system used in England at that point, where a sub could come on for a player who is injured.

The Scottish League announced that they were planning to adopt a 16-12-12 team league set-up but this would have to be passed by all the clubs in the league. Two teams would go down from the current First Division and there would be no promotion from the Second.

 


 

Question

Last time, I asked which member of the reserve team which beat Hearts at Celtic Park – Martin, Halpin, O’Neill, Cattenach, McCarron, Brogan, Connelly, H Quinn, J Quinn, Sweeney, Auld – had a daughter who became Ladies World Badminton Champion and the answer was Bent Martin. His daughter Camilla won the title in 1999.

And this week’s query comes from our previous match against Stranraer. Which member of the Celtic side – Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Lennox and Hughes – became manager of Stranraer in 1975?


 

Talks

President Johnston opened summit talks with South Vietnam heads at Honolulu.

Meanwhile, America continued its bombardment of North Vietnam and pounded historic Dien Bien Phu, 80 miles from the Chinese border.

 

A Scottish Win!

Chic Calderwood of Craigneuk, the British light-heavyweight champion, scored his second quick win in the space of a fortnight at the Hilton Hotel in London when he stopped top Italian Alfredo Vogrig after 1 minute 35 seconds in the 3rd round of a scheduled 8-round fight.

 

Native Tongue

There were 80,978 Gaelic speakers in Scotland at the time of the 1961 census.

The total in 1951 was 95,447.

The Outer Hebrides, with 26,840, was the largest Gaelic-speaking community.