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13th  March 1968:  Celtic v Airdrie –  League

11th March

Everyone in for training as usual and, to my delight, I was feeling much better. It was if I had turned a corner on a long road. The leg was fine when I was running and in the usual two-touch match at the end of the session, I got a couple of blows on it which did not cause much of a problem.

 

Later, when I picked up the evening paper, there did seem to be a problem –

“Ridiculous – that was Celtic chairmen Bob Kelly’s reaction to a Scottish League management committee ruling today that any Celtic player in the Scottish League game against the English League at Middlesborough on Wednesday of next week must NOT play for Celtic against Shamrock Rovers in the St Patrick’s Day game in Dublin on Monday.

The managerial committee edict came within an hour of seven Celtic players being named by Scotland team manager Bobby Brown in a pool of 17 players named for the game.

After learning of the ban, Mr Kelly said  – “This is a ridiculous decision. The sponsors and the spectators in Dublin want to see Celtic’s European Cup-Winning side. That’s why around 45,000 tickets have already been sold. Now the Scottish League’s ban would appear to prevent several of our top players from turning out at Dublin”’.

Apparently Celtic had told the Scottish League that Celtic would have been happy to make arrangements for the players involved to travel to Middlesborough but this was not accepted by the committee. Discussions are on-going at the time of going to print.

 

The 17 players for the match against the English League were – Simpson (Celtic), McCloy (Motherwell, W Callaghan (Dunfermline), Greig, McKinnon, D Smith ( all Rangers), Gemmell, Murdoch, Johnstone, McNeill, Lennox, Hughes (all Celtic), Murray (Dundee), Smith (Aberdeen), Cormack, Stein, Stevenson ( Hibs).

 

12th March

Everyone back in for training again and news that Bertie Auld is probably out for the remainder of the season. His knee problem will require an operation and he is not expected back for the rest of the campaign.

 

The draw for the semi-final of the Scottish Cup was made –

Rangers or Hearts v Morton

Dunfermline v St Johnstone

 

Joe McBride has turned down a chance to move to St Johnstone. Willie Ormond, the St Johnstone manager, contacted Celtic about the transfer of McBride. The Perth Boss feels that McBride could play a big part in helping his club stay clear of relegation.

After Willie Ormond’s approach Celtic brought McBride into the picture. But it did not take Joe long to decide to stay with Celtic and continue his fight to get back into the first team.


 

13th March 1968 Celtic v Airdrie  League – Report

 

Afternoon of the Match

By the time all the guys arrived for the match, around 6pm, an hour and a half before kick-off, there had still been no mention of the side.

I was getting a little apprehensive. I had made it clear to everyone the day before that I felt that I was back to normal but whether the Boss thought so was another matter. And did he want to make too many changes to a side that was playing pretty well?

I had never known the pre-match period to take so long to pass and I was just getting really frustrated when the call came for us to go into the dressing-room and I joined the others…with fingers crossed!

Praise the Lord!…. the news was good.

 

The Teams

Celtic

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

Airdrie

McKenzie
Jonquin, Keenan
Goodwin, Black, Whiteford
Madden, Ramsay, McPheat, Jarvie, Phillips.
Sub: Caldwell

 

The Play

We started off playing into the strong breeze which did not help our play to reach the levels of which we were capable but we kept control of the play all right and took the lead almost halfway through the half….

22 minutes….cross by Tam, header by Lemon and we were in the lead. 1-0 Celtic

 

And the crowd of 17,000 had to wait only 6 minutes for another

28 minutes…low hard shot by Chopper turned in by Wispy.  2-0 Celtic

 

If the Boss was a happy man at the interval then it certainly did not come across, as he was a bit critical of a couple of slack moments at the back and of us wasting some chances up front. We went back out a little chastened – and determined – and got almost an immediate reward –

48 minutes….this time, Lemon crossed into the middle and Wispy reacted quicker than the Diamonds rearguard, sending a nice header past Roddy MacKenzie.                  3-0 Celtic

And, with 16 minutes left, Wispy got his hat-trick –

74 minutes…a high centre by Lemon and Wispy almost hooked the ball into the net over his shoulder.

 

Final Score  Celtic  4  Airdrie  0

 

The Table

That brought us level with Rangers in terms of games played but they were still two points clear of us in the table –

 

P W D L F A Pts
Rangers 25 22 3 0 69 22 47
Celtic 25 21 3 1 75 19 45

However, fans of the Light Blues would not have been too happy that night as Rangers were beaten 1-0 by Hearts in a quarter-final replay in the Scottish Cup at Tynecastle.

That meant it would be the first time since season 1951-52 that neither of the ‘Old Firm’ sides would be in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

In that season, Celtic had lost 2-1 to Third Lanark at Cathkin in a 1st Round replay after a goalless draw at Parkhead. The Rangers v Motherwell match in the quarter-finals also went to a replay, the Steelmen winning 2-1, then going on to beat Hearts 3-1 in another replay in the semi-final and Dundee 4-0 in the final.


Cary Grant, the 63-year-old film actor, was injured last night when his chauffer-driven car was in collision with a lorry on a Long Island expressway.

Grant is reported to have suffered a nose injury and a passenger, Baroness Gratia von Furstenberg, had her right leg fractured.