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30th September 1967: Stirling Albion v Celtic – League

28th September

Those who had not played the previous evening did the usual training; those who had played got the day off. However, it was a lovely day and the workout was very enjoyable.

Apart from that, all the guys were in good form, although Joe McBride would have been very disappointed with a comment in one of the dailies;

‘The return of Joe McBride was eagerly anticipated but Joe, so desperately keen to win back his first team place was sadly out of form. Missing were the razor-sharp reflexes that last season made McBride top goal-scorer in the First Division despite the fact that he had been a first-team absentee since late December.

Celtic just could not find the proper understanding in attack and over an hour had passed before they managed to penetrate Ayr’s defensive wall’

 

Such thoughts were reflected in the headlines

United’s Players Rose to the Occasion        

Uninspiring Win for Celtic

Celtic Through but Stein Has His Problems

A Lack of Punch Up Front

The draw was made for the semi-final stages of the League Cup. It was –

Celtic    v  Morton            Hampden

Dundee v  St Johnstone  Tannadice

A surprise from the night before – not for the players but for all the support – was announced in the evening papers –

Celtic Praise for Morton Well-Trained Team

‘Jock Stein and Sean Fallon of Celtic made a car dash from Ayr to Kilmarnock last night to watch some of Morton’s 2-1 victory over the Ayrshire side – and if they were not worried men when they left Rugby Park they certainly know now that their semi-final opponents are not in the pushover class’.

 

29th September

Everyone back in; just some track-work and an early finish to the morning. The big news was that the Boss was ill, apparently with ‘flu and both Sean and Neilly took the training and handled any team news.

As regards the latter, it was announced that the eleven for the first-team encounter at Stirling would be chosen from the Lisbon side plus Pumper, Yogi and Pat McMahon. There was also a reserve team match against Stirling Reserves on the Saturday afternoon at Parkhead and at that match, there would be a sale of tickets for all parts of the ground for Celtic’s World Club Championship game against Racing Club of Argentina at Hampden on Wednesday October 18th.

 

In the evening papers, there a little piece to the effect that Dinamo Kiev had drawn 0-0 with Moscow Dynamo at the latter’s ground in front of a crowd of 60,000.


 

Morning of the Match

When we played at Perth, we always had a pre-match bite in a hotel. However, as Stirling was only 30-odd miles away and you could drive there in just over half-an-hour, we had to provide our own food and arrive at Celtic Park ready to travel.

None of the boys travelled to Stirling with any great enthusiasm as the pitch had a decided slope on it and our record there was not a good one, having drawn 1-1 the previous season on a muddy pitch and in the season before that, we had lost 0-1. It seems to have been touch and go as to whether the Boss would make the trip but he certainly looked OK he boarded the bus.

The trip was uneventful and soon we were getting ready, when I had a moment I have always remembered. I had probably put my playing gear on far too early and was sitting at my place waiting for the others to go out for a pre-match warm-up. Somebody had left a match programme at each place, so I picked up the one nearest me and flicked through it.

Now, I must confess that I never, in my whole life, had given a thought as to why Sirling had the name-tag ‘Albion’ attached to the place name. Well, that afternoon I found out.

It came from a time in 1945, when, after the former Stirling club -called Kings Park – had ceased to operate because  its ground was bombed ( it was the only bomb ever dropped on Stirling) during the 2nd World War, a group of businessmen bought the Annfield estate and started to lay out a new ground. That took time and because the pitch was ready before any stands had been built, when they were watching matches the club officials sat on chairs placed in the back of newly-scrubbed lorries. These were Albion trucks, from which the club derived its new name. It’s amazing what you learn in a dressing-room.

 

The Teams

Stirling Albion

Murray
Cunningham, McGuiness
Reid, Rogerson, Thomson
McPhie, Kerray, Grant, Peebles, Hall.
Sub:  McKinnon

Celtic

Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Chalmers, Lennox, Wallace, Auld, Hughes.
Sub: O’Neill

 

The Play

The start had been held up for 10 minutes or so while the crowd tried to get in but eventually we got underway and straight away, as so often in matches like this, took immediate control of the play without getting any definitive end product. For most of the first half, we did make some chances but again as usual, the opposing keeper was in top form and had great saves from Wispy, Chopper with other tries from Bertie, Chopper again and myself going over the bar. Two minutes from half-time, we did get a breakthrough –

43 minutes
a quick break by Yogi and Bertie, the ball went loose and Wispy reacted quickest to prod it home.  1-0 Celtic

Just before the interval, my own part in this match came to an abrupt end. I was in full flood down the wing, evaded a challenge from my immediate opponent by swerving past him but I never saw his colleague coming in behind and he caught me– possibly over the top? – right on the spot where I was just recovering from my previous injury. It was really painful and when I glanced down, I saw, to my disgust, that the cut had re-opened and blood was pouring down my leg.

Bob Rooney and Neilly both came on and I saw them signal to the dugout, although I was in such pain that I did not know what they were signaling. The next thing I knew was that I was limping off the field and Pumper was going on to play at left-back, with Tam switching to the right.

When the whistle went and all the guys came into the dressing-room, they were very solicitous about my problem but life had to go on, there was a game to be won and the Boss was quite clear that we had to do better in the final third. When they had gone out, he waited behind and said to me “have a bath, take your time and make sure you don’t put any weight on it. I need you for Wednesday”. So, although I was in a fair bit of pain at the time, at least it was nice to know that I was in the team for the Kiev return, if fit.

I did not see much of the second half, as I spent nearly all of it having the wound cleaned and dressed and then getting into my normal clothes. But from what I read in the papers, the other goals apparently came as follows –

66 minutes
Bertie sent in a screamer from 25 yards.  2-0 Celtic

And apparently, from them on, we dominated the play in comfortable fashion and picked up two further goals though Lemon (70 minutes) and Bertie again (78 minutes), so it was a happy group of players who trooped back into the dressing-room at the end of the match, where this pretty miserable figure was sitting in a corner, trying to keep out of the way. At least I had found out why Stirling had ‘Albion’ in its name!

 

Other Results

Airdrie 2 0 Dundee United
Clyde 0 2 Falkirk
Dundee 2 1 Motherwell
Dunfermline 1 2 Kilmarnock
Hibs 5 1 Partick Thistle
Morton 3 3 Aberdeen
Rangers 1 1 Hearts
St. Johnstone 1 0 Raith Rovers

Table

1 Rangers 4 3 1 0 5 1 5.00 7
2 Hibernian 4 3 1 0 12 4 3.00 7
3 Airdrieonians 4 2 2 0 7 4 1.75 6
4 Kilmarnock 4 2 2 0 7 4 1.75 6
5 Celtic 4 2 1 1 8 2 4.00 5

 

15 Raith Rovers 4 1 0 3 8 7 1.14 2
16 Stirling Albion 4 0 2 2 4 7 0.57 2
17 Motherwell 4 0 1 3 4 7 0.57 1
18 Partick Thistle 4 0 0 4 3 12 0.25 0