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26th March 1966: Scottish Cup Semi-Final Celtic v Dunfermline – Part Two

Press Comment

Both semi-finals being held that day – Celtic v Dunfermline at Ibrox and Aberdeen v Rangers at Hampden – received a lot of attention in the morning press. Not surprisingly, the position in which Celtic found themselves was the centre of attention ;-

 

‘Will Celtic take a step nearer the treble of League Cup, League and Scottish Cup today?

Or can Dunfermline shake off their recent slump and reach their third Final in five years?

Celtic start clear favourites – they must. They have had a wonderful season so far and have the confidence that comes with success. While Dunfermline have had a sticky time recently.

The tag of being the under-dogs is unusual for the Fifers but they don’t mind it one bit. It puts all the pressure on Celtic today, as they try to keep up their fantastic record.

 

In the preview of the other semi-final, Rangers got most of the coverage and were tipped as probable winners.

 

My Own Morning

Guess what I spent the morning of the Scottish Cup semi-final doing? No, not sleeping, although that was probably the most sensible thing to do. No, I had been told to report to Parkhead for some light running and then another course of treatment. The running was getting better; the treatment was very painful as the skin round the injury was becoming more inflamed from all the massaging. Anyway, I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. Even Bob Rooney said that I wasn’t moaning as much as usual?

I then made my way over to Ibrox – ironically about 2 miles from my parents’ house – as the rest of the squad made their way up from Seamill by bus, met them as they arrived and went into the dressing-rooms as one of the party, being there for the warm-ups and banter, leaving when the guys started to get ready for the contest. I noticed that the all-green strip was being worn.

Those moments just prior to a match can be difficult for an injured player. He is given a ticket for the stand, then has to make his way, like any fan, to his designated seat, trying to make way through everyone heading in the same direction while at the same time answering questions about one’s fitness, how the team is feeling, the state of the pitch, our chances in the match etc? The Celtic fans have always been good to deal with but right at that moment, it was hard work.

 

The Team

The side eventually chosen by Jock Stein was Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Lennox and Auld.

 

The Play

To be quite honest, it was a very disappointing one-sided match, attended by a crowd of 53,900, very precisely summed up in one of the following day’s papers. The reference to Beecher’s Brook is because the Grand National was being run the same afternoon ;-

 

‘What could have been a Beecher’s Brook of an obstacle to Celtic’s progress into the final of the Scottish Cup turned out to be nothing more formidable than a puddle. Surprisingly, and disappointingly, Dunfermline Athletic took their leave of the competition not with a bang but with a whimper.

The feebleness of the opposition should not detract from the worth of Celtic’s victory but it had the effect of diminishing any sense of occasion that there should have been about the match. The authority of Celtic’s play was so far in advance of Dunfermline’s that interest was kept alive largely by the lack of a correspondingly high rate of scoring’.

 

One headline summed the occasion up pretty accurately ;-

Celtic Coast to Victory

 

In spite of all the chances that Celtic made, they only scored two goals, the first coming in –

37 minutes…..a cross by John Clark was headed out by Pars’ left-half Thomson but the ball went directly to the feet of Bertie Auld, who had time to pick his spot to fire home through the legs of Joe McBride.

That made the Celtic support very happy but in spite of their side dominating the play and missing several more chances, they had to wait some time before the second goal arrived in-

66 minutes…..Billy McNeill cleared the ball over the halfway line and Stevie Chalmers picked it up, turning his marker before racing towards goal. As the keeper came off his line, Stevie calmly shot home from an acute angle.

And that fine goal gave rise to another headline on the following day;-

 

Chalmers Hits Magnificent Goal

 

The Other Semi-Final

In the other semi-final at Hampden, Aberdeen and Rangers drew 0-0 in front of a crowd of 49,360.

 

The Grand National

At Aintree that same afternoon, the Grand National was won by Anglo, at a price of 50/1.

 

The Reserves in Action Again

On the same day at Celtic Park, Celtic beat Clydebank in a Combined Reserve League match. The team was Kennedy, Cunningham, Halpin, Henderson, McCarron, Hay, H Quinn, McGowan, Connelly, Sweeney and Taylor. McGowan got the only goal.


 

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

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

 

A Game from the Past…….only three months after joining Celtic in 1951, goalkeeper Andy Bell got his chance when John Bonnar had been dropped after losing three goals to Rangers in the League Cup semi-final and his deputy Alex Devanney was passed over. The match was a league game against Dundee at Dens Park on 20th October 1951 and although Celtic lost 1-2, Andy kept his place for the next match against Hibs.

And a Moment to Remember……Andy made 28 appearances in total for Celtic between 1951 and 1955. Possibly his best moment came in a league match against Rangers on 19th September 1953 when, with Bonnar injured and George Hunter dropped, he was drafted in. From the 25th minute, with the score tied at 1-1, Rangers began to dominate the play and only a wonderful performance from Andy Bell kept the Rangers attack out.


 

Bad Weather

A blizzard struck Central and Northern Scotland yesterday marooning vehicles in deep drifts, blocking roads and causing traffic chaos in many areas.

 

Sunk

The Cambridge University boat race crew sank in a heavy squall at Putney yesterday.

Their boat was smashed beyond all possibility of repair by tomorrow, when they meet Oxford but the race will go ahead as they will use their second boat.

 

Tragic

A young mother who gave birth to 7 babies – they lived for only 7 to 8 hours – was shown them before they died and chose a name for each one, doctors in Brussels said last night.

The mother gave birth to the babies on Tuesday night. The first one died on Wednesday morning and the others within hours. They were prematurely born after 5-and-a-half months of pregnancy.