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20th January 1968: Hibs v Celtic – League

Shortly after the 2-2 draw with Rangers on 2nd January, the weather deteriorated badly, with most of Scotland suffering from snow and frost. This meant that training was difficult at both Barrowfield or the track at Parkhead, although after the incident with the pitchfork flying into the air, we were never asked to that running across the straw on the pitch again!

There was a bit of hope that the match on 6th January – against St Johnstone in Perth – might go ahead but on the Friday afternoon, the 5th January, news came down from Muirton Park that the referee had been called in and his verdict was that the match should be cancelled.

 

6th January

Some other games did go ahead –

Dunfermline 3 0 Motherwell
Hibs 3 0 Dundee United
Morton 2 0 Partick Thistle
Rangers 2 0 Falkirk

 

 

This left the league table looking as follows –

Team P W D L F A GAv Pts
1 Rangers 19 16 3 0 51 15 3.40 35
2 Celtic 18 14 3 1 52 17 3.06 31
3 Hibernian 19 11 3 5 38 22 1.73 25
4 Hearts 19 10 3 6 39 29 1.34 23

 


 

8th January

The draw for the 1st Round proper of the Scottish Cup was made and the big two both received home ties –

Rangers v Hamilton
Celtic v Dunfermline

 

10th January

Training was becoming monotonous, to be honest. Manager Jock Stein admitted that unless there was a big improvement in the weather, he could not see the game against Stirling Albion going ahead at Parkhead on the 13th.

 

12th January

Four First Division matches were already off – Aberdeen v Morton; Dundee United v Airdrie; Motherwell v Dundee; Kilmarnock v Dunfermline. There was an inspection at 4pm at Celtic Park but the referee only took a cursory look before cancelling the clash between Celtic and Stirling Albion.

 

13th January

Some matches did go ahead –

Falkirk 0 1 Clyde
Partick Thistle 1 2 Hibs
Hearts 2 3 Rangers

 

And this left the league table looking as follows –

Team P W D L F A GAv Pts
1 Rangers 20 17 3 0 54 17 3.18 37
2 Celtic 18 14 3 1 52 17 3.06 31

 

On the 14th and 15th, we trained as best we could, with the Boss trying to find us somewhere suitable. We eventually fell back on an old favourite…….

 

16th January

A squad of 16 players left for Seamill for a few days, normally for a bit of peace and quiet but on this occasion, that was broken up by a match against Morton, due at Cappielow. The pitch was in great condition that night considering the weather, the Morton guys gave us a good work-out and we ran out winners by four goals to three.

Then, it was back to Seamill for a couple of days before coming back up to Parkhead on the 18th.

 

19th January

Training as usual at Parkhead, just the light work-out we normally did on the day before a match. The news from all the grounds seemed to be positive, so we all went home in a positive frame of happy, happy that this Saturday might see us back our normal procedures. After all, as footballers, Saturday is usually a working day.


20th January 1968  Hibs v Celtic League – Report

 

Morning of the Match

Everyone reported at the appropriate time for the trip by coach to Edinburgh and the atmosphere was good, with all the boys in great form – except for me. The nausea that I had suffered from after the trip to South America had come back with a vengeance overnight and I just felt a trifle fragile that morning, if I was being honest.

Rather than phone in, I had come into the park early and explained to the medical team just how I felt. Surprisingly enough, there was some sympathy for me and when I caught sight of myself in the mirror, I could see why. I looked like death warmed up! It was decided that there was no chance of me performing that day, so I was packed off home just in case it was something I could pass on to the other players. To be honest, I was quite pleased. The prospect of taking part in a crucial match while feeling like that was just not on and I did not want to be in the position of letting anyone down.

So, as the squad headed for Edinburgh, I drove south-west, to my parent’s house.

 

The rest of the morning for the players apparently went OK. Lunch at the Norton Hotel just outside the city on the west side, then along Princes Street and down Leith Walk to Easter Road, the noise from the fans increasing as the bus got nearer to the ground. Then in though the front door, across the foyer to the tunnel and a walk out on to the pitch to check the conditions before returning to the dressing room to firstly find out the team then get ready for the fray.

The Teams

Hibs

Wilson
Duncan, Davis
Stanton, Madsen, McGraw
Marinello, Quinn, Stein, Cormack, Scott.
Sub: Cousin

Celtic

Simpson
Cattenach, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Lennox, Hughes.
Sub: Auld

 

The Play

One of the papers the next day mentioned that Celtic had rather upset one of Hibs’ regular ploys, that of winning the toss and shooting up the slope on the Easter Road pitch in the first half so they could shoot downhill in the second. We won the toss that day and opted to shoot up the hill, leaving Hibs to go in the opposite direction. And just after the start, things became even worse for the Hibees –

2 minute
a hard cross from Tam Gemmell hit Madsen on the leg, the ball ricocheted off then also hit Duncan on the leg before rolling over the line. 1-0 Celtic

Hibs gave everything they had but Celtic always seemed to be the more likely to score again and just before the 20 minute mark they did so…

19 minutes
corner by Jinky, header by Lennox.  2-0 Celtic

Unfortunately, just before half-time, came one of those ‘better forgotten’ moments. Right back Duncan was rather clumsily brought down from behind by Yogi and had to be stretchered off the field, his leg broken. Unfortunately, the incident provoked some trouble behind one of the goals and play was held up for four minutes.

After the break, Hibs found it difficult. Two goals down and shooting up the hill, things just did not come off for them and Celtic looked to be always in control. By the end, the home side looked well beaten and the Bhoys’ fans were delighted with the points.

Final Score  Hibs  0   Celtic  2

 

Other Results

Airdrie 4 1 Raith Rovers
Clyde 6 3 Hearts
Dundee 6 5 Kilmarnock
Dunfermline 4 2 Aberdeen
Morton 5 2 Dundee United
Rangers 2 0 Motherwell
St. Johnstone 0 1 Falkirk
Stirling Albion 2 1 Partick Thistle

 

Table

Team P W D L F A GAv Pts
1 Rangers 21 18 3 0 56 17 3.29 39
2 Celtic 19 15 3 1 54 17 3.18 33

 


At least 17 people died as a hurricane, the worst in memory, raged across Scotland.

9 were killed in Glasgow, where tenements were wrecked in a night of terror a police chief described as “worse than the blitz”.

2 died in Greenock, 2 in Edinburgh, one in Cambuslang, one in a crash at Bonhill, a man driving his expectant wife to hospital; a cyclist on the Kirkintilloch-Cumbernauld road; and a motor cyclist in Dumfriesshire.