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3rd September 1966: St Mirren v Celtic  League Cup – Part Two

 

The Morning of the Match

stMirren.oldI always thought it a bit odd that when we travelled to the more distant away matches, like Aberdeen or the Edinburgh or Dundee sides (don’t forget that there were no Inverness or Ross County matches in those days) we stopped for a bit of lunch en route, while for the ‘closer’ away games, Motherwell, Hamilton, Kilmarnock or St Mirren, we didn’t.

For this match in Paisley, for instance, we just made our way up to the ground for the appointed time, the bus then took off across the city and about 30 minutes later, we were at Love Street.

All during Friday, on Saturday at Celtic Park, then on the bus trip, nobody had mentioned the game –or the team. Once at Love Street, we went out as usual to have a look at the playing conditions, then were recalled to the dressing room for the team announcement.

The best I was hoping for was a place on the bench but much to my surprise, I soon heard my name read out in the right-back slot and suddenly all the hard work I had put in seemed worthwhile.

It is not the done thing to show much emotion at a time like that among players but I got a number of smiles and handshakes plus a punch on the shoulder from Tam, who looked really pleased he was going back to his more customary left-back role.

 

The Teams

Celtic:  Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Mc Bride, Chalmers, Lennox, Gallagher.   Sub: O’Neill

St Mirren: Thorburn, Murray, Brown, Bell, Kiernen, Clark, Hutton, Pinkerton, Hamilton, Treacy, Adamson.   Sub: Aird

 

The Play

When I recalled the pre-match atmosphere in the dressing-room a few years later with the benefit of experience, I realised that it had been too easy-going, too chatty and noisy. In the players’ defence, only a few days previously, most of these same guys had been in the side which beat St Mirren 8-2 and I suppose a victory like that does tend to make you feel very confident and comfortable about playing them again.

Unfortunately, once we were out on the pitch, it was quite obvious, even to me, that we were some way off our best while the Buddies were determined not to have another disaster. Even so, in the first half, we were the more polished side but Saints were defending in depth and although we created some chances, the goals did not come.

And frankly, on their occasional breakaway, against a defence which was mainly involved in coming forward to aid the forwards, St Mirren also made several chances, Ronnie showing his worth by making several good saves.

It was still goalless at the interval and to say the Boss was not pleased was putting it mildly. We were left in no doubt that he expected more in the second half and, although scoring was the problem, we did dictate the play and make the better chances. We only took the one, though, and that came in 53 minutes, when wee Jimmy went on a run to the bye-line and cut the ball back for Bobby Murdoch to score with a low shot.

The 1-0 scoreline was not what the fans wanted or expected but this particular game still went into Celtic’s history books as a very special one.

And that was because when wee Jimmy was taken off in the 65th minute with what looked like a head injury, Willie O’Neill came on to replace him, thus becoming Celtic’s first-ever substitute to come on in a match.

The headline in one paper that night told the story quite neatly –

 Murdoch Beats Paisley  Curtain

  and

Another Win

When we got back to the park, we found out that our second team had beaten Glasgow University 3-0 in a Combined Reserve League match at Barrowfield. The team had been;
Kennedy, Cattenach,  Halpin, Henderson,  McCarron,  Brogan,  Goodwin, ‘Junior’,  Clarke, Macari, ‘Trialist


Sudden Death

Mr Hazza Majali, the 44-year-old Prime Minister of Jordan, was killed and 9 others died today when a bomb blasted the Premier’s office in the Amman Foreign Ministry Building.

Cairo Radio said that 50 people were injured in the explosion, that troops were in the streets of Amman and that a curfew was in force.

 

The Knot is Tied

A crowd of around 50 people gathered at Wishaw Registry Office for the wedding of 23-year-old Chic Calderwood, British and Empire light-heavyweight Champion and Miss Sybil Lockie (21).

After the 20 minute ceremony, Chic and his bride posed for photographs. The wedding party was then driven to the Crown Hotel in Wishaw, where a reception was held for relatives and friends.

 

Another Wedding!

Lana Turner (39), the film actress and a sportsman Fred May (43) have taken out a marriage licence at Santa Ana, California but they refuse to give out any details of their wedding plans. This would be Miss Turner’s sixth marriage.