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14th January 196 St Johnstone v Celtic League – Part One

12th January

In the press the day following the match against Clyde, the reports were very complimentary to Celtic and also sent a warning to the Bully Wee.

Dazzling Celtic

‘Among the 38,000 who watched Celtic take another stride to what appears to be a second successive league championship at Parkhead last night were the players of promotion-minded Morton.

Chairman Hal Stewart brought his squad to Celtic Park to study Clyde, the Cappielow club’s Scottish Cup opponents on 28th January.

It was soon impressed on the Morton men, who are almost promotion certainties, that the opposition in First Division football is of a different quality from the Second Division.

Consolation for Clyde was their share of their best gate for many a month. Indeed, the 38,000 attendance was more than the total at Clyde’s 8 home league games this season, in which the average gate has been between 3,000 and 4,000’.

 

As you might imagine, with two 5-1 victories on the trot under their belt, the players were feeling really good about life in general. Curiously, though, most of the chat in dressing-room, especially among the senior ( a polite word for ‘older’) players, was about another club in Glasgow.

The problems of Third Lanark were being well documented in every newspaper and the senior guys were still in touch with Mike Jackson, like them one of the Kelly Kids, who had recently had gone through a spell there. Mike, whom I got to know later on, has always been a very witty guy and his tales of the happenings at Cathkin – already related to the senior guys – were just as funny heard second-hand. It really must have been an almost unbelievable place in which to be a professional player!

 

13th January

There was a warning to Celtic in one of the evening papers ;-

 Watch it Celtic! Saints Can Be Shockers

‘St Johnstone’s record of only 2 wins and one draw in 9 home league games certainly does not suggest any threat to Celtic’s championship hopes at Muirton Park.

However, manager Jock Stein will not allow any player to take the field tomorrow in any mood of over-confidence.

The shrewd Celtic Boss knows that St Johnstone shocked Aberdeen to win 1-0 in their most recent Muirton Park game. He also knows that their other home win was against Hearts, with the drawn match to Rangers – a pretty fair warning to Celtic that tomorrow will not be a pleasure jaunt’.

 

And one of the evening papers had an extensive piece about one of Celtic’s missing (i.e. not playing for one reason or another) stars –

Injured Celt Back Tomorrow?

Stein Nails The McBride Rumours

 ‘Joe McBride will be back in the first-team soon – possibly even against St Johnstone tomorrow. That was the reaction of Celtic manager Jock Stein today to rumours that McBride’s injury is more serious than first thought. McBride is in the travelling party for Perth.

For the past week, the rumour-mongers have really gone to town about the absence of McBride from the team. Indeed, according to some whispers, it has been suggested that McBride’s career was in serious decline.

Jock Stein wasted no time in slamming the disquieting rumours when asked about them today. He said – “The rumour-mongers will have a real surprise when Joe returns to the side soon. Indeed, it might be in our game against St Johnstone. I just don’t know how such rumours start but I know that this is true; they are right off the mark”’

 

There have always been rumours in football and more than a few rumour-mongers during those years, so it should have come as no surprise to the Celtic management that Joe McBride’s injury should have been the subject of some attention. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the injury were not helping and I will list the reasons for

that;-

 

Joe’s injury had always been described as ‘Joe’s injury’, that is, no specifics. There were a few comments that it was a ‘knee injury’ which was quite correct but  unfortunately, precisely what part of the knee was involved was never mentioned and, as I found out later, even the specialists he was seeing were unsure as to the specific cause.

Celtic at that time had a full-time physio and a part-time doctor in John Fitzsimons.Joe had been referred to hospital consultants for a diagnosis but in those days, x-rays were the only aid in assessing the situation. Scans were a few years off yet.
Now, I know from my work as a dentist, unless a problem like caries (decay) has reached a certain level, it does not show up on a radiograph at all so I assume that Joe’s consultants were having a similar problem.

The rumour-mongers had plenty of reason for their prognostications of doom and gloom. Barrowfield, where we trained in those days, was not the most private of training grounds. Situated on London Road, perhaps two-thirds of a mile east of Celtic Park, it was surrounded by relatively smallish walls and any enterprising rumour-monger would have had no difficulty in watching the training. That way he (or she) could ascertain firstly, whether Joe was actually at training and secondly, if he was involved, just how he was looking. And just how was he looking?  Frankly, not good.

Our cars were parked just outside the main door in the South Stand, in a place open to everyone, so all anyone wishing to check Joe’s mobility had to do was watch himwalk from the front door to his car. Did his gait look perfectly normal? I would have said no!

So, if we take all that into account, then we possibly should not blame the rumour-mongers for putting out their stories. In retrospect, it might have been better if the Celtic Board and management had come clean and admitted that Joe did have a problem. He might even have received help from other sources.


Fire!

More than 100 firemen fought one of the biggest fires in New York’s history as it raged across a 12-block residential area in the borough of Queen’s. At least 20 homes and two fire engines were destroyed by the flames, which reached a height of 200 feet. A policeman said that homes were burning ‘like paper boxes’.

The blaze, fed by a burst gas main and punctuated by explosions, erupted before dawn. Flames leapt 400 feet into the air after the explosion rocked the densely populated neighbourhood.

Change of Route

Thirty Monte Carlo rally drivers will set off tomorrow in the early hours of the morning on the shortest stage ever in the rally – 100 yards along the quay at Dover.

For the first time for more than 40 years there is to be no run through Britain before the drivers board the cross-channel ferry for France. In the previous years the British starting point has been Glasgow although last year it was London. But this year the organisers failed to send their proposed route to Britain in time for it to be approved.

But the Dover start will still be carried out as usual with cars setting out at one minute intervals.

Dangerous

A youth who caused £300 damage to a school building when he rested a burning torch against a propane gas cylinder in a school playground was sent to a detention center for three months and fined £50 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court