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17th December 1966_ Celtic v Partick Thistle League – Part One

12th December

Willie Wallace’s performance in his first match for Celtic received top billing in the papers in the days that followed, although obviously the Boss was not too convinced about his levels of fitness.

‘Willie Wallace, Celtic’s £300,000 signing from Hearts and John Hughes – now fit for top team action – will now train side-by-side at Parkhead in the coming weeks….and they will find the going as tough as a commando course.

Today manager Jock Stein said “I was very pleased with Wallace’s work in his first game for Celtic but just as soon as possible I want him geared up to our ideas of fitness and stamina”.

Talking of levels of fitness, my own were as good now as ever and I treated every training session as though it was a rehearsal for the big occasion. I was near the front for both the long runs and the sprints and although the big match to end training was two-touch and sometimes could be up to 20 players a side, I made sure that I put a shift in that as well. Now, all I needed was a break!

 

This was a big night for the players and staff. The Christmas dinner-dance took place, which was attended by every player on the books plus his lady. It was a nice evening, although the Boss did take the chance at the presentation of awards to mention that we would all be training on the morrow.

 

13th December

We did train…but it was a very light-hearted affair and merely designed to keep us working. A bit of long stuff, then some sprints and that was it!

 

14th December

‘Celtic manager Jock Stein watched his players in a practice game this morning, then headed south for tonight’s European Cup tie between Liverpool and Ajax at Anfield.

The Celtic players wore rubber boots for the practice game. Jock Stein said using these rubber boots to give the players every chance of becoming really familiar. “We are training with them on as they are quite likely to be wearing them quite a lot in the next few weeks”

 

15th December

In that match at Anfield, Liverpool drew 2-2 with Ajax but as the Reds had been hammered 5-1 in Amsterdam in the first leg, that meant they exited the competition on a 7-3 aggregate score.

Back in Scotland, on the same evening, in a first leg, third round tie, Kilmarnock beat La Gantoise of Belgium 1-0 at Rugby Park.

 

16th December

In Switzerland, the draw was made for the quarter-final stages of the two major European trophies. In the European Cup, Celtic were matched with either Vojvodina Novisad or Athletico Madrid; while in the Cup Winners’ Cup, Rangers were paired up with Real Saragossa.

 

As soon as news of the draw came through, manager Jock Stein started making arrangements to fly out to Madrid for the play-off match between Athletico Madrid and Vojvodina Novisad. The Boss was apparently delighted that Celtic had avoided both Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

 

While the higher-ups were worried about European matters, those of us in the reserve side were getting ready for a night at Firhill. The team put up on the board was Fallon, Craig, Brogan, Henderson, Young, Cattenach, Connelly, Macari, Taylor, Gallagher and Hughes.

It might have been just another second team game for most of those involved but I had given myself a deadline of the turn of the year for getting back in the first team, so these matches were crucial. And thankfully as it was being played the night before the first team clash with Partick Thistle at Parkhead, the Boss would be there. All I needed to do was put in such a shift as to catch his attention!

 


Jailed

Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards, accused of taking part in the £2.6 million Great Train Robbery 3 years ago, was found guilty of both charges against him.

He was sentenced at Nottingham Assizes to 12 years imprisonment for conspiracy and 15 years for robbery, the sentences to run concurrently.

 

No!

Cassius Clay, the world heavyweight champion, said in Connecticut that he had turned down a film offer of £250,000 because it would be against his religion to appear on screen with a white woman.

He said he had been offered the part of Jack Johnson, the negro heavyweight champion who had two white wives.

 

Praise

A new song which will echo round the land on Saturday afternoons in places as far apart as Dumfries and Dundee is out on disc this week – Glen Daly’s ‘Hail, Hail, Celtic’.

In his new disc, Daly pays tribute to Celtic’s proud record of being unbeaten so far in both league and cup football…..and with the soccer season not quite at the halfway stage, he goes on to forecast that Celtic will win the Scottish Cup and League Championship too.

Obviously a disc which will be a very big hit with the Celtic fans – and an even bigger miss with those who follow the fortunes of Rangers.