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13th April 196:  Celtic v Dundee – League

11th April

Up early again, a little stiff after the match at Pittodrie the previous evening, as the Boss wanted to be back in Glasgow, for whatever reason. So, we were on the early train and got into Glesca well before midday.

Curiously enough, although we – and by that I mean all the players plus the management – were very happy at picking up two vital points against a top team in Aberdeen, the evening press was not quite so complimentary, with one headline saying –

 

Are Celtic Feeling the Strain?

 

The journalist then went on to expand his thoughts –

‘Celtic showed signs at Pittodrie last night that the strain of making the championship challenge is beginning to tell. 

Gone was the sharpness that has brought 35 goals in their 8 previous outings. Instead, they were nervous and unusually shot-shy.

Once the goal went in, Celtic relaxed and looked much more effective. Aberdeen, by contrast, appeared disheartened and did not show the same zest and endeavour’.

In mitigation, could I point out that since the beginning of March, in fact from 2nd March to the 10th April, a period of just over five weeks, we had played 9 league matches and 2 friendlies. That is a lot of football and just occasionally a team takes its foot off the pedal, not by choice but because the players’ bodies are just not coping with what they are being asked to do. Once the system receives a boost – like scoring in the 60th minute against Aberdeen – it can pick up again and show just what it is capable of. But it is difficult to do that all the time.

However, although we all knew that, it was still disappointing to read in the papers that we were ‘feeling the strain’. That would be a normal response in the situation we were in;

I’m sure that Rangers would be feeling the same. The team that would win the title would be the one that could cope with the situation most efficiently.

 

12th April

An easy morning, just some light runs, a few sprints and then a six-a-side behind one of the goals at Parkhead.

After the session, the Boss announced the teams for the morrow ( the Reserves also had a match against Dundee at Dens Park). It came as no surprise that the first team was unchanged from the side against Aberdeen, the seventh consecutive time that the same side had represented the club.

This was given a large headline in one of the evening papers, which went on to clarify our recent record –

‘Same’ Celts Go After Century 

‘Celtic’s high-scoring team, which has hit 19 for the loss of only one in the last 6 league matches, will again be on duty against Dundee at Celtic Park tomorrow. 

Celtic, who start tomorrow’s game with 97 goals and a one-point lead over Rangers in the championship race, are out to raise their points total to 59 and their goals to a least 100.

Joe McBride, now fully fit, will be Celtic’s 12th man’.

The paper then went on to discuss the position of Rangers –

‘In the forthcoming 8 days, Rangers will complete their closing 3 away matches – and the 270 minutes of football could decide whether the Ibrox club or Celtic will carry the hopes of Scotland into Europe next season as league champions’.

Fixture
(1)   13th April    Raith Rovers    (A)

            (2)   17th April    Morton             (A)

             (3)   20th April    Aberdeen         (A)

 

I had bought the evening paper on the way home and had a quick scan of the sports section before driving back to my parents’ house. Those details occupied my thoughts all the way home but my Mum soon brought me down to earth with a bump, telling me that we needed some potatoes and I could get them at the shops at the top of the road!


 

Morning of the Match

It might have been a crucial match for the club in the chase for the League title but that apparently did not mean that it was important enough to feed us before the match. So, in my parents’ house, it was Chef Craig who rose to the challenge, not me in this case but my lovely Mum, who served up my traditional pre-match meal of scrambled eggs on toast in splendid fashion.

Then, it was into the car and up to Celtic Park, where I found everyone in good form. Strangely enough, the main topic of conversation was not our own match against the Dark Blues of Dundee – there was an almost arrogant belief that we would win that one and we were taking bets on who would get our 100th goal of the season? – but how Rangers would get against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park, where the club had been entrenched since 1891.

At that time of the season, while Rangers were challenging us for the league title, the Rovers were fighting relegation, lying in third-bottom spot, with only Stirling Albion and Motherwell below them. Yet, in the chat among the guys before our own match, when it came to a prediction of the Raith/Rangers game, there were slightly more in favour of a home win than an away triumph. Was this a practical assessment of the situation? Or the heart ruling the head? I refuse to say which side I was on.

Even at the arrival time of half-past one for a three o’clock kick-off, there had been a fair crowd gathering outside and as we went into the dressing-room to get ready for the game, we could hear – as at that time the opaque dressing room windows were facing on to the area outside the South Stand – that the noise level was increasing and, no doubt, the expectations rising.

 

The Teams

Celtic

Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Gallagher, Hughes.
Sub: McBride

Dundee

Donaldson
Wilson, Swan
Murray, Easton, Stewart
Campbell, J McLean, S Wilson, G McLean, Scott.
Sub: Kinninmouth

 

The Play

We were three goals up in this match after 20 minutes. In the 4th minute, after good work by Yogi and Charlie, Lemon opened the scoring. Five minutes later, Yogi went on a bustling run and his shot got number two. Then, in the 18th minute, Dundee’s defender Stewart solved the answer to the question of who would score Celtic’s 100th league goal of the season.

In attempting to knock away a Lemon cross, he completely mis-kicked his clearance and sent the ball whizzing past keeper Donaldson.

Three –up after such a short space of time, it would be a strange team which did not take its foot off the pedal slightly and we were as guilty of that as any other side. That allowed the Dark Blues to pull one back through Scott in 38 minutes but we tightened up a bit after that and it was still 3-1 at the interval.

The Boss was a happy man at the break, merely giving us his usual warning – as he did for all opposition – to make sure that we did not allow them back into the game. And, from the re-start, we did exactly that, pushing them back and getting further goals from Yogi in 53 minutes and Lemon in 58.

The one man in the Dundee ranks who had stood out was George McLean, always aggressive, forever a threat on goal. So, there was some justice for the big striker when he scored probably the best goal of the match, a 20-yard free-kick which fairly whistled past Ronnie in the 64th minute.

And that was it. Dundee tried hard but we held them at bay and still put their defence under pressure with some occasional attacks. But the crowd of 41,500, the vast majority of them Celtic fans, were pleased with what they had seen and gave us an real ovation as we came off.

 Final Score  Celtic  5  Dundee  2

 

Apparently, after the match, a huge crowd had gathered outside the Main Stand, desperate to hear the result of the match at Stark’s Park. They were to be disappointed.

 

Results

Airdrie 2 2 Hearts
Dundee United 2 1 Clyde
Hibs 2 1 Motherwell
Kilmarnock 1 0 St Johnstone
Morton 2 1 Falkirk
Partick Th 1 2 Dunfermline
Raith R 2 3 Rangers
Stirling A 0 3 Aberdeen

 

 

Table

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 32 28 3 1 102 22 59
Rangers 31 27 4 0 84 27 58

 

 

Reserves

The reserve sides of both Celtic and Dundee met at Dens Park that afternoon and the Dark Blues won 5-1. The Celtic side was Fallon, Murray, Gorman, Cattenach, Connelly, John Clark, Newman, McKellar, Quinn, MacMahon, Jim Clarke, The scorer of Celtic’s goal was Jimmy Quinn.


A 16-month old boy was trapped alone for half-an-hour in a lift as it went up and down a 20-story building in Pollokshields, Glasgow.

The 30 minutes of terror began when the fair-haired toddler walked out of his mother’s maisonette home on the top floor of the building at 124 Shawbridge Street and into the lift.

Seconds later, the heavy steel doors closed behind him and the lift was on its way down. Then, without the doors opening, the lift began to climb again. This was repeated 6 times as the boy cried with fear.

Police and fire brigade with first-aid equipment were called to the scene and eventually the boy was helped out.