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19 July 1967: Blistering Paces!

19th July 1967

Chris Shevlane – New Bhoy

There were several areas in their bodies where players felt the problems of pre-season training. For those who had not done anything at all during the summer, there were blisters to contend with and these could come along at any time. In fact, in my own case, I could be three-quarters of the way though a season and still suffer from a breaking up of the skin round my toes. I can still recall the voice of Bob Rooney, as he blasted out “how the hell can your feet still be blistering when it’s nearly May?”

The answer was I did not know why but just had to put up with the discomfort – and the nagging!

The other problem that everyone suffered from was the damage to the muscles of the anterior thigh. Even if a player did keep himself in shape during the close season, these particular muscles – the quadriceps – were only really given a workout during shooting practice and few did that during the summer. So, when we did start doing those particular sessions, we went at them at full tilt right from the start and the muscles did get a real working out.

The end result was that the quadriceps were extremely tender at that time and trying to lower oneself on to a chair could be quite a feat. Lowering oneself on to a toilet seat was even more troublesome and on more than one occasion, alarmed by the noise, my lovely Mum banged on the door of the bathroom to see if I was all right. By that time – since I was by then sitting on the toilet seat – everything was OK. It was the drop down from the vertical to the seated position that caused all the problems….and the noise!

Another aspect of training around this time that I can still vividly recall was the sheer happiness around the club. After all, we had won every trophy that we entered for in the previous season and finished the campaign with a great showing against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. So, in a sense, why shouldn’t we all he happy?

And yet, as I walked up to Barrowfield one morning in the company of a member of the first-team pool who had not made the eleven who won in Lisbon, I was given a different insight into the feelings of other players at that time. This guy was really delighted that his team – Celtic – had had all that success – but he was also sad that, as he put it it –‘Everyone will always remember the eleven guys who won the cup on the day but those of us who played a part in the earlier rounds will be forgotten!’.

In the years since, I have often recalled those words and as time went by, recognised the truth in the statement. Through those years, I have always been careful to refer to the Lisbon Lions as a pool of players, eleven of whom were lucky enough to make the team in Lisbon. Truly, it must have been very difficult to go through one’s life in the position of that particular player; as an essential member of a very small group of successful players but not one of those who actually played on the big day.


 

On the previous day, our major rival in Glasgow took the main headline –

Rangers are Back In Active Business

‘This morning the players who hope to oust Celtic from the role of top club in Scotland reported to Ibrox Park to meet new assistant manager Davie White, the former Clyde manager and then don their training strips.

This season Rangers will play in the Fairs Cities’ Cup for the first time.

They hope to win entry to either the European Cup or the European Cup Winners’ Cup in season 1968-69 by winning either the Scottish League Championship or the Scottish Cup – both won by Celtic in their clean sweep of the football honours of Scotland in the past season.

Rangers have not made any close-season captures so far but manager Scot Symon is expected to do so before the new season. The names of Orjan Persson of Dundee United and Bobby Hope of West Bromwich Albion have been put forward’.

 


 

Chris Shevlane, the former Hearts full back who joined Celtic last month after being released by the Edinburgh club because of ankle trouble, has stood up to everything asked of him at training this week.

 

And the only other newcomer in Celtic’s full-time staff since last season has been Pat MacMahon, the Kilsyth Rangers inside forward, who Celtic expect to break through quickly into their first team pool.