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18th March 1967 Celtic v Dunfermline League

13th March

The big news in the press on the Monday after the Queen’s Park match was the draw for the semi finals of the Scottish Cup. It was –

Celtic            v       Clyde or Hamilton  ( Hampden)

Dundee Utd  v       Hibs or Aberdeen    (Ibrox)

The other big story was the Jimmy Johnstone incident from the game against the Spiders, when he was suspended after the match for misconduct. One paper was quite neutral in its reporting –

Johnstone Trains as Usual

‘Wee Jimmy Johnstone, suspended for seven  days by Celtic, trained as usual today at Parkhead. Johnstone was one of the first to arrive at the ground and within minutes he had changed into his training togs’

 

And I got a mention myself –

‘Also training today was right back Jim Craig, who missed the cup game against Queen’s Park with an ankle injury. After watching the players, Jock Stein said “W have no serious injury worries after the game with Queen’s Park. Our second eleven match at Ibrox tomorrow against Rangers has been postponed, so all the players will be back to their normal training routines”.

 

The club’s decision to suspend Jimmy seemed to be treated with approval in another paper –

‘Celtic’s action in suspending Jimmy Johnstone for seven days on Saturday night was not only immediate and brave – it was inevitable for a club with the highest standard of football ethics……

…the suspension was a real act of courage by Celtic for they appreciate that it may cost them the League Championship. He will miss the game against Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday – and Celtic need all their top players, and their top form, to win’


It was all right for the reporter to say that I was back in training but, if truth be told, I was still in some considerable pain. However, one of the first things you learnt as a professional player in those days – when staying in the first team and getting the bonus for winning a match doubled your wage for the week – was that you should always underplay how you felt.

In other words, as in my case at that time, even if your ankle was causing you severe gyp when you were running etc., you tried to hide the pain and whenever anyone on the management side asked how you were, you gave a very effusive and positive answer. It might be the case that when you got home afterwards, you had to spend the rest of the day on the couch; however, at Celtic Park or Barrowfield, you just lied through your teeth about how much better you felt! I often thought about applying for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art?


14th March

There was some news about a forthcoming game – –

‘International manager Bobby Brown is hoping to enlist the help of seven of Scotland’s top managers to help the Scottish League best the English League at Hampden Park tomorrow night.

Bobby has invited the managers of the clubs with players in either the team or the reserve pool to a get-together in a Glasgow hotel tomorrow afternoon.

The seven managers invited are Jock Stein (Celtic), Scot Symon (Rangers), Malcolm MacDonald (Kilmarnock), Bob Shankly (Hibs), Willie Cunningham ( Dunfermline), John Harvey (Hearts) and Eddie Turnbull (Aberdeen).

At tomorrow’s meeting Bobby hopes to discuss various aspects of tomorrow’s game and aims to talk with the managers about future internationals.

Today the Scottish League players met in the same Glasgow hotel and Bobby had a talk with them about the match. They then travelled out to Lesser Hampden for a work-out organised by the manager and trainer Walter MacCrae’.


On the Craig front, slight improvement in ankle although still very tender. However, you would never know it from my positivity. This was in pre-Rambo days but I was matching him long before he appeared. You would never have known that my ankle was bleeding louping!


15th March

The papers on the day of Inter-League match were very positive-

‘Scotland’s League football players have put their English counterparts very firmly in their places in every league international since 1960.

Last season, when England were boasting, with eventual justification, that they would win the World Cup, manager Malcolm MacDonald took 11 ‘no chance’ Scots to Newcastle and they hammered the ‘auld enemy’ by 3-1.

But Alf Ramsay has travelled north this time with an almost completely new team – well prepared to slight the Scottish players. He knows that if he loses the game for the FOURTH time in six outings, he will be able to say “Well, what did you expect from a reserve England team?”

 

And there was good news for Celtic fans. The club announced that Celtic would play Tottenham Hotspur at the start of next season in a challenge match at Celtic Park.


While all this was going on, those players not in the Scottish League squad were going through our training routines at Barrowfield. My ankle was definitely improving…but would it have improved enough to pass Neilly Mochan’s quite strict fitness test, which I would undergo on the Friday morning.


16th March

The morning papers told the story of the night before –

 Scottish League’s Poor Display Against English

 Scottish League 0 English League  3

‘Sir Alf Ramsay’s ‘second-best’ team turned out to be first class – at least they were three goals too good for the plodding men of the Scottish League at Hampden last night’.

Scottish League team- Ferguson (Kilmarnock), Greig (Rangers), McNeill ( Celtic), Clark (Celtic), Gemmell (Celtic), Cormack (Hibernian), D Smith (Rangers), Henderson (Rangers), Ferguson ( Dunfermline), Chalmers (Celtic) and Wilson (Aberdeen).

 

To be blunt, it was not much of a match. I had gone along to see my colleagues in the side but they got off to a bad start, having to play against a gale of lashing rain, wind, sleet and snow for the first 45 minutes during which they lost the first two goals through blunders in defence and it was not long before what looked like a more comfortable English side on the surface added a third. Definitely not a night to remember if you were a Scot.

On the injury front, I was definitely improving. The tenderness was easing, the rubbing around the site of the damage was causing less damage and I was running freely enough. But would I pass the test on the morrow?


17th March

Training was quite quiet as there was a reserve match that night, so only the guys in the first team pool were in action. I joined in with them – we were doing the training on the track at Parkhead  – and did everything they were doing without much bother but then as they headed back to the dressing-room, Neilly signaled for me to join him behind him behind one of the goals.

Neilly did not have fancy qualifications in coaching and training but he had learned on the job and had the full trust of the Boss. And he had a special test to decide if – in his eyes anyway – you were up for the task on match day. What he did was walk round quite a considerable area, dropping coloured bibs at various points, then, having made sure that I was fully warmed up, he would make me sprint from one bib to another.

Now, that sounds fairly easy but remember that I sprinting between the bibs and just to make life more difficult, Neilly would shout ‘this one’ and point, then ‘that one’ and point again, making sure that I was not only running quickly but also having to twist and turn as he pointed to the various bibs.

After a few quite exhausting minutes of this, he told me to stop. “Nearly there, Jim” he said as he put an arm round me “but not quite”. As we walked towards the tunnel, I noticed that the Boss had been watching all this activity and after a word with Neilly, he pulled me to one side. “No point in taking any chances, Cairney” he pointed out “there’s another match on Monday, so we’ll bring you back in again for that one”.

And that was that. Missing another game but the important thing was, I was back in on the Monday!


18th March  Match Day

 

Reserve Match

On the night before the match against Dunfermline, Rangers had beaten Celtic 3-0 in a Second Eleven Cup semi-final at Ibrox. The Celtic Eleven was;

Fallon, Young, Brogan, Halpin, Cushley, Hay, Connelly, Cattenach, Quinn, Taylor and Macari.

 

Unfortunately, while play was relatively uneventful what really made the news on the night was the conduct of a large section of the Rangers followers in the Main Stand.

For practically the whole match, the Celtic official party in the directors’ box was subjected to insults.

Even though Rangers made a half-time appeal by loudspeaker and warned that action would be taken against them if they persisted, the chanting of obscenities continued in the second half.

 

The Morning of the Match

Guess what? Yes, you’ve worked it out! I was back into Parkhead on the morning of the match, doing another spot of training. The Boss came out to do a bit of watching and after while I was taking a short break, he told me what he hoped was going to happen. He explained that he wanted me back into the side as soon as possible and if that was the match against Falkirk due on Monday, then that would be great.

However…..isn’t it amazing that life always depends on a ‘however’…..I would only get my place in the team if I passed Neilly’s test on the afternoon of the match. And with that, he patted me on the back and made his way back up the tunnel.

I went back to my running…….

 

Later, when the rest of the guys came in, I was dressed and ready to take my part in the chat and laughter. They were all in good form, ready to take on the Pars in another big test of this great if stressful season. Unfortunately, on that day, my position would be once more a fan like any other, keen to support my team.

When the team was announced, there was still no sign of Jinky, so the threat of a full seven –day suspension was obviously being upheld. Yogi was brought on to the right wing, with Charlie inside him; Bertie was on the bench, and to cover for my absence, the Boss had reverted to Tam and Pumper.

 

The Opposition

Dunfermline were lying in 8th place in the table, with Hearts just below and Dundee Utd above. There was a gap of some 20 points between the opposing teams that afternoon so we should have been fairly confident about the outcome but we were also well aware that when teams came to Celtic Park, they invariably raised their game and we did not expect the Pars to be any different.

 

The Teams

Celtic:
Simpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Hughes, Gallagher Chalmers, Wallace, Lennox.
Sub: Auld

Dunfermline:
Martin, W Callaghan, Totten, Thomson, Fraser, Barry, Edwards, Kerrigan, Delaney, Ferguson, Robertson.
Sub: Paton

 

You will no doubt have noticed the presence of a future knight of the realm in the Pars forward line.

We got off to a whirlwind of a start, taking control of the play and putting the Pars defence under pressure. And we a got a quick reward for our efforts –

4 minutes….good work by Wispy out on the right, a nice cross into the middle and Stevie got his head to it for the opener. 1-0 Celtic

We continued to dominate but in a rare break, the Pars pulled level –

19 minutes…a shot by Delaney was deflected into the path of Ferguson, who prodded the ball home. 1-1

Again we had had most of the play and again we got a bit of luck.

21 Minutes….Lemon was pulled down in the penalty area – although the Pars fans were adamant that he ‘went’ down – and the referee awarded a penalty. Tam made no mistake from the spot. 2-1 Celtic

Just three minutes from the break, Stevie this time did the hard work out on the right and he driven cross was blasted in by Wispy.  3-1 Celtic

I did not go in but it would have been a happy dressing room at the interval. The Pars had been going well and for us to dominate in the way that we did – and get three goals – would surely have made the Boss happy. Still, he would have been telling all of them to keep it going.

And they did, once more dominating the match but were unable to add to the tally. Indeed, near the end it was the Pars who pulled one back –

87 minutes…..Alex Ferguson was allowed a free run on Ronnie and he knocked in another for the Pars.

Final Score Celtic  3  Dunfermline  2

 One worrying feature of the reporting was a comment in one of the popular dailies about the way the team was playing –

‘The more I see of Celtic these days the stronger becomes the impression that the strains of chasing domestic and European honours is having its effect. Certainly against Queen’s Park the previous week and again on Saturday, when they played their fiftieth match of the season, their defence was not all that it might have been’.

A good point, no doubt…..but then I had been sitting in the stand for past couple of matches.


A Move

The body of President John F Kennedy was transferred without ceremony from a temporary grave in Arlington National Cemetery to a permanent resting place a few yards away.

The new grave, a granite memorial, is on a hillside across the Potomac River from Washington.

The President’s body now lies nearer those of his two children who died before him – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy and  a stillborn infant.

 

Not Pleased

The Jewish community in Glasgow have taken exception to the production of the Passion play to be presented in the Kelvin Hall by players from Oberammergau.

Dr Cosgrove, leading Jewish divine, today called on the Lord Provost and discussed the production with him and with Bailie James F Reilly, convener of the Kelvin Hall committee.

In Manchester when the play was performed the Jewish community staged protests as they considered it reflected unfairly on them and did not conform to historical fact.

 

Delay

A Federal Court ordered a delay in the call-up of the world heavy-weight champion Cassius Clay – set for April 12 – until it decides on a new appeal against his conscription.

Judge James R Gordon set March 29 as the date for hearing a suit contending that Clay should not be called up because his draft board contains no negroes.

 

 Another Success

At the cost of a cut right eye and a swollen lip, Walter McGowan of Hamilton, the British and Empire bantam-weight champion, gained a hard points win over Asame Myashita of Japan last night at the World Sporting Club, London.

Panicked!

Three masked men armed with truncheons attacked an accountant when he arrived for work at a Glasgow bank.

They beat him around the head, tied him with rope, gagged him with sticking plaster…then panicked and left empty-handed.

Change of Occupation

Into Glasgow Airport today flew Bill Martin, composer of the Eurovision song ‘Puppet on a String’. Once an apprentice at Weir’s Cathcart, Bill is now a full-time songwriter with a long list of successes to his name. In a couple of weeks, he flies to Vienna for the Eurovision finals with Sandie Shaw, who will sing his song in the contest.