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21st August 1965 – The 3rd League Cup Match

After one defeat and one win, the players knew how important the third tie of the sectional matches – against Dundee at Parkhead – would be to Celtic’s chances. Jock Stein certainly was well aware of the situation, as his comments to the press were very guarded, a sure sign that a manager is uncertain about the outcome of a particular contest.

And being a Scot – and a sporting man – he would also have been disappointed by the headlines in the sports press that morning ;-

 

 CUT     ENDS   MCGOWAN’S   GLORY   NIGHT

 ‘Walter McGowan was sensationally stopped in the 6th round of his fight against American Ronnie Jones at Paisley Ice Rink last night. A severe cut over one of his eyes was deemed to be too serious for him to continue’.

 

At Parkhead on the afternoon of 21st August, a Saturday, 34,000 turned up to see the action and the Celtic fans making up the vast majority of those present were delighted when the name of Joe McBride was read out in the side of;

Fallon, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Divers, McBride, Lennox and Auld.

Unfortunately, Joe’s presence did little to improve Celtic’s form. And a future Celt in Stevie Murray was in the Dundee side which, it would be fair to say, put in a real shift to come up with one of the surprises of the season thus far, goals by Kenny Cameron in 68 and 73 minutes giving the Dark Blues a 2-0 victory.

 

 Celtic had their troubles, but The Fortunes were cashing in on theirs. Their rendition of You’ve Got Your Troubles was at #4 in the charts. Also apropos our on-field difficulties, the Beatles were still at #1 with Help!

NASA also launched Gemini 5 into Earth orbit with 2 astronauts on board as the USA’s Mission Moon ramped up another gear.

On the following Monday, in the Dundee Courier, in the column written by Tommy Gallagher, ex-Dundee star and son of Patsy, the comments were naturally slanted towards the local side;

 

NOW   IT   COULD   BE   A   DECIDER   AT   TANNADICE

…..from near hopeless to quite hopeful. This what that 2-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead has done for Dundee’s qualifying chances.

 

However, there was also a message for the Celtic fans;

‘Having seen Celtic twice in the first week of the season, I have arrived at a definite conclusion. Celtic manager Jock Stein faces a totally different problem at Parkhead than he did at either East End Park or Easter Road. At both of those grounds, he had to re-organise the team and change the way it was playing ; in other words, major re-construction. At Parkhead, the basis is there and it just needs some tinkering’.

 

In the article, there was also an indication of how disappointed the home fan were with what they were witnessing on the pitch;

 

‘On Saturday, the biggest handclap from the Celtic support was reserved for the police. This came after Dundee scored the two goals and the police were cheered when they hauled four little troublemakers from the crowd and had them evicted’.

 

Whether the side needed tinkering or not, the results were not what anyone wanted. Two defeats in three matches, two goals scored and four lost; that was certainly not the form of a successful side. In spite of anything he said at the time, the Boss would have been a worried man and behind the scenes, he would have been asking those in charge of the reserve side if anyone was showing up well.

 

To be honest, we were all showing up well as we picked up our third consecutive win, this time at Dens Park by three goals to one. The team on the afternoon was John Kennedy, myself, Jim Kennedy, Jim Brogan, John Cushley, Willie O’Neill, George Connelly, Charlie Gallagher, Jimmy Quinn, Gerry Sweeney and Tony Taylor.

 

It was a very happy squad of players who boarded the bus for the trip back to Celtic Park and of course, we made the obligatory stop at the fish-and –chip shop in Auchterarder for some sustenance on the way. When we arrived at Parkhead, full of cheer after our good day, we were brought back down to earth by the handful of fans still outside the ground, going on about the performance of the first team that afternoon. And then came the question that everyone was asking every single player at that time – “When are we going to see these Brazilians?”

When, indeed?