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29th March 1966 Kilmarnock v Celtic League – Part Two

Two Big Games

For Celtic fans, there might have been only one big match on the calendar on that evening of the 29th March 1966 but for Scottish football in general, there were, in actual fact, two matches to consider, as this correspondent in one of the dailies pointed out ;-

‘Tonight’s spotlight is on the Rangers v Aberdeen Scottish Cup semi-final replay at Hampden. Big crowd, big money, big things at stake.

Yet down in Ayrshire, another vital game is taking place, and one that is about as important to Rangers.

 

Celtic play Kilmarnock in a league game that could tie up the championship and put the Parkhead club firmly on the road to the treble of League Cup, League and Scottish Cup.

Consider the position. Jock Stein’s team are at present three points ahead of Rangers. If they win tonight, they’ll be five points in front with only six league games to go.

 

I know Jock Stein looks on tonight’s game as the key to the league title. Third-placed Killie will provide hot opposition – they need the points too.

 

How Rangers must be hoping Killie can halt Celtic’s triumphant progress and allow the Ibrox club to get back in the hunt’.

 

The Home Side

Kilmarnock had been in the Scottish game a long time and that particular decade of the 1960s had turned out to be one of their most successful periods, their best season being 1964/65 when they won the First Division championship, a better goal average giving them the title over Hearts.

All through the years up to then – and since – the Rugby Park pitch was noted for its flatness and the quality of the turf. Players liked to perform there, with many critics of players always keen to point out that ‘if you cannae play on that surface, you cannae play!’

Just before the Second World War, the Celtic support took a great interest in the performances of the Ayrshire club, as the great Jimmy McGrory spent a few seasons in charge of Kilmarnock before going on take the reins at Parkhead.

 

The Team

Jock Stein decided to play the side which had beaten Dunfermline in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup –
Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Lennox and Auld. I had hoped to watch the match but was told to stay at home and rest the ankle, as I would be playing the following evening for the reserve side

 

The Play

As I mentioned above, I was not at Rugby Park on the night so I can only give a précis of the reports in the press the following day.

 

Kilmarnock had Bobby Ferguson in goal, Frank Beattie at wing-half and Jackie McInally – father of future Celt Alan – at inside forward but apparently the whole Killie team was under the cosh in the first half, when Celtic scored two goals.

 

10 minutes…..a long ball was whipped across goal by Bobby Murdoch into the path of Bobby Lennox, who in full flight struck it well out of Ferguson’s reach. 1-0 Celtic

 

35 minutes…..Stevie Chalmers sent Jimmy Johnstone away, his shot hit a post and re-bounded out to Lennox, who steered it home. 2-0 Celtic

 

And that was the score at half-time….and also at full time, in spite of Kilmarnock raising their game considerably throughout the second half. At one point they forced five corners in succession but could not make the breakthrough; while Celtic were apparently quite happy to fall back into defence, confident that they could deal with everything that Killie could throw at them

 

Bad News

It was learned after the game that Jimmy Johnstone, who had probably been Celtic’s best player in the first half, received a cut on his ankle and a decision will be made tomorrow on his fitness for International duty on Saturday.

 

Good News

Celtic and Liverpool reached agreement over the dates for their European Cup-Winners’ Cup semi-final matches.

The clubs meet at Celtic Park on Thursday, April 14 ( kick-off 8pm) and in the return game at Anfield on Tuesday April 19th (kick-off 7.30 pm)

 

The Other Semi-Final

A crowd of 40,852 had gathered at Hampden for the replay of the Scottish Cup between Aberdeen and Rangers. It turned out to be another close contest, summed up with precision in the first paragraph of a report in one of the following morning’s dailies ;-

 

 Aberdeen Narrowly Lose Scottish Cup Replay

 ‘Rangers last night qualified for the final of the Scottish Cup for the 28th time when they beat Aberdeen on a goal scored by McLean 10 minutes from the end of their semi-final tie. Celtic, their opponents on April 23, would not, on current form, however, have found either side much of a proposition’.


 

 

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

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

A Game from the Past……goalkeeper John Mulrooney joined Celtic from Earnock Rovers on 4th November 1911 and made his first-team debut against Queen’s Park on a snowy Hampden pitch on 9th December 1911, when the Hoops won 4-1 in a league match.

And a Moment to Remember…….John Mulrooney had a wonderful first season for Celtic, winning a Scottish Cup winner’s medal in the 2-0 victory against Clyde at Ibrox on 6th April 1912 and then a Charity Cup medal, again against Clyde, this time at Hampden on 11th May 1912, when Celtic won 7-0 on corners.

Over the two seasons between 1911 and 1913, John made 51 appearances for Celtic with 26 shut-outs, a fine ratio of 51%. Tragically, he died the following year at the age of 28.


 

 

Unusual Voting Methods

In the South African General Election, white voters – 20% of the population – gave a comprehensive victory to the National Party, led by Prime Minister Hendrick Verwoerd, who captured 126 of the 166 seats.

The 68% of the population who were black were ineligible to vote; while the ‘Coloureds’ were allowed to vote for the four seats that were reserved for the white representatives.

 

Lucky Owner

As well as winning the £22,334 first prize on Anglo in the Grand National on Saturday, his owner Mr Levy had also backed him for £50 each way at 40-1. This brought his total winnings to £25,000.

 

Death – Many Times Over!

A Texas woman, suffering from heart trouble, is being kept alive by electric shocks to the heart. She was ‘dead’ when taken to hospital a week ago. The woman has received the shocks 147 times. A doctor said “in effect, she has been dead 147 times!”