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25th August 1965: The First League Match Approaches

What About the Brazilians?

As I mentioned in my previous article, there was one question that all the fans were asking those of us going in and out of Celtic Park at that time- “where are those Brazilians and when are we going to see them?”. Well, to be honest, I was quite interested in seeing them myself?

I was a part-timer in those days and the Brazilians trained with the full-timers, so I had to rely on the full-time guys in the reserves – John Kennedy, Jim Kennedy, Jim Brogan, Willie O’Neill and Charlie Gallagher – as to what they were like and what they were doing?

Well, first of all, there were four of them. Marco di Sousa and Ayrton Inacio were apparently free agents, who were waiting for permits from the football authorities to allow them to play. Jorge Fara and Fernando Consul, also awaiting permits, were still attached to clubs in Brazil, so Celtic would have to pay some form of transfer fee if they wanted to sign them.

According to the players I spoke to, all four had very limited English but as far they could make out, they seemed to be very pleasant and sociable guys. And the one thing that did stick out was that they were all very talented players!

 

The Next Fixture

The next game was the opening League fixture of the season – on 25th August 1965 – and ironically, it was against Dundee United, to whom Celtic had lost 1-2 in the first League Cup tie of the season. As you can imagine, with two losses already, everyone with Celtic’s interests at heart was slightly worried, none more so, I imagine, than the manager and his backroom staff.

In his press conference the day before the game, Jock Stein was non-committal; “we have one or two players with knocks. If, as I hope, all players are fit, don’t look for any panic changes”. He also mentioned that he would not announce a team until they arrived at Tannadice.

 

The New Freeman

Yehudi Menuhin, the world-famous violinist, who first played in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh in short trousers, returned to Scotland’s capital yesterday to be made a Freeman of the city.

 

An Old ‘Bhoy’ Has a Message for the Fans

Ex-Celtic star Charlie Tully, who in those days had a column in one of the daily newspapers, was as disappointed as every other Celtic fans with the team’s form. But he also had a message – indeed, a very obvious one – for the supporters in the headline for the column

Cheer on the Boys Now, Fans

 

A Lord Shows His Disapproval

‘Football hooliganism was roundly condemned today by Lord Kilbrandon. The judge, who is Chairman of the Committee on Children and Young Persons (Scotland) said “Every weekend our cities are made hideous by drunken hooligans in the name of football. For the most part, they are the parents of small children”.

 

The First of Many

Since Jock Stein arrived, the training at night had become much more interesting. We still were expected to do the lapping and running but we also did much more work with a ball on the grassy area behind the east terracing. And the coaching staff had increased. We were still under the guidance of Alec Boden and John Higgins but Willie Fernie was also coming in for the occasional session. By that time, he was in his late 30s but he could still run around and control a ball!  I’m sorry to say I thought he was quite old!

During that summer, as I mentioned before, I had not gone on holiday but took advantage of the month off from the Dental Hospital to attend the pre-season training with the rest of the full-timers, so I had got to know them quite well.

There was a reserve match on this day in 1965 (24th August) – the second team game going ahead the day before the first ream match – and it was a special occasion for me. Eventually, I would go on to play 231 games for Celtic and in the vast majority of these, Jimmy Johnstone was on the wing just in front of me. Well, in this particular reserve match – on 24th August 1965, against Dundee United at Celtic Park – we teamed up for the first time in a side of John Kennedy, myself, Frank McCarron, Jim Brogan, John Cushley, Willie O’Neill, Jimmy Johnstone, George Connelly, Jimmy Quinn, Gerry Sweeney and Tony Taylor.

I can recall that before the match, Jimmy had been very chatty. He called me ‘son’ a couple of times (I checked up on that later; I was the older, by 18 months!) and the banter between him and his pal Willie O’Neill –or ‘Pumper’ as he was known – was funny and help break any tension in the dressing-room. This might seem a strange thing to say of a reserve match but don’t forget that all of the eleven players were desperate to get into the first team and they were well aware that this was an opportunity to show those watching what they could do – which on a night like this would comprise the manager and his staff.

Anyway, we all rose to the occasion and beat the Terrors 4-1. We were very pleased to see that the Boss had stayed right to the end, as he came into the dressing-room afterwards to congratulate us, going out of his way, perhaps, to boost Jimmy Johnstone, who had been excellent on the night. It reinforced my belief that Jimmy had been dropped from the first team to give him a shake, as with a performance like that on that evening, it would be hard not to play him in any team.

As for the rest of the regulars in the reserve side, we were quite chuffed, as it continued our unbeaten record since the start of the season. And possibly even better than a pat on the back from the Boss, when we went out into the car park, the regular reserve team supporters were equally complimentary on our performance. The perfect ending to a great night!

 

A Great Day for the Punters

Bookmakers paid out thousands of pounds on the wrong ‘winner’ at Lingfield Park yesterday and they expect to write off the money as a complete loss.

The 7-4 favourite Sea Leopard passed the post one-and-a-half lengths clear and the bookmakers paid out. Then news came through that the jockey had failed to weigh in after the race, Sea Leopard was disqualified and the second-placed horse was moved up. But by that time, the lucky punters had picked up their winnings, leaving the bookies very annoyed.