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4th May 1966:  Celtic v Dunfermline League – Part Two

DAFCThe Build-up

On the morning of the match against Dunfermline, I was at the Dental Hospital for a few hours, then got ready to push off home for a rest and a bite to eat.

The Dental Hospital at that time was in Renfrew Street, one road up from – and parallel to – Sauchiehall Street, so my route home took me down Renfield Street and across the River Clyde. There were some puzzling pedestrians that day in the centre of town, guys – and gals – wearing red scarves and sweaters. There was a crest on the jerseys but, with driving the car, I could not read it clearly and I was getting annoyed that I could not work it out.

Then the truth hit me and I felt really stupid. They were Liverpool fans, early arrivals for the European Cup-Winners’ Cup final at Hampden the following evening against Borussia Dortmund. No doubt there were also fans supporting the West German side but perhaps they played in red too and I was just not distinguishing between the two sets of fans. Whoever they were supporting, they were making a good deal of noise and the pubs were doing a roaring trade. Unfortunately for the fans, the licensing arrangements of the time meant that the pubs would be closed between 2pm and 5pm. I hope they got a carry-out!

 

Press Comment

‘The air will be filled with tension and anticipation at Parkhead tonight.

This, for Celtic, is their night of the year. A win over Dunfermline means that the league championship is clinched.

Can you imagine the jubilation on the terracings if all goes well? Or the dull thud of disappointment if they fail?

That defeat by Rangers in the Scottish Cup final and the k.o. from Liverpool in the Cup-Winners’ tourney made Celtic all the more determined to land the premier honour.

Now, with two games remaining, they need two points, assuming that Rangers win against Clyde tonight.

Every fair-minded fan will concede that Celts deserve to be champions. They have dominated our game this season.

They could slip up tonight and still pull it off at Motherwell on Saturday. But I’m sure they’re banking on clinching the points against Dunfermline.

With a huge vociferous crowd behind them, Parkhead tonight is the place and time to do it’.

 

Before the Match

When I parked the car in the school at the bottom of the driveway outside the ground and walked towards the front door, there were fans everywhere, all keen for a chat and an autograph. Nowadays, everyone has a camera on their mobile phone but in those days, few had a proper camera and photos were few.

At the front door, Bill Peacock, the doorman, resplendent in a green-and-gold overcoat with a hat to match, had his hands full on such a big night but he did manage to give me a hand on the shoulder and a heartfelt “all the best, Jim” as I entered the building. Nice to know that someone knew my proper name!

Once inside, it was good to see the guys again and the atmosphere was great. I could feel that everyone, like myself, was really up for the occasion. The back room staff were keen to be involved too, Neilly, Bob and Sean in their quiet way, Jim Steel more of an extrovert, singing verses of those Viennese ballads he loved so much. And all through this, the Boss appeared then disappeared, going into his office one minute, then outside to see someone at the front door, then having a chat with the opposition manager Willie Cunningham.

Soon came the call to the dressing room and the reading out of the team. It was as we expected:  Ronnie Simpson, myself, Tam Gemmell, Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill, John Clark, Jimmy Johnstone, Charlie Gallagher, Steve Chalmers, Bobby Lennox and Bertie Auld.

The Boss then read out the Dunfermline side. The two Callaghan brothers – right-back Willie and future Celt Tommy in midfield – were included; Alec Edwards, who always gave Tam a good test, was at outside-right; while the left-winger was a guy called Robertson, whom I had never played against before.

Jock Stein then gave a fairly brief resume of how he thought the Pars would play and then what he expected of us. As usual, it was precise and succinct but it also left no one in any doubt of what he expected of us.

There just remained the appearance of the referee – Mr McKenzie of Coatbridge, a very experienced official – in the dressing room to check the boots and hands ( for any rings) before we went down the tunnel to a wonderful reception from the Celtic fans making up the vast majority of the crowd of around 30,000.

 

The Play

In spite of all our enthusiasm before the match, it was not translated into form and we rather struggled right from the start. The following report from one of the following days ‘dailies’ very accurately sums up the match action ;-

‘Celtic are beyond reasonable doubt Scottish League champions again at last. After an interval of 12 years and, surprising as it may seem, for only the 4th time in 40 years, they virtually assured themselves last night of this most elusive honour by their victory over Dunfermline Athletic at Celtic Park.

It was not an especially convincing performance but in view of the severity of Celtic’s programme over the past three weeks that was hardly remarkable. Dunfermline’s resistance and Celtic’s natural anxiety to get it over with of course did little to make things come easily.

But in truth this was not a match we came to looking for, or even expecting, football played with the enthusiasm and in the relaxed spirit of a pre-season friendly. All that mattered was the result and this was duly achieved even if less positively than Celtic could have wished’.

 

In terms of the score, there were three crucial moments ;-

29 minutes:  corner by Edwards got past a number of players to Ferguson, who rather trundled his shot past Ronnie. Celtic 0 Dunfermline 1

34 minutes:  Jimmy J crossed, Charlie flicked it on and Bobby L headed home. 1-1

59 minutes:  Bobby L’s shot was parried out by goalkeeper Martin but only as far as wee Jimmy, who slammed the ball home. Celtic 2 Dunfermline 1.

 

And that was it. The following day, more than one paper had similar headlines –

 

Celtic Almost Sure of League Title          

 

Celtic’s Glory Night

 

Reaction

In the dressing room, news came through that Rangers had beaten Clyde 4-0 but frankly, that result did not matter a damn. We would have to lose to Motherwell at Fir Park on the forthcoming Saturday by 4-1 and we did not think that such a score was a possibility. So, as we showered and dressed, the atmosphere was euphoric and this feeling continued as we walked through the crowds outside the ground. It was ages before we could get to the cars and then had to drive through an East End of Glasgow which seemed to contain only Celtic fans celebrating. It was quite a night and the drive home to my parent’s house in Cardonald had never been done in a happier mood. Once I got there, though, I was brought down to earth with a bump…Mum and Dad had gone to bed!


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

 

Sponsored by the Jim Craig CSC

 

A game from the Past……Half-back Patrick George McEvoy started his football career at St Anthony’s, where he won a prize for being a hard trainer. He signed for Celtic on 22nd July 1918, making his first-team debut in a league match against Hibs at Easter Road on 17th August 1918, when Celtic won 3-0.

And a Moment to Remember…..a bad moment first, the day Celtic lost 0-3 to Rangers at Parkhead on 19th October 1918. But then Pat went on to make another 10 appearances for the club that season in total, each one of them a vital match, as Celtic picked up another title in that season of 1918-19.


Hello/Hello!

In the first meeting between the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and a governmental minister from any communist nation, Pope Paul V1 received Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in a private audience at the Vatican.

West Germany and Japan Come Up Trumps

At their meeting in Rome, the International Olympic Committee voted for the site of the 1972 Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

There were four candidates for the 1972 Summer Olympics, from West Germany (Munich), Spain ( Madrid), Canada (Montreal) and the United States ( Detroit), with none getting a majority of the 61 votes on the first ballot.

On the second vote, Munich got 31 votes, Madrid 15, Montreal 14 and Detroit none, which meant that the Summer Olympics of 1972 would be held in Munich.

Sapporo, Japan, was awarded the 1972 Winter Olympic Games on the first ballot, receiving 32 votes, with the entry from Canada (Banff) getting 16 and Lahti (Finland) and the American candidate (Salt Lake City, Utah) receiving 7 each.

Disaster

Eleven schoolchildren, mostly 7 or 8 years of age, were killed by a drunken driver in the town of Waragem-Asse in Belgium, while the teacher in charge was giving them instructions on how to cross a road safely. The children had been standing on the pavement when a bakery truck hit the kerb and skidded on to the surface, knocking them down.