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1st January 1966: Clyde v Celtic – Part Two

The Night Before

Hogmanay has always been a big night in Scotland’s social scene. The streets were busy until the ‘wee sma’ ‘oors’ with folk ‘first-footin’ friends and neighbours; and the lights still on show in most houses showed that many people were still up celebrating the New Year until dawn arrived.

However, for footballers, especially ones who were playing the following day, a less frenetic evening and night was the norm, with nary a drop of the hard stuff crossing their lips.

That, at least, was what happened in my parents’ house on the night before the New Years Day match against Clyde in 1966. And, for a change, it was Dad who took control, giving me a wee quiet word about 11.30pm that he felt 12 midnight would be enough for me. So, just after the bells struck and we heard the ships on the Clyde blow their horns, I headed for my room.

 

The Morning of the Match

I had a long lie on the day of the match, shaved and bathed, put my clothes on, then came down to breakfast, which, because of the relative lateness of the hour, also doubled as pre-match meal. This time round, it amounted to a large plate of cornflakes followed by scrambled eggs on toast.

At this time, I did not have a car, so had to rely on friends and neighbours. This particular day, I got a run into the City Centre but then took a bus out to Celtic Park, where everyone was in joyful mood. It was amazing! Everyone was shaking hands and offering ‘Happy New Year’ greetings. The previous week, everyone had been in a similar mood for Christmas and what a great result we had enjoyed. Could we put a gloss on these New Year celebrations by beating Clyde over at Shawfield? We would soon know!

 

Shawfield

Clyde’s ground was an unusual one. For one thing, the stadium was owned by the Shawfield Greyhound Racing Company and Clyde were merely tenants. And it looked like a greyhound stadium, with a massive Tote board dominating one end, lights and a track separated the terraces from the football pitch, while betting booths, social clubs and restaurants were just a mere viewing distance of the track.

 

Stein’s Selection

John Hughes and Charlie Gallagher were suffering from slight leg tightness so the Boss, with a match against Rangers coming up two days later, decided to rest both of them, bringing in Bertie Auld and Bobby Lennox in their place. The defence was the same one as the previous week – Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley and Clark.

 

The Match

On a heavy – and muddy – pitch, Celtic wet out to take control but were shocked in the first few minutes;

‘Almost casually Celtic took the offensive from the start but their teeth were rattled in their heads after only four minutes when [inside-left] Stewart, certainly the most distinguished player of the first half, slipped a pass through a gap for [inside-right] Bryce to run on to, step round Simpson and score. From then on, Simpson had only three more shots with which to concern himself. While he, like a lonely sentry, patrolled his goal-line in rain-swept isolation, Wright performed all manner of heroics on the last line of Clyde’s defence’.

A goal, though, refused to come and in spite of some serious effort by the whole side – and I can personally certify to the workload that was put in – the Celtic section of the crowd of 20,000 was beginning to show some disapproval with our efforts. Seven minutes from the interval, however, we made them more happy ;-

‘In 38 minutes, Wright could only push Auld’s corner kick on to McBride’s head and that was the equalising goal. A minute later, Murdoch initiated the second goal, switching the direction of play with a long cross-field pass to Auld, whose knee-high centre McBride dived at and glanced home with his head. Celtic’s collective sigh of relief at these rewards for their collective pressure could almost be heard’.

We continued to dominate and Wright had some good saves to make but eventually the pressure told;-

‘It was not till 10 minutes from the end that Celtic put themselves beyond reach. Gemmell sent Chalmers away down the left and his low cross spun to the feet of Lennox, who eased the ball over the line’.

 

The Reaction

It was a very happy dressing-room afterwards. After such a big win over Morton the previous week, there was always the possibility of a drop in level of performance for the next match. Thankfully, that did not happen and the boys were pleased with the way the match had turned out and even the Boss admitted to the press that it had been a good performance in the muddy conditions.

 

Press Comment

The headlines told the story –

Celtic’s Strength Tells   : Celts Too Strong for Bully Wee  

 

Crucial Points

 

The Last Word

Happy as he was, Jock Stein was also a man who looked to the next challenge and that was another league match, this time against Rangers, only two days hence. So, his final words to the guys as he left the dressing room were ones of admonition; firstly, we were warned to behave ourselves that night and get to bed early and secondly, to make sure that we were not late for training on the Sunday morning at Parkhead.


 

A Game from the Past…and a Moment to Remember

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

 

A Game from the Past….inside-right Jimmy Boyle should have made his first-team debut against St Mirren on 27th December 1890 but although Celtic won and Jimmy scored, the match was declared a friendly because of the frosty pitch. On 3rd January 1891, it happened again, with the state of the surface declaring void Celtic’s win over Cowlairs, when Jimmy scored again. So, his official debut was in the 1-3 loss to Vale of Leven in a league match at Alexandria on 24th January 1891.

 

And a Moment to Remember……Jimmy played 9 times for Celtic in league matches but also won a Glasgow Cup medal on 14th February 1891 at Hampden, when Celtic beat Third Lanark 4-0 at Hampden and took one of the ‘big’ trophies back to Parkhead for the first time.

Jimmy went on to play for Clyde and then Arsenal, captaining the Gunners when they played a friendly against Celtic at Manor Field, Plumstead on 15th February 1897.


Warning Signs

From today, in the USA, all cigarette packs have to carry the sign : ‘Caution – cigarette smoking my be hazardous to your health’.

Possible New Governor

In Los Angeles, actor Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for the role of Governor of California.

Celtic Getting Tough

Celtic Football Club put out a warning that any supporter who dares to encroach on to the field on Monday, when they play Rangers, will be ejected from the ground immediately.