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30th March 1968: Dundee United v Celtic – League

26th March

No training. The reason was provided quite neatly in one of the evening papers –

‘As an immediate reward for jumping to the top of the league table with a crushing 6-1 win over St Johnstone last night, all the Celtic players were given a holiday from training today’.

The report went on to say –

‘Mr Stein was delighted with the performance of the team at Perth but no more pleased than he was with the show put up by the Under-19 players – the boys who held Rotherham to a 2-2 draw at Millmoor’.

 

This latter match had also taken place on the Monday night. The team had been Harkins, Murray, Gorman, Cattenach, Connelly, Hay, Taggart, MacMahon, Quinn, McKellar and Jim Clarke, with the two Celtic goals coming from Davie Cattenach and Hugh McKellar.

 

27th March

Back at training for us but big nights for two of the other teams in Scotland. Rangers were held to a 0-0 draw by Leeds United at Ibrox and Dundee beat Zurich 1-0 at Dens Park, both ties in the quarter-final stages of the Fairs Cities’ Cup. The Glasgow evening paper was keen to give some hope for the Rangers fans  –

It’s Not Over Yet!

 

28th March

Just your normal training day. The atmosphere was pretty light-hearted but as I mentioned last week, the unspoken worry behind all the casual chat was that Rangers would not drop any points in the run in. The assessment in the press of the matches coming up on the forthcoming Saturday – Celtic at Tannadice and Rangers at Broomfield – was that we might struggle against United – who had been the bogey team for us the previous season – whereas the Light Blues would cope with the Diamonds.

 

29th March

The press on this day was more concerned about giving previews of the two Scottish Cup semi-finals due the following day, Hearts against Morton at Hampden and St Johnstone versus Dunfermline at Tynecastle. All four teams seemed to be up for the occasion although I did notice that Hearts manager John Harvey might have a selection problem. Apparently, according to the press, wing-half Eddie Thomson was getting married in Peebles that night and Harvey had to make the decision as to whether to play the new husband or bring in somebody else? Looks as though the wife chose the date?

 

And after our usual ‘day before the match’ routine and just as were about to get changed, the Boss came into the dressing-room and announced that it would be an un-changed team for the match at Tannadice.


 

Morning of the Match

Up bright and early, had some cereal for breakfast then in mid-morning, headed for Parkhead to join the rest of the travelling party. We departed for the trip to Dundee at around 11am, out first stop the Station Hotel in Perth, where we usually had lunch. After the meal, we boarded the bus again for the final stretch to Tannadice, with our arrival always timed for about an hour before kick-off.

Even as early as that, there was a good crowd gathering and we got a great reception from the fans in green-and-white. We then headed into the ground and naturally, made our way down the tunnel to check on the pitch conditions, always an important past of the pre-match routine.

On that afternoon, everything was in good shape, the pitch in excellent condition and even the weather pretty good for the end of March.

 

The Teams

Dundee Utd

Davie
Holland, Cameron
Neilson, Smith, Wood
Seemann, Millar, Mitchell, Gillespie, Wilson.
Sub: Hainey

Celtic

Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Gallagher, Hughes.

 

The Play

There were three ex-Rangers players in the Dundee United line-up – Wilson Wood, Jimmy Millar and Davie Wilson – and overall it looked like a strong side. And right from the start, with the wind behind us, we set out to test them, see how good they were and the United goal got a bit of a going-over in the first 10 minutes, with keeper Davie having to make good saves from Chopper and Yogi. Two minutes later came the breakthrough –

12 minutes
Jinky beat Cameron, Smith and Wood in a wonderful run before giving Davie no chance with a close-in shot.  1-0 Celtic

 

It took until almost the 20th minute before Ronnie had a save to make and then he competently dealt with lobbed shots from Wilson and Neilson. Ten minutes before the break, we increased our lead –

35 minutes
Davie parried a shot from Yogi, the ball re-bounded back to Lemon, who made no mistake from 6 yards. 2-0 Celtic.

 

Compared to previous matches against the Arabs, the scoreline was excellent and the whole dressing-room at the interval – including the Boss – was in positive form. The players did, though, get the usual reminder about the game not being finished yet and how they might come back etc. but I could see from the faces of my colleagues that they – like me – had no intention of letting United back into the match, at least in the scoring sense.

 

From the re-start, they certainly did come at us and the defence had to do its work. We did it competently, though, and kept them out and just as their morale must have been starting to diminish, hit them with two goals in three minutes –

70 minutes
Another good run by Jinky, an excellent pass to Lemon   3-0 Celtic

73 minutes
Lemon got another when he latched on to a pass from Wispy and ran in on goal before giving Davie no chance with his shot.  4-0 Celtic

 

The last 15 minutes was almost a stroll in the park compared to what had gone on earlier and a minute from the end, it was the turn of substitute Davie Cattenach – on for Charlie Gallagher – to get his name on the score sheet for the first time –

89 minutes
.a cross by yours truly, right into the heart of the box and up popped Cat to drive the ball home.

Final Score  Dundee Utd 0  Celtic  5

 

After the match, where usually there would be an explosion of happiness and joy over a result like that, on that particular Saturday, I can recall vividly that the overwhelming feeling was one of anticipation. We were pleased about our own result, obviously, but were also very keen to hear the score from Broomfield and when the news came through that Rangers had beaten Airdrie by two goals to one, it was as if someone had pricked the balloon of happiness at Tannadice and left it flat.

 

Reserves

At Celtic Park on the same afternoon, the Reserve side won 6-1 against Dundee United Reserves. Our side was John Fallon, John Murray, Chris Shevlane, John Clark, George Connelly, Willie O’Neill, John Taggart, Joe McBride, Jimmy Quinn, Davie Hay, Jim Clarke; and the goals came from McBride (2), Quinn (2), Taggart and Jim Clark.

 

Scottish Cup Semi-finals

Hearts 1  Morton  1              St Johnstone 1  Dunfermline  1

 

Table

P          W        D         L          F          A         Pts

Celtic       29          25        3          1         94         20        53

Rangers    28          25        3          0         79         24        53

 


A Glasgow lawyer told Dunfermline Police Court that he would use the train instead of his Mercedes when he went to Dunfermline in future.

Joseph Beltrami, solicitor, of 5 St Andrews Avenue, Bothwell, admitted by letter that on 24th November 1967 he had parked his car longer than the permitted 20 minutes in Canmore Street, Dunfermline. The car had been left for 30 minutes.

Mr Beltrami said that his time was limited and he could not find a proper parking place.

He was fined £2.