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17th April 1968:  Celtic v Clyde – Glasgow Cup Final

 

15th April

We had the day off from training. Obviously, the Boss had been pleased with the performance against Dundee on the Saturday and with the Glasgow Cup Final looming two days hence, he was protecting his charges.

The only one that appeared to have taken a knock against Dundee was Ronnie and, according to the evening press, he did go into the park for treatment and received a positive report from the medical staff –

Injured Simpson Likely to Play at Hampden

 

The Clyde match did get a bit of attention but it was nothing compared to the coverage given to the title race between Celtic and Rangers. This is an example of the extensive reports in the press at that time –

Tension Mounts as Old Firm Prepare for the Run-in

‘With only a fortnight or so of the season to run he would be bold indeed who would plump for Celtic or Rangers as League Champions and unless there is a turn-up this midweek the destination of the title may not be decided until Saturday week, when Rangers are at home to Aberdeen in their last fixture of the season.

Before then Rangers have two games to play – against Morton at Greenock on Wednesday and Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday – and must win both if they are to maintain the challenge to Celtic for the flag.

Nor for their part can the champions afford to falter. They have Morton at Parkhead on Saturday but if they are in the same sparkling form as against Dundee, they should not find this barrier insurmountable. Of much more importance could be Celtic’s visit to East End Park to complete the programme against Dunfermline on 1st May (assuming that the Fife club are not involved in a Scottish Cup Final replay that evening)’.

 

16th April

All the squad back in again and feeling good. Without probably realising it at the time, our morale must have received a severe dent at the time of our problems with firstly Dinamo Kiev in the European Cup and then Racing Club in the World Club Championship. While results domestically from then on had been pretty good, we were lacking something for a while. And getting knocked out of the Scottish Cup in the first round by the Pars in late January didn’t help either.

However, we seemed to have managed to put all that behind us and the team was now firing on all cylinders again. There was, though, one factor still ‘bugging’ all of us. The way it stood just now, no matter what we did, as long as Rangers kept winning, they were untouchable. It made us determined to win all our remaining matches but – and I can’t speak for the others – I was praying for a break…and so was my Mum!

Other pieces from the papers that day were –

‘Celtic have arranged an attractive fixture at Celtic Park on Friday 26th April versus Home Farm of Dublin and also a pre-season friendly against Leeds United’.

 

‘For the Glasgow Cup final, manager Jock Stein announced that he will field the same side that has scored 41 goals in the league for the loss of four since the beginning of March’.

 

There was also an unusual headline which took a bit of working out –

 

Celtic Set to Win – and Lose!

‘Celtic seem set to win the Glasgow Cup – and lose the league leadership to ‘Old Firm’ rivals Rangers tomorrow night’.

That refers to the fact that Rangers were due to play Morton on the morrow and if they won, they would go one point ahead of Celtic in the league table. At present, the positions were;

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

 

 

The Day of the Match

We reported to Celtic Park around 5.30pm and soon boarded the bus for the short trip to Hampden. The atmosphere was good. Clyde were old adversaries of ours and, although no one said anything publicly, we were all quite convinced, I suspect, that we were the better side and had little to fear on the night. The proviso that must always be included in a sentence like that is ‘as long as we put in a shift and turn up for the occasion’. And I don’t think for a minute that any of us were going to take the match lightly.

 

The Teams

Celtic

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

Sub: Clark

Clyde

McCulloch
Glasgow, Soutar
Anderson, Fraser, McHugh
Hood, Staite, Delaney, Stewart, Hastings.
Sub:  Burns

 

The Play

I can do no more than quote two pieces from the daily papers, which quite neatly summed up the first half  –

‘Celtic won the Glasgow Cup for the 4th successive year with a dazzling display in the first half of the final last night at Hampden Park. In a period of 24 minutes, they scored seven of their eight goals, an avalanche against which Clyde were helpless’.

 

‘Glorious Celtic won the Glasgow Cup at Hampden last night with an incredible first-half goal blitz that left the bewildered Clyde part-timers shocked and well-beaten.

The pace, the style, the sheer power of this majestic Celtic team, who were back to the form which won the European Cup, must have rocked Hampden to its stately foundations.

For Celts joyfully hammered home seven goals in 24 minutes’.

 

Those seven goals came from Jinky (10 minutes); Lemon (22, 32, 33); Yogi (25, 29) and Tam (34). When the whistle blew for half-time, the Celtic fans in the crowd of 35,000 were on their feet and cheering like mad. When we got into the dressing-room, however, and were told the half-time score from Cappielow, where Morton were facing Rangers and were 3-1 ahead at half-time, we realised that the fans were not only applauding our performance but were also in seventh heaven at the thought of a Rangers loss that night.

It certainly made us feel on top of the world and we went back out again ready to bang in a few more. As so often happens at a time like that, though, when a team’s rhythm is broken by the half-time break, we could not reproduce the excellent form of the first half – although we gave it our best shot – and the only other goal of the game came from Chopper with a fine shot.

Still, an 8-0 victory and a 26th winning of the Glasgow Cup was not a bad night’s work and when the final score came in from Cappielow and we, players and fans, were all told that Rangers had drawn 3-3 with Morton, there was firstly a little disappointment then the realization that both of us were level on the same points total but that we had by far the better goal average. Suddenly, the future was in our hands. As long as we won our two final matches, no one could take the League Championship away from us!

 

Table

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 32 28 3 1 102 22 59
Rangers 32 27 5 0 87 30 59

 


The crew of 11 were killed when a Shackleton aircraft from the R.A.F. station at Ballykelly, Northern Ireland crashed in the Mull of Kintyre. An eye-witness told of seeing the plane hit a hill….and of the hill seeming to burst into a ‘ball of fire’. There were no survivors, an R.A.F. spokesman confirmed.