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21st March 1966: Partick Thistle v Celtic – Part Two

Worry

I was getting worried on several fronts at that time. In the first place, I was taking too much time off my studies. Unlike other courses, where you have only to attend lectures, as a student dentist I had to see quite a number of patients and, as I have mentioned before, the collective total in points awarded for treating those patients – the various sums awarded for different types of fillings, or crowns or dentures or scalings and so on – had to reach a certain figure or otherwise I would not be allowed to sit my finals.

I would be allowed to do so once that vital figure was reached – even it that was the following year -but as I had been in the same company as the 51 other guys and gals in my class for the previous five years, I was quite keen to finish at the same time as they would.

Unfortunately, at that time, there was too many distractions taking me away from my studies and there was another example that Monday, when, just before I left for the Dental Hospital, I got a phone call from Celtic Park, Bob Rooney asking me if I could come in that morning for a look at the ankle.

“You are kidding me!” I wanted to scream down the phone but I remained calm and said I would be there, then made a detour to the Dental Hospital to cancel a number of my patients for that day, which meant that there would be ‘nul points’ (as they love to say in the Eurovision Song Contest ) added to my total that particular morning and afternoon.

The Fitness Test

Neilly gave me a talking to before we started the test. He pulled me to one side so no one could hear and said “Jim, I don’t think you are going to be right to play. No matter what anyone else says, you have to be tough with yourself. If there is the slightest doubt that the ankle will not stand up to a match, don’t play. OK”

I nodded a replay then went on to the track. Unfortunately, even with normal runs and before we got to the twists and turns, I knew it wasn’t right. I did not have to say anything ; Neilly could see it for himself. And when we got to the dressing room and I took the ankle strapping off, he whispered “for God’s sake, why did you even think you could play?” And I must admit, the area did look awful, all black and blue. But, as I have already mentioned, I was trying to cement my place in the side, so I was unwilling to admit that the injury was pulling me down.

After a shower, the Boss came in to see me. “I hear it looks bad, Jim” he said, “just go home and rest; we’ll see you in the morning”.

So, that was me messed up again. Not only would I miss out on my afternoon patients, the following morning’s classes would have to be taken out as well. The receptionists at the Hospital were all lovely girls but I suspect that deep down, they were getting heartily fed up with me! Anyway, home it was, where I just curled up in a couch and fell off to sleep, while the rest of the guys went through the ritual of pre-match meal and a trip over to Firhill.

 

The Play

As I obviously was not there, I can only give some details from the reports in the press the following day, when the headlines were ;-

Celtic Draw With Partick Thistle

 

Auld Equalises Only Five Minutes from End

 

‘Celtic, odds-on favourites at Firhill Park, were somewhat lucky to escape with a point after a thrilling game in which Partick Thistle astonished friend and foe with a exhilarating display which belied their lowly position in the league’.

It seemed that hardly a moment in the first half-hour did not have an incident which excited the crowd, as the ball went from end to end, with both goals having remarkable escapes.

‘Between the 36th and 37th minutes the crowd were in a ferment as first Lennox, fastening on to a long pass from McNeill, opened the scoring and then Duncan, profiting from hesitancy in Celtic’s defence, equalized’.

And 1-1 was the score at the interval. If the crowd thought that the second half could hardly live up to the first for excitement, then they were to be surprised, as after the interval, the exchanges were even faster and mainly to Thistle’s advantage.

‘On the hour, just after left-back Muir had kicked off the goal-line a shot by McBride, Roxburgh stole up the left wing and when he crossed, striker Kilpatrick headed a neat goal’

 

You can imagine what a shock that was to the Celtic contingent in the crowd and like good fans, they got to work and urged the guys on. However, the Jags refused to buckle and as the half went on, the play was still swinging from end to end.

‘Thistle looked capable of holding on to their lead but five minutes from the end Celtic equalized. What appeared to be an act of desperation, the switching of Johnstone and Chalmers, turned out to be a move which enabled Celtic to draw level. As Chalmers crossed there was for once indecision in Partick’s defence and Auld prodded the ball past Niven from close range.

After the game some would have it that Celtic were not at their best, as indeed they were not, as far as accurate shooting was concerned but it would be much truer to say that they played no better than an effervescent Thistle team allowed them to play’.

 

Press Reaction

Every paper had been impressed by the contest and the Thistle players were given a lot of praise for their performance on the night. This headline was typical-

Celtic Held in Firhill Thriller

 

My Feelings

When you are part of a side and you sit out a match for any reason, you always want your side to win but you are not too unhappy to see them play a little below par. That is a normal reaction and can be applied to not only sport but business matters as well. So, you can imagine how I felt about this match. Celtic did not lose but obviously did not play all that well; just what my morale needed at that point as I began the trek back to full fitness again. I was already ruled out of the semi-final in the Cup-Winner’s Cup but there was a semi-final of the Scottish Cup coming up and I wanted to be in contention for a place in the team involved in that plus make my mark in the run-in to the league title. If that meant going through some tough sessions on the track and in the gym, then so be it. Glory does not come easy!

 

Good News

While Celtic were struggling against Partick Thistle, Rangers had travelled to Tannadice, where they had faced Dundee United, in 5th place in the table. In something of a surprise, the Tangerines won 1-0, which left the league table looking like at the end of the night ; –

P          W        D         L          F            A         Pts

Celtic               27        21        4          2          91            25        44

Rangers           27        18        4          5          74            26        41

Kilmarnock     28        17        8          3          65            39        37

Dunfermline    27        16        8          3          64            37        35

 


 

 

A Game from the Past…..and a Moment to Remember

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

 

A Game from the Past…….inside-right Dan Shea (born on an important day in Celtic’s history – 6th November 1887) was a star of his time in England, where he had made his name at West Ham from1907 before moving on to Blackburn in 1912 for a reputed £2000 transfer fee and £20 per match, both huge sums for the time. Towards the end of the First World War, Dan became a bit peripatetic, having loan spells at Birmingham (January 1918), Fulham (April 1918) and Nottingham Forest (1919).

In between, he came up to Celtic, making his debut – and his only appearance – against Clyde in a League match at Parkhead on 2nd January 1919.

And a Moment to Remember……..Dan won the Victory Shield with Nottingham Forest against Everton in 1919, then continued his travels, West Ham (May 1920), Fulham (Dec 1920), Coventry (summer 1923), Clapton Orient (Feb 1925) and Sheppey United (October 1926) before going to Switzerland to take up the role of coach with Winterthur in Zurich in 1928.

 


 

Strange

In one of the more well-known UFO incidents of the 1960s, 87 students at a women’s dormitory at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, along with the county Civil Defence director William E. Van Horn, observed a bright glowing object in the sky that momentarily touched down at a nearby field before departing again.

 

On the Box

Israel began its first TV broadcasts. By 1966, there were more than 40,000 TV sets in Israel but the programmes had all come from Jordan.

 

Up the Eigar

Five members of an international Alpine climbing team – one of whom was a Scot from Edinburgh, Dougal Haston – became the first mountain climbers to complete the 6,000 climb up the vertical wall of the North Face of the Eigar in Switzerland