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18th December 1965: Dunfermline Athletic v Celtic – Part Two

commentButton2Another Right-Back?

Scottish Cup Final 1965 Celtic versus Dunfermline Billy McNeill leads out the Celtic team sdrscottishcupfinal

Big Billy – right back?
© Daily Record

On the day of the match, there was a comment in one of the papers that, due to Ian Young’s injury, Billy McNeil might be brought in at right-back. The story was seen by my Dad, who worked on a Saturday, and he phoned the house to tell me. I muttered something suitable and thanked him for telling me; at the same time, I was quite sure there was nothing in the story.

Billy had been out for nearly three weeks, was not used to the right-back position and would be keen to not over-stress his knee, so why would he come back in a position where the player has to cover much more ground than a centre-half would. There was no way any manager would take a chance like that and I went over to Parkhead in a good frame of mind.

East End Park

This was my first trip to East End Park and it had much to live up to. Every single first-team player I had spoken to about the place was very enthusiastic about the stadium and the atmosphere within it. And when I walked out on the pitch for the first time, I could immediately see and feel what they had meant.

There had recently been changes to the stadium, which now had a 3,000 seat stand, opposite which was a large covered enclosure and there was another covered area at the west end. The capacity at that time was around the 27,000 mark, the pitch looked good and all-in-all, it was most impressive. I couldn’t wait for the match to start…..although there was still the possibility that I was not in the team.

 

The News

EQI Celtic versus AGF AARhus 17th November 1965 European cup winners cup second round Celtic Park Glasgow Hermonsen attacks but goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson saves as JIm Craig covers TBC EUropean football project Celtic

Me – back in again
© Daily Record

About 40 minutes before kick-off, all the players in the party were ushered into the away dressing-room and the team was announced.

I was in, as was Stevie Chalmers; out was Bobby Lennox. I was chuffed at being involved and I could see from Stevie’s face that he was pleased too; on the other hand, I had sympathy for Wee Bobby, who, since I made the first-team, had been both pleasant and understanding. Sometimes, though, football can be a cut-throat business!

Then came that awkward moment when those who did not make the team wished the players involved all the best, then made their way outside, where they sometimes could have a bitch with their friends about their situation and presumably, say a few un-complimentary words about the manager etc.

Back in the dressing-room, the lucky ones got ready for the fray and the manager went round having a private word with a selected few. Then the referee came in to summon the team and the chosen eleven – Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Chalmers, Hughes – made its way out to the pitch.

 

 

The Match

Dunfermline came out in an unusual strip of cerise-coloured jerseys with thin white stripes. It looked a bit odd when seen for the first time, even a bit girly but the players wearing it had obviously been told what they had to do to take the points, as right from the first whistle, the match became a macho contest, with no quarter asked or given.

Celtic Take Their Chances

‘Dunfermline and Celtic had one thing in common at East End Park on Saturday – the ruthlessness of the tackling.

Although the League Championship will not be decided until the end of April, the players – and the crowd of 15,000 – realised that this was a match of vital importance to both clubs and it was not altogether surprising that nerves were on edge and tempers a little frayed.

Celtic relied for success more on individuals and Mr Stein must have been more than pleased with the performance of his outside-forwards, Johnstone and Hughes.

Dunfermline, without such clever individualists, played well as a team….they were both fit and fast and used the ball and the open space to their advantage.

The goals came in the final third of the match. In the 62nd minute, the Pars were staging an offensive to break through the Celtic defence. Gemmell showed his class with a long punt upfield. It looked nothing more than a safety-first clearance and the Dunfermline defenders, up in support of the forwards, had the impression that Chalmers was offside but with no signal either from a linesman or the referee, Chalmers chased the ball and scored a clever goal from an acute angle.

Five minutes later, centre-half Mclean, in an attempt to head another long clearance from the Celtic defence, left it alarmingly short of his own goalkeeper and Chalmers had an easy opportunity to lob in the goal which must seriously have prejudiced Dunfermline’s chances of challenging both Celtic and Rangers in the months to come’

That was what the papers said about the match. From my own recollection, it was quite a bruising affair, with good football, frankly, at a premium. I always thought that our defence had the measure of the Pars front men and that gave the players further forward a confidence to go about their own business. The first goal came at the right time, just when Dunfermline were congratulating themselves that they had coped with Celtic’s attacks and were thinking about pushing forward. And the second, only five minutes later, was a real blow to their morale and there was no way back for them from that point on.

I had not had much dealings with Jock Stein up till then but in the dressing-room after the match he was very animated, obviously pleased with the result and, I hope, happy with the performance of ALL his players! It was a very happy bus trip back to Celtic Park;’’

 

Good News from Shawfield

In an all-Glasgow league encounter at Shawfield, Clyde and Rangers drew 2-2.


 

A Game from the Past…..and a Moment to Remember

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

 

A Game from the Past……After a career beginning in London with Leyton, the wonderfully-named Ebenezer Owers gradually worked his way northwards, with spells at Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion, Chesterfield and Darlington before joining Clyde in 1913.

From Shawfield, Ebb came to Parkhead on a loan deal, making his debut for Celtic against Third Lanark in a league match on 6th December 1913, scoring once in the 3-0 victory.

 

And a Moment to Remember…..Ebenezer Owers went on to make 16 appearances for Celtic in that last season before the war, notching 11 goals. He scored 4 goals when Celtic beat Ayr United 6-0 at Somerset Park, was in the Celtic side which beat Rangers 4-0 on Ne’erday 1914 and played enough matches to collect a League Championship medal for that 1913-14 season. He also played in the Scottish Cup final against Hibs but apparently missed a few good chances, so he was dropped for the replay as Celtic completed the ‘double’.


Across the Wall

Thousands of gift-laden West Berliners poured through 5 checkpoints to the east yesterday – the second day of the 2-week Yuletide visiting period. The day before, about 100,000 people visited their East Berlin relatives.

 

In Again

General de Gaulle won a new 7-year term as French President with a substantial majority over his left-wing opponent M Francois Mitterand.

 

New Contract

A two-and-a-half million dollar (£892,000) contract to build large fuselage sections for American aircraft has been awarded to Scottish Aviation Ltd of Prestwick. The company will build the sections for Hercules Propjet aircraft made by the Lockheed Georgia Co. Work will begin early next year.