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23rd April 1966: Scottish Cup Final Celtic v Rangers – Part One

Coming Home

Losing to Liverpool was a shattering blow. It did not matter whether one team or another was the better side, we were out! Certainly, the referee’s choice to deny Bobby Lennox a goal due to a debatable offside decision by a linesman was heartbreaking for every Celtic fan. From where I was sitting, it certainly looked onside but I must also admit that I was not in line with the ball.

Nowadays, when that particular incident is mentioned, people tend to say that it wouldn’t happen today. Unfortunately, that is not true. It still does occur today. The problem is that a referee naturally has difficulty in keeping up with play all the time and there are occasions when he has to rely on the eyesight, position and reactions of his linesmen. And human nature dictates that they cannot get their decisions right all the time.

Whatever the reason, it was a real punch to the guts and while the team, much to their credit, shook hands with the victorious Liverpool players, deep down they must have felt like kicking the referee and one particular linesman.

As you might imagine, when those of us who had watched the proceedings from the stand opposite the main stand eventually fought our way through the crowds and arrived back in the dressing-room, it was like a morgue, players showering and getting dressed in complete silence, with Neilly, Bob and Steeley trying vainly to lift the mood.

After the match, the bus was waiting outside the ground to take us to the station for the journey home to Glasgow. It was still a very subdued atmosphere, although the hordes of celebrating Reds fans round the bus made up for it.

In the station, a special room had been laid aside for us to get a bite to eat and after that, we boarded the train, had an uneventful journey and arrived back in Glasgow in the early hours of the morning, when another bus took us all back to Parkhead, where we could pick up our cars for the trip home.

 

Another Match….and One I Did Not Particularly Want

While the rest of the players were told to report to Celtic Park for a light work-out on the afternoon of that day – a Wednesday – I had a talk with the Boss just after the meal in the station and he asked me to play in the reserve match that night at Kilmarnock. So, I went home for a few hours to catch up on some sleep, reported to the Dental Hospital to see a couple of patients then headed for Parkhead to join up with the guys and catch the bus down to Rugby Park.

The team that ran out was
Bent Martin, me, Frank McCarron, John Cushley, John Halpin, Davie Cattenach, Jim Brogan, Willie O’Neill, Charlie Gallagher, Jimmy Quinn and Henry Quinn ;
we won 3-2 ; and the goals came from Brogie (pen), Catt and Pumper (Willie O’Neill).

 

What the Press Said

‘Celtic are out of the European Cup-Winners’ tournament but what a fright and a fight they gave Liverpool, who now meet Borussia Dortmund of West Germany in the final at Hampden.

It was certainly never ‘easy, easy’ as the chants coming from the Kop at the end of the game indicated.

I thought it was a great game – much better than the first leg at Parkhead and marred only by the ugly incident at the end when irate Celtic fans behind the Liverpool goal hurled bottles and came on to the field when a Lennox goal was chalked off for offside’.

 

After Match Comments

Bill Shankly

We played more like it tonight…..This was our best display for several weeks

Bob Kelly

We didn’t lose this tie at Anfield…we lost it at Parkhead when we missed some easy chances

Jock Stein

Lennox’s goal was a good one… and it was no foul when Hughes tackled Smith, the incident which led to Liverpool’s first goal.

Ron Yeats

Celtic gave us a much harder game than I thought they would.

Billy McNeill

We were very unlucky at the first goal…Smith’s shot struck John Clark on the ankle and was deflected into the corner of the net

Bertie Auld

I thought Bobby Lennox was several yards on-side when he ran through to score…but Liverpool are a good side.

 

1966ScottishCupFinal.RedThere Are No Anfield Blues at Parkhead

Celtic manager Jock Stein denied yesterday that his players were jaded and dispirited after their defeat at Liverpool and would possibly be ill-prepared mentally for the cup final against Rangers at Hampden on Saturday.

“To say that being beaten on Tuesday would upset the morale of the squad is just rubbish” Stein said “Why should we be? Over the two games Celtic had as much of the play as Liverpool. The players are in good spirits and it looks as though they are all going to be fit”

 

 

 

 

Teams

While there was no word from Jock Stein on his team selection, Rangers announced that their team would be chosen from a pool of 14 players;

Ritchie, Johansen, Provan, Greig, McKinnon, Miller, Henderson, Sorensen, Forrest, Johnston, Wilson, Watson, Willoughby and McLean.

And Rangers kept up their challenge for the league title with a 2-1 win over Motherwell at Ibrox. That left the top of the table looking as follows;-

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 31 24 3 4 101 29 51
Rangers 32 23 5 4 85 28 51

 

Rangers had two matches left – Dunfermline (A), Clyde (H) – while Celtic had three remaining – Dunfermline (H), Morton (A) and Motherwell (A).

 

Fixture Date

Celtic and Dunfermline had arranged to play their remaining fixture on Monday 2nd May. On the same night, a Scotland X1 will play Leicester City in England – so no Celtic or Pars players will be considered for the Scottish team.

Out

Pat Crerand was ordered off in the 65th minute as Manchester United crashed out of the European Cup to Partizan Belgrade, the Slavs losing the second leg at Old Trafford 0-1 but winning the tie on a 2-1 aggregate score to go through to the final.


Question.

Last time, I asked which world heavyweight boxing champion had signed for Liverpool. The answer was Joe Louis, who, on 4th July 1944, signed the appropriate registration form for Liverpool, much to the disgust of Everton fans, who were also keen for the Champ to sign for them

After Joe had signed the appropriate papers and did some training with the Liverpool squad, the form was not registered. Instead, it was framed and hung up in the Boardroom at Anfield.

This time, the question is about that list of Rangers players above. 13 of them always referred to me as ‘Jim’; one of them always called me ‘Cairney’. Which one?


Union

Actress Sophia Loren and producer Carlo Ponti were secretly married ten days ago in the Paris suburb of Sevres, the Mayor of Sevres announced yesterday.

Expecting Trouble?

Strong precautions to deal with any rowdyism at Saturday’s Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden are being taken by police.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary will form a special escort of 15 officers for the 300 Old Firm fans expected to travel from Belfast on the steamer Royal Ulsterman.

 

Water, water everywhere!

University student George Wheeler drank 62 cups of tea in 30 minutes at Auckland, New Zealand and claimed a world record.