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26th August 1967: Dundee United v Celtic – League Cup

23rd August
Those who had played the previous evening against the Jags got a day off, those not involved took part in quite a strenuous training session. Sometimes, it seemed that we were being punished for something we had done…or even hadn’t done, as the case may be.
Although I had not taken part in the match against Thistle, it did mark a specific moment in the progress of the season, at least for me. Players come in for pre-season training and even if they had done a little to keep their fitness up during the summer break, it does take a little while to reach the proper level and then a   .   further period before you get to what I always called ‘true match fitness’. This is when you know that you are truly ready for any match in any arena. You could play several times in a week and a short rest would myýake you feel 100% again.
I had reached that stage that week and just knew that for the rest of the season, my fitness would not let me down, although there costill be setbacks as regards injury.

Anyway the evening press was pretty complimentary about the performance the previous evening against the Jags. Under the rather complicated heading;

​Stein Machine’s Quality ‘Spares’

……….the journalist gave full marks to all the new boys, being particularly effusive in his praise of Pat McMahon, who had only recently joined us from Kilsyth Rangers.

 24th AUGUST    
The whole squad back at training. In the press that evening, one man gathered all the headlines –

​Hughes Back on Road to Fitness

Yogi had picked up an ankle knock while playing in the Reserve League Cup tie against Rangers the previous week and the wound had re quired eight stitches. Today, the stitches were taken out and the report said that he would again be available for selection. Frankly, I would have doubted that. The sutures might have come out but the wound would still be there and at quite a delicate stage. Another kick on the same site and you could have further problems, so I, for one, was not expecting to see John back for a week or two.

25th August
Five Rangers players were listed in the Scottish League team to face the Irish League at Windsor Park, Belfast on 6th September.
No players from Celtic were included as Celtic had an important friendly against Penarol of Uruguay booked for 5th September; and there were also none included from Aberdeen, as the Dons were due to play Reykjavik in a first round tie in the European Cup Winners’ Cup on 6th September.
The team chosen was McCloy ( Motherwell), Wilson (Dundee), Provan (Rangers), Stanton (Hibs), McKinnon (Rangers), Greig (Rangers), McLean ( Kilmarnock), Penman (Rangers), Ferguson (Rangers), Cormack (Hibs), and Duncan (Partick Thistle).

We were facing Dundee United at Tannadice on the morrow but the Boss had said little about the match or the team to take part. He did mention the fact, as had done before the first League Cup clash of the campaign between the sides on 12th August, that the Terrors had been difficult opponents the previous season. As if we were not aware of that, with everyone constantly reminding us of it!
Anyway, it was only a brief mention, for which we were all grateful and then we set off home, to pass the Friday evening in our own ways.

And just as I was making my way from the dressing-room to the front door, who did I see but Stevie Chalmers sitting on the couch in the treatment room, with Bob, Neilly, Sean and the Boss all in attendance. Did that not make it look serious?

However, if you bought a copy of one of Glasgow’s evening papers that night, every Celtic fan would again be reminded of what dangers would be a-waiting us at Tannadice. Under the heading –

Vital One for Celtic

‘Dundee United have the habit of reserving something for Celtic – don’t forget they beat them twice last season in the league. They can also score goals galore on their own ground, as witness the five that flew into the Dons net nine days ago’.

They were certainly pushing United’s chances but we were really up for it ourselves.

At the bottom of the back page, there was a mention of a future starring Celt. It said;

‘Kenny Dalglish, the Cumbernauld United inside-right who is destined for Celtic, will be in action for United tomorrow in a Central League game versus Benburb’.

 

Dalglish – New Town duty

 

 

 


Morning of the Match
We all reported mid-morning at Celtic Park and boarded one of the Cotter’s buses for the trip to Dundee, the city known as the home of jute, jam and journalism.

The Cotter’s buses were all decked out in a easily-recognisable colour scheme of orange and black, a choice which Bernard Cotter, the firm’s founder, had noticed somewhere on the Continent. It seemed to him that these colours were easily noticed, so he decided to deck out his buses back in Glasgow with the same. Round the top on each side of the bus were the names of places on the Continent that the firm had travelled to – Paris, Rome, Geneva, Madrid, Amsterdam etc. and these names once provided me with an amusing interlude.

In one week when we did not have a mid-week match, a ‘bounce’ game had been organised against Tranent Juniors, near Edinburgh. The Celtic team was made up of first team guys who perhaps needed a bit of action rather than training plus boys from the reserve squad. Promising players from the junior ranks – playing under the name of ‘Newman’, ‘Trialist’ or ‘A.N.Other’ – were also often given a chance to show what they could do.

On that night, the centre-forward was in the latter category and after the match, when I was making my way out to the bus, I found him standing there, gazing up at the names on the side. “Are you OK?”, I asked. “I’m fine, Jim” he replied, “I was just thinking about something. Just look at the names up there – Stockholm, Copenhagen, Vienna, Milan and so on. And now – Tranent!”

And with that he burst out laughing and boarded the bus.

On the way to Dundee, we normally stopped at the Station Hotel in Perth for lunch and that day was no different. At that time, the whole squad was very conventional and nearly everyone chose between steak, chicken or scrambled eggs. In a later generation, I can recall a peaches with cornflakes and a Weetabix with something or other on top but they were in the future. Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy the food provided and the bus soon got underway again and headed for Tannadice.

We had met some supporters in the Station Hotel and they were slightly pessimistic about our chances, much of the talk about how much of a ‘bogey’ team United were to us. And we found that when we came off the bus outside the stadium, that same word was being mentioned – and even shouted – by quite a number of fans. The Boss must have heard it too and he was quick to tell us to ‘forget that nonsense’.

Morning of the Match
We all reported mid-morning at Celtic Park and boarded one of the Cotter’s buses for the trip to Dundee, the city known as the home of jute, jam and journalism.
The Cotter’s buses were all decked out in a easily-recognisable colour scheme of orange and black, a choice which Bernard Cotter, the firm’s founder, had noticed somewhere on the Continent. It seemed to him that these colours were easily noticed, so he decided to deck out his buses back in Glasgow with the same. Round the top on each side of the bus were the names of places on the Continent that the firm had travelled to – Paris, Rome, Geneva, Madrid, Amsterdam etc. and these names once provided me with an amusing interlude.
In one week when we did not have a mid-week match, a ‘bounce’ game had been organised against Tranent Juniors, near Edinburgh. The Celtic team was made up of first team guys who perhaps needed a bit of action rather than training plus boys from the reserve squad. Promising players from the junior ranks – playing under the name of ‘Newman’, ‘Trialist’ or ‘A.N.Other’ – were also often given a chance to show what they could do.
On that night, the centre-forward was in the latter category and after the match, when I was making my way out to the bus, I found him standing there, gazing up at the names on the side. “Are you OK?”, I asked. “I’m fine, Jim” he replied, “I was just thinking about something. Just look at the names up there – Stockholm, Copenhagen, Vienna, Milan and so on. And now – Tranent!” And with that he burst out laughing and boarded the bus.

On the way to Dundee, we normally stopped at the Station Hotel in Perth for lunch and that day was no different. At that time, the whole squad was very conventional and nearly everyone chose between steak, chicken or scrambled eggs. In a later generation, I can recall a peaches with cornflakes and a Weetabix with something or other on top but they were in the future. Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy the food provided and the bus soon got underway again and headed for Tannadice.

We had met some supporters in the Station Hotel and they were slightly pessimistic about our chances, much of the talk about how much of a ‘bogey’ team United were to us. And we found that when we came off the bus outside the stadium, that same word was being mentioned – and even shouted – by quite a number of fans. The Boss must have heard it too and he was quick to tell us to ‘forget that nonsense’.

The Teams


Dundee United
McKay
T Millar, Briggs
J Millar, Smith, Wood
Berg, Gillespie,Hainey, Mitchell, Wilson
Sub: Graham

Celtic
Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Gallagher, Wallace, Auld, Lennox.
Sub: McMahon

No Stevie, out with injury. Natural substitute Yogi was also injured, so Charlie Gallagher got a spot for the first time for a while and after his good performance against the Jags, Pat McMahon made the bench.

The Play
Right from the start, we put pressure on the United defence and within minutes had two great chances.
Cesar came up for a free-kick, out-jumped the United defence and headed the ball down for Lemon to flick it into the back of the net. It looked over the line before Briggs smashed it clear but in spite of our protests, the referee, Mr McKenzie of Coatbridge, just waved play on.
Only a minute later, Lemon was pulled down by goalkeeper McKay. Mr McKenzie pointed to the penalty spot. TG rushed up to take the kick but his pile-driver was too near the United keeper and he managed to punch it clear.
Definitely two nasty moments for Celtic and two good breaks for the Terrors.
From that point on, it was all Celtic, with Donald McKay showing what a good keeper he was when saving from Charlie and Lemon; then, just on the half-time whistle, a cross by Wispy was headed in by Lemon but much to our disgust, the linesman’s flag shot up for offside. And, at the interval, the match was still goalless.

There was nothing much the Boss could say at half-time. His side was well on top and had made chances, so he said little publicly but did give the occasional words to some players in private.

The second half, though, turned out to be a different game. United raised their game and suddenly our defence had some work to do. It wasn’t all one-way, though, and we did get the ball in the net but again Lemon was adjudged offside. Then, just when we needed it, the elusive goal arrived;

61 minutes
Bertie sent a long pass right across the field and Lemon was there to hammer the ball into the net. 1-0 Celtic

From that point, United came at us with a vengeance but I felt that we were dealing with their attacks quite comfortably and final half-hour passed fairly easily. It was, though, still a relief to hear Mr McKenzie’s whistle blow for time up.

Final Score Dundee United 0 Celtic 1

Result
In the other sectional match at Ibrox, Rangers beat Aberdeen 3-0

Team P W D L F A GAv Pts
Celtic 4 3 1 0 6 2 3.00 7
Rangers 4 2 2 0 6 2 3.00 6
Dundee Utd 4 1 0 3 5 3 1.67 2
Aberdeen 4 0 1 3 2 12 0.17 1

Reserve League Cup Tie
Back at Celtic Park, the Hoops won 4-2 in a Reserve League Cup tie, the goals coming from McKellar (2), Quinn and O’Neill.

The Papers
The headline in the evening papers told the story of the game –

​Celtic Stay One Ahead

And because it did not happen very often, TG’s bad moment also got a headline –

​Gemmell’s Spot Miss

There was another headline which referred to a different team but the player in question would be in a Celtic strip in the not-too-distant future.

The final score in the match was Clyde 2 Motherwell 1 but the headline read –

​Hood Slips in the First