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27th May 1966: North American Tour – Bologna v Celtic

After two matches while based in Toronto, the Celtic party moved back to the New York/New Jersey area for the next game, which would be played in the Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City. This venue was generally used for baseball and American football, being the base for the Jersey City Dodgers and the Jersey City Giants. The match was organised by the Italian community of New Jersey.

The opposition for Celtic could not have been tougher. Bologna had finished second in Serie A behind Inter Milan ( whom Celtic would come up against at Lisbon in just under a year’s time) but with Italy participating in the World Cup in England, Bologna were without three of their top players – Bulgarelli, Pascutti and Negri. However, the club had brought in three others from Italian clubs – Morrone (Fiorentina), Lazzatti (Foggia) and Magi (Catania).

 

Both Wilbur Cushley and Frank McCarron were out injured, The Celtic side which ran out that evening was;

Ronnie, TG, Pumper, Chopper, Cesar, Luggy, Stevie, Bobby, Joe, Bertie,Yogi

and the boys had a tough evening ;-

Celtic held as bottles fly

Protests, boots and bottles flew here in Jersey City last night when Celtic, trying to make this a grand-slam victory tour, were held to a 0-0 draw by the tough Italians from Bologna.

Trouble started before a ball was kicked. The pitch was in shocking condition and when the manager Jock Stein and his players saw it, they were aghast. This is what greeted their eyes – a stretch of bare, bumpy ground, a pitch nowhere near the regulation size, touchlines extending over the surrounding track, a corner flag placed up against a boundary wall.

Celtic were all for calling the whole thing off and Bologna, too, rated the pitch an insult but because the crowd were already in the stadium, the two teams agreed to play.

Tempers, then, were stretched before the kick-off and it was not surprising that they snapped as Celtic made a tremendous effort to raise their total of wins to six.

Bologna were just as certain that they were not going to lose – and they were not particularly fussy about how that end was to be accomplished.

 Celtic were unquestionably the team with the method and the ideas but throughout the second half – played in a cloudburst – the Bologna defence stood firm.

At the end mounted police were on the field and manager Jock Stein and the Celtic players were jostled and shoved around by spectators.

This was one game that did not do the image of European football a great deal of good – and Celtic will want to forget it as quickly as possible.

One good thing is that it kept their unbeaten run intact through six games.