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Post-Season Affairs Part 6

27th May 1968

The day after the initial match against AC Milan was spent in New York, with the boys out and about sight-seeing and generally enjoying the atmosphere in this most fascinating of cities.

 

28th May 1968

The Celtic party headed for the airport and caught a flight to Toronto, where they booked into the Royal York Hotel. After the allocations of rooms and so on, the boys had a light lunch then were taxied to a specially-chosen venue for a training session.

 

29th, 30th and 31st May 1968

The squad just enjoyed themselves in the Canadian city. They were occasionally brought down to earth with some light sessions but apart from that, the weather was apparently wonderful, the city fascinating and a good time was had by all.

 

While the Celtic squad was enjoying the delights of Toronto, the players of Dunfermline were having a much tougher time on their tour of the USA. In the match between the Pars and Kansas City, for instance, played on the 30th May, both teams went to war and after pitched battles and two players going off, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The match lasted 46 minutes longer than usual because of the fights and other interruptions. One Kansas City player had to go to hospital for treatment. Still, the crowd of 10,507 certainly got their money’s worth – a match lasting for 136 minutes, punch-ups all the way and two goals thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for!

 

One other British side was on tour at that time in the USA. Manchester City were beaten 2-1 by Borussia Dortmund in Chicago; while in Holland, Scotland drew 0-0 with the Netherlands at Zandvoort.

 

1st June 1968

A crowd of 30,121 – the biggest-ever for a football match in Canada – was at the Exhibition Stadium for the second meeting of the sides. Celtic were getting to the stage where they were running out of players and for this occasion, Jock Stein fielded an eleven of Simpson, Brogan, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Wallace, Lennox, Chalmers, Gallagher and Hughes.

This was described in the local press as a ‘robust game’, with Celtic showing much better form than in the first meeting of the pair. The most crucial moments came after half-time. In the 47th minute, a shot by Wispy was deflected down by keeper Belli but only as far as Lemon and he fairly blasted the ball home for the opener.

Then, in the 64th minute, Yogi went on one of those meandering runs before passing the ball to Charlie Gallagher who calmly stroked it home.

From then on, the Celtic defence held out, although Ronnie had to be on form to deal with shots from the West German Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni and the Swede Kurt Hamrin.

 

Final Score  Celtic 2  AC Milan 0

 

 

 

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Post Season Affairs Part 5

16th – 23rd  May 1968

According to the chats I had with the guys after they returned from the North American tour of 1968, a good time was had by all when on holiday at the beginning of the tour in Florida.

After the journey across the Atlantic from Prestwick to New York, there had been a much shorter flight to Miami, where the party was put up at a magnificent hotel situated right on the beach at Newport, a suburb of Miami.

Over the following few days, the players occupied their time with deep-sea fishing and golf during the day and as for the evening activities, well, I think we will draw a veil over them. Let’s just say that all the boys seemed to enjoy themselves. At the same time, as there were matches coming up, there were some training sessions down on the beach but it was nothing too strenuous. In fact they were quite light-hearted.

While this was all going in the USA, Rangers were playing a couple of games on their tour in Denmark. On the 20th, they beat Frem in Copenhagen 4-1 and then on the 22nd, had a 2-0 win over Odense.

And Hibs were in action in Nigeria, firstly drawing 1-1 with Green Eagles in Lagos, then beating Northern Lions 1-0 in Kaduna.

In a friendly at Wembley, England beat Sweden 3-1; while in the first leg of the Fairs Cup semi-final in Budapest, Ferencvaros beat Bologna 3-2.

Back home, the draw was made for the sectional stages of the League Cup and for the second consecutive season, Celtic and Rangers were paired together in Section 4, along with Morton and Partick Thistle

 

24th May

The Celtic party said good-bye to Newport and headed for the airport, where they boarded an early flight for the trip back to New York, just in time to book into their hotel and then head by taxi to Madison Square Garden, where Bob Foster was meeting Dick Tiger for the Light-Heavyweight Championship of the world. There was an early finish to the fight, with Foster knocking out Tiger in the fourth round.

 

25th May

A light warm-up in Central Park in the morning then after a quick lunch, the boys were taken, again by taxi, to New Belmont Racetrack for an afternoon’s entertainment. That night, for probably the first time on the trip, Jock Stein had a chat with the players about the match on the morrow.

He apparently told the guys that they would have to at their best, a comment that would have been treated with amusement. They were all well aware that the opponents, AC Milan, had won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup the previous week when they beat SV Hamburg 2-0 in Rotterdam. So, all the boys knew that the opposition would be quality and the Boss’s comment was probably a trifle un-necessary?

 

26th May

The Celtic party was taken by bus just after lunch on this Sunday to Jersey City and the Roosevelt Stadium, for the clash with AC Milan. The team was

Simpson, Cattenach, O’Neill, Clark, McNeill, Brogan, Chalmers, Murdoch, Wallace, Gallagher and Lennox.     Subs…Quinn and McBride.

According to the reports, Celtic had the better of the first half, with AC’s keeper Belli having more to do than Ronnie. Celtic also got an early lead when Charlie Gallagher’s powerful shot re-bounded off Belli and the ball was pushed in by Wispy.

Only eleven minutes later, though, the Italians equalized, Angelino scoring from Sormani’s short pass.

In the second half, Milan pushed much harder and Celtic were back in defence, although there were not many clear-cut opportunities. One of these came nine minutes from time, when a Trappatoni shot hit a post, the ball came out to Sormani and his well-hit shot was equally well saved by Ronnie.

Final Score  AC Milan 1  Celtic  1

The name of Tam Gemmell was noticeably missing from the left-back slot. Tam injured a groin at training before leaving for the USA and it was hoped that he would recover during the stay in Miami. Unfortunately, that did not happen, he missed this match and the decision was taken to send him home later that week.

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Post Season Affairs Part 4

12th May 1968

I dropped into the park around lunchtime and found the guys just winding down after training. Had a chat with Jinky, who, like me, was going to miss the tour to North America and Mexico. Instead, he was organising a motoring holiday for himself and his wife Agnes on the Costa Brava. Very nice, I thought at the time. Afterwards, though, I wondered ; was he going to drive all the way? He was not a happy traveller on a plane?

 

13th May

Cumbernauld United stars Freddie Pethard and Kenny Dalglish have a special reason to play well against Celtic in the special challenge match organised for tonight, when Jock Stein opens United’s new ground – Ravenswood Stadium.

For both Fred and Kenny are booked to turn senior with Celtic. Jock Stein has also named Dalglish in the Celtic youth party to compete in an international tournament in Italy next month.

 

14th May

Cumbernauld had a gala night last night when Jock Stein opened the local United’s new ground and kicked off. Then Celtic’s European Cup-winning team took over and played United in a 15-minute each way game, which they won 2-0, the goals coming from Lemon and Wispy.

The Celtic starlets then replaced the top men for the remainder of the game and won 4-1. The ground was packed to its capacity of 4,500 and there was a celebration banquet after the match.

 

15th May

Celtic’s tour of Canada, America and Mexico may be cut from four games to THREE – and manager Jock Stein and his players are delighted.

Today, news reached Parkhead that the match due to be played against Rochester Lancers, in New York on 28th May, is likely to be cancelled. No official reason has been given but if the game is off, it will suit Celtic ‘just fine’, manager Jock Stein said today –“In terms of the number of matches played, this may not be a strenuous tour but the main opposition is going to be formidable. We want to come back to Scotland on 9th June not merely with an unbeaten record but with victory in all our games. If the game with Rochester is called off, it will allow us to get to Canada as soon as possible and start preparing for the match with AC Milan on 1st June”.

In the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Real Madrid and Manchester United drew 3-3 in the second leg of their European Cup semi-final, a result which put United through to the final on a 4-3 aggregate.

 

16th May

Celtic were one hour behind schedule as they flew across the Atlantic today because of a traffic build-up at Prestwick Airport. The players on the trip were Simpson, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Quinn, Wallace, Gallagher, Lennox, Hughes, Fallon, Cattenach, O’Neill, McBride, Chalmers and Clark.

Celtic full-back Chris Shevlane joined Hibs today and he will travel with his new colleagues for a three-match tour of Nigeria and Ghana.

 

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Post-Season Affairs  Part 3

9th May 1968

The players apparently had the day off for training. I was at work at the dental practice and then, in late afternoon, when everyone else was at their dinner, I did a bit of running in the park near my parents’ house. I wasn’t killing myself but it felt quite good.

 

10th May

The press reported that John Fallon will keep goal for Celtic in the Inverness Select match.

Regular keeper Ronnie Simpson will play for the Reserves in a friendly at Ashington, Northumberland and Celtic Boss Jock Stein has decided that Fallon and Bobby Wraith, who joined the club recently from Dalry Thistle, will be the goalkeepers in the travelling party to the Highlands.

Celtic will leave Glasgow early on Saturday morning for the train journey north. They will spend Saturday night in Inverness and travel home on Sunday. On Monday, the first team regulars will be in action at the opening of Cumbernauld Juniors’ new ground.

Football clubs in general are not very good at letting their players know about future events so the players would have found this information – from one of the evening papers – very helpful –

‘Celtic will leave Prestwick Airport on Thursday 16th May at 1.20pm to start their tour which involves a week’s holiday in Miami before playing games in New York, Toronto and Mexico.

The Celts are due to arrive in Miami late on Thursday and they will stay there until May 24th, when they move on to New York. They will play the first of their two matches against Inter Milan on the 26th May.

On May 28th they leave for Toronto and will stay there until June 2 when they leave for Mexico. The return journey starts in Mexico on June 8th at 11.30am and ends almost exactly 24 hours later with the arrival at Glasgow Airport at 11.35am.

Join Celtic and see the world!’

 

Goals by Portugal’s World Cup heroes – Eusebio and Torres – gave Benfica a 2-0 victory over Juventus in Lisbon last night in the European Cup semi-final first-leg tie.

 

It was announced that Scottish Cup winners Dunfermline Athletic will leave Prestwick Airport for their tour of North America on 13th May.

 

11th May

There was a crowd of 10,000 inside the ground for this match between an Inverness Select and Celtic, the latter fielding a side of Fallon, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Gallagher, Wallace, Lennox and Hughes. A disappointing feature for the home fans was the absence of Celtic manager Jock Stein, on business elsewhere.

Celtic started the better and soon took the lead when Wispy took advantage of a defensive slip-up. However, the Inverness Select equalized when Lazenby back-headed a Neil cross past John Fallon.

Celtic were taking more and more control of the game and got further goals in the first half through a Tam Gemmell penalty – after Yogi had been brought down – and a fine drive by Bobby Murdoch right on the half-time whistle.

In the second- half, Celtic continued to dominate and got three more through Chopper (56), another TG penalty (72) and an OG.

 

Final Score Inverness Select 1  Celtic  6

 

Reserves

In the match arranged in Northumberland, the final score was Ashington  3  Celtic  4.

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Post-Season Affairs – Part 2

7th May 1968

The guys were in training today in preparation for the match against Queen of the South on the morrow. Although I was not involved myself, I found this out by dropping into the park. My new practice was in Shettleston, not too far to the east of the stadium and I could not resist the urge to drop in at lunchtime.

I managed to have a word with the Boss, who said he would have no objection to me coming in for the occasional training session but playing was out. And he did express some sympathy that I would be missing the tour to North America – “but having you right for next season is the most important thing, Cairney, OK”. You could not argue with that!

There was a report in one of the evening papers that the deals for Neil Martin and Ernie Hannigan to play for Queen of the South in the testimonial had fallen through but the Palmerston Park officials were hopeful that other players could be brought in.

 

8th May

From what I heard later, the Celtic party travelled down to Dumfries midway through the afternoon and had the pre-match meal on route. The testimonial match was being played for Jimmy McKinnell, who had been secretary and manager at the club since 1946, resigning as manager in 1961 and secretary in 1968.

 

The Teams

Queen of the South

Ball
West (Partick Thistle), Barker
Goodwin (Airdrie), Kerr, Anderson (Clyde)
McLean (Kilmarnock), Hood (Clyde), McIlmoyle (Carlisle), Law, Mitchell.

Celtic

Simpson
Gemmell, O’Neill
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Lennox, Hughes.

The attendance for the match was 8,000 and as expected, Celtic were in control for most of the play, getting goals from Charlie Gallagher (4), an O.G. by Kerr (10), Lemon (12), Yogi (44) and Wispy (76). The Doonhamers got two themselves and in the course of the match, both teams made substitutions, John Clark coming on for Charlie and Wispy replacing Joe McBride for Celtic; and for Queen of the South, a weel-kent face to the Celtic guys came on as their sub. Mick Jackson had been at Parkhead from 1957 to 1963, scoring 30 goals in his 74 appearances.

 

Final Score  Queen of the South  2  Celtic  5

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Post-season affairs – Part 1

1st  May 1968

The atmosphere on the bus back to Parkhead the previous evening – after the match against Dunfermline at East End Park – was amazing. All the way from the Pars’ ground, along the main roads (no motorways in those days), right up to the door of Celtic Park, the fans were out in force to give us a wonderful reception. It was fantastic and we even got a non-financial bonus when the Boss announced that we would be off for the next couple of days.

However, he then turned to me and asked if I could go into his room as he wanted ‘a word or two with me’. Like a school-kid, I immediately assumed that I had done something wrong and wondered just what I was going to be blamed for?

When I got there, though, he was both kind and complimentary, stating that he realised that I had not been 100% in fitness terms with firstly the virus from the South American trip and then the knock to the leg I received just after the New Year period. In spite of that, though, he thought that I had given ‘everything’ to the team and he was very pleased with my contribution to the team’s showing.

When I asked him how he knew I had not been feeling great, he laughed –

“you are usually the first to get dressed and leave the dressing-room but for the last few months, you have been nearly the last”. He could surprise you sometimes with his perception.

Anyway, he then went on to tell me that my season was finished! He did not think I should play any more games or even take part in the tour to North America. That came as a surprise but when I reflected on it later, it was probably the right thing to do. And as I had just opened a dental practice in Shettleston, it would give me some time during the summer break to organise things.

Later that day, the evening papers announced that Celtic had given free transfers to both Ian Young and Chris Shevlane. The Boss was quoted as saying

“we are very strong for defence men and we felt it was only right that Chris and Ian be given the chance to find themselves other clubs’.

Rumours that Joe McBride might be allowed to go as well were killed by Mr Stein –

“as a matter of fact, Joe was re-signed weeks ago. We have complete faith in McBride’s ability to make the top team again. You will see a new Joe once the close season is over and he starts full training again”.  

 

2nd May,

Two semi-final matches in European trophies had been played the previous evening. At Dens Park, Dundee and Leeds United drew 1-1 in the first leg of their Fairs Cup tie; while over in West Germany, Cardiff lost 2-3 to Hamburg in the second leg of their European Cup-Winners’ Cup semi-final, putting them out 3-4 on aggregate.

 

3rd May

Tommy Walker, the Raith Rovers manager who guided the Kirkcaldy club to league safety this season, is included in the list of nominations for the ‘Manager of the Year’ award which has been won by Jock Stein in the past two seasons.

The list includes Jock Stein, Matt Busby (Manchester United), Joe Mercer (Manchester City), Alec Stock (Queen’s Park Rangers) and Stan Cullis (Birmingham).

 

4th May

Quote from Jock Stein in the press – “we will train twice a week until we leave for North America on the 16th”.

It’s strange how you can’t get something you find totally natural out of your system. I might not have been training at Celtic Park but, being paranoid about losing my fitness levels, I was still going over to Bellahouston Park to do some light work. With a bit of luck, no one will phone the Boss!

 

6th May

Scotland’s Player of the Year – Gordon Wallace of Raith Rovers – is set to join Queen of the South but only for this week’s Jimmy McKinnell benefit game against League Champions Celtic at Palmerston Park.

Wallace is one of a trio of forward-line stars the Dumfries club are happy to have in their side to face Celtic. The others are outside-right Ernie Hannigan and former centre-forward Neil Martin, both of whom are with Coventry City.

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30th April 1968: Dunfermline v Celtic -League

28th April

My parents’ house in Cardonald was only about half-a-mile from our local church, Our Lady of Lourdes, so we normally just walked the short distance. That Sunday morning, though, was a special walk. The church was at the bottom of a drive and the whole way down the avenue, people were coming up and congratulating me and wishing me all the best. I was a bit embarrassed, to say the last as technically, I suppose, I had not done anything. The Dons of Aberdeen had done all the work and God Bless them for their endeavours! However, although I did feel a bit of a fraud, I was very pleased to take the plaudits.

 

29th April

Back in for a light work-out and it was performed in an atmosphere of near delirium. Everyone was as noisy as I had ever seen them – including the Boss – and when he came in to the dressing-room after the session and gave us his usual warning about taking the match seriously and making sure that we did not allow the new Scottish Cup holders to claim victory against us, the warning was taken on board but with a smile on all our faces.

 

One of the evening papers pointed out that a win for us at East End Park might set up two new records. Firstly, victory would give us 63 points, which would be a Scottish First Division record; and secondly, the interest in the match might result in a new record attendance for the Pars’ stadium. The biggest crowd to that point had been for a Dunfermline/Rangers Scottish Cup tie in March 1958, when 24,377 had packed in.

However, all the signs pointed to the Pars/Celtic match exceeding that total.

 

It was also announced in the press that Dunfermline would be going on tour to Canada and the USA during the summer and would meet Manchester City no less than FIVE times!

Manager Jock Stein announced that George Connelly would be 12th man for the match against Dunfermline. The Boss said

“Young Connelly is a Fifer and this is a tribute to his good form in our reserve team this season”.

And Rangers have announced that they will free 9 players tomorrow!


 

Morning and Afternoon of the Match

A lazy start to the day, to be perfectly honest. I did not have to be at Celtic Park until late-afternoon, so I had a late breakfast, then drove my Mum to the shops for some provisions. I normally went in with her to carry any bags but on that day, I could see some folk outside the store so Mum went in herself but managed to sweet-talk one of the young lads in the place to carry her bags back to the car, where I was seated with a newspaper covering up my face. It was ridiculous, I know, but the interest and attention of the fans at that point was becoming worse than after Lisbon.

 

Back to the house, where I went to bed for a few hours, then had my usual scrambled eggs on toast before heading to Celtic Park. The guys were, like myself, all up for this match. We were all aware that a win was crucial to prove beyond all doubt that Celtic were worthy holders of the title. So, while the chat and ambience was excellent, you could almost sense the determination in the air and most of the journey passed uneventfully.

I used the words ‘most of the journey’ deliberately because there was soon a spanner in the works. As we reached the outskirts of Dunfermline, it was obvious that there was going to be a large crowd at this one. The road were chock-a-block and the bus inched its way along the main road. Suddenly, though, we were joined by a couple of police cars who managed to clear a path for us and we got to East End Park with about an hour to spare.

 

Once inside, things were much the same as usual. We went out for a look at the pitch, had a chat with our opposite numbers and then the Boss brought us in and motioned for us to get ready.

While this was going on inside the stadium, we were unaware of the fact that it was estimated that around 50,000 Celtic fans had gone through for the match and about half were struggling to get entry. In the dressing-room, though, no one mentioned the problem with the crowds outside. The final comments from the Boss were about the necessity for a good performance to show that we were title-holders. And then it was handshakes all round and down the tunnel.

 

The Teams

Dunfermline

.Martin
W Callaghan, Lunn
McGarry, Barry, T Callaghan
Lister, Paton, Gardner, Robertson, Edwards.
Sub:  Mitchell

Celtic

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

The Play

The match had started in the best of spirits. The Celtic fans in the stadium were voluminous in their praise for the Pars side as they paraded round the pitch with the Scottish Cup.

Unfortunately, that good will vanished after only four minutes when a barrier collapsed, the players were shepherded off the pitch and both managers appealed to the younger spectators clinging precariously on the top of the enclosure.

Nine minutes later, the match re-started but within minutes a drive by Bobby Lennox hit the side-netting, the crowd swayed alarmingly and the players were off for another nine minutes.

When play did get underway again, it turned out to be a fairly even contest until the interval, with the Pars having opened the scoring through Pat Gardner in the 27th minute.

And that half-time break turned out to be a rather unusual one, as the talk inside the dressing-room – including the so-called booster from the Boss – was more about the obvious over-crowding inside the ground and the state of affairs for the fans rather than what was coming up in the second half on the pitch.

When play did re-start, there could be little doubt that we controlled the play, although we could sense on the pitch that there was some unease on the terracings and we could see that there still some fans on the roof of the enclosure. It was a most unusual atmosphere in which to play a major game but we probably deserved some praise for sticking to our task and the two goals by Lemon, in the 47th and 72nd minutes – taking his total to 20 in the last 12 league matches – gave us a victory we probably deserved.

Celtic Create Record with Lennox Goals

 

The win meant we did reach our tally of 63 points for the season, which was a new record ; as regards the attendance, no official figure was ever provided for the size of the crowd, which was a shame, as from all accounts, the previous record for East End Park would almost certainly have been exceeded.

 

Final League Table

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic     34 30 3 1 106 24 63
Rangers      34 28 5 1 93 34 61

 

Just for comparison purposes, the final table for the 1966-67 season was;

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic     34 26 6 2 111 33 58
Rangers      34 24 7 3 92 31 55

 

Aftermath

The headlines told the story of the off-pitch troubles –

49 Injured In Break-in at Celtic Game

Fans Climb Enclosure to Escape Crush

 

Reserve Match

On the same evening at a much quieter Celtic Park, the Celtic Reserves drew 1-1 with Dunfermline Reserves. The Celtic eleven was Wraith, Cattenach, Gorman, McGrain, Young, O’Neill, Clarke, Chalmers, McBride, Hay and Macari, with Lou Macari getting Celtic’s goal.


Europe’s first heart transplant patient, M Clovis Roblain, a 66-year-old lorry driver, was still unconsciousness, 40 hours after his operation at a Paris hospital.

Hospital sources said that the new heart was working well but the patient’s brain was partially blocked.

Dr Philip Bialberg, until Sunday the world’s only surviving heart transplant patient, has sent M Roblain best wishes form South Africa for a speedy recovery.

 

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27th April 1968:   Scottish Cup Final at Hampden and Rangers v Aberdeen at Ibrox

Three in a row!

Morning of the Matches

Two big games in Scotland on the same day and Celtic not involved in either of them? What an unusual situation. However, there was not much chance of our squad enjoying itself as we were told to report on the Saturday morning for a light work-out and we all duly did. We had our final match of the season coming up only three days hence but curiously enough, in between the sprints on the track, the chat was focused not on that match against Dunfermline but more on the Scottish Cup final at Hampden and the Rangers/Aberdeen clash at Ibrox. And, to be brutally honest, the game at Ibrox got more attention from us.

We were all very aware of the situation, as most of us had checked the positions of Celtic and Rangers on more than one occasion that week –

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic     33 29 3 1 104 23 61
Rangers      33 28 5 0 91 31 61

 

So, the situation was –

  1. If Rangers won, they would go back to the top of the table and we would have to take both points from the Pars at East End Park. As we had an almost unmatchable goal average figure, we would then win the title. But we would have to beat the Fifers.
  2. If Rangers drew, then, realistically, we would only need a draw to take the championship.
  3. And if Aberdeen won at Ibrox…..Hallelujah!

 

The Matches

There was a crowd of 56,365 at Hampden to see the Cup Final, quite a good figure considering that neither of the Old Firm was involved. While at Ibrox, a surprisingly low attendance of 35,814 was in attendance. At a time when Rangers still had at least a chance of winning the title, I would have thought that the figure would have been much higher than that. Or did the absentees know something that those attending didn’t?

 

The Action

Hampden. Right from the start of the match, Dunfermline seemed to have taken control of the play, pushing Hearts back into their own half but just failing to capitalize on the chances they made. It was still goalless at the interval but the Pars came out even more determined in the second half and got their reward in the 56th minute through Gardner. Three minutes later, Lister made it 2-0 from the penalty spot and although Hearts did pull one back through Moller, Gardner repeated his earlier effort in the 73rd minute to give Dunfermline a 3-1 victory.

 

Ibrox.   This match reverberated with tension. Rangers went ahead through Davie Smith in the 17th minute; Aberdeen equalized in 29 minutes. A certain Alex Ferguson put the Light Blues 2-1 ahead nine minutes after the interval; Taylor of the Dons made it 2-2 shortly afterwards then, in one of the most dramatic finishes anyone could remember or anticipate, Taylor got the winner in the 89th minute of the match. Rangers had been beaten 3-2; the title was ours, unless we lost to the Pars by some ridiculous score-line.

That night, the reports in the press were not complimentary to the Light Blues –

‘Once Rangers had surrendered a one-goal lead in 29 minutes, their play went from bad to worse so rapidly that even before the interval, every wayward pass – and there were plenty – was being greeted by derisive whistling from the frustrated thousands on the terracings’.

 

The headlines that night, of course, were split between the two matches played on the day-

Teamwork Triumphs in Final

 

Fifers’ Cup – Celtic’s Flag

 

Rangers Crash to First League Defeat

 

It was a great night to be a Celtic player or fan and I suppose we all took the chance to celebrate the moment. One of the papers put Celtic’s position in to perspective –

‘This week’s match between the new Scottish Cup holders Dunfermline and Celtic is now no more than of academic interest. Celtic go to East End Park in the knowledge that they are league champions for the 3rd successive year and 23rd time in all’.

 

Updated Table

P W D L F A Pts
Celtic     33 29 3 1 104 23 61
Rangers      34 28 5 1 93 34 61

 

On the following day, as if to rub some extra venom into the wounds of the Rangers fans, one headline provided a piece of probably unwanted advice –

Rangers Must Enter Market for Players

 

 


21 football supporters arrested during and after the Scottish Cup final between Dunfermline and Hearts at Hampden Park on Saturday will appear in court today. 14 arrested inside will appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court and the remaining 7, arrested outside, will appear at the Police Court.

One spectator arrested at the Rangers/Aberdeen league match at Ibrox will appear at the Sheriff Court and 2 more arrested outside at the Police Court.

 

 

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26th April 1968: Build-up to the final league match of the season

Two days before the Scottish Cup Final, Hearts have freed 9 players and retained 14 for next season. The shock free is left-winger Bobby Kerr, who was signed from St Johnstone for a fee of £8000 in December 1966.

The press was hardly magnanimous in its appraisal of Manchester United’s performance against Real Madrid

‘At Old Trafford last night Manchester United huffed and puffed  but they just could not blow the house of Real Madrid down. At the end of 90 minutes, all they had to show for wave after wave of attacks was the superb goal scored by George Best’.

And if you thought that those words were not very complimentary, then what about these –

‘Kidd and Aston were plodders and nothing more. Best scored his goal – and flopped. But the biggest disappointment was Pat Crerand – he had a shocker!’.

There was not a great deal of info from the team managers about the forthcoming final. Hearts were based at Crieff and Dunfermline at Dunblane but neither squad seemed to have any injury worries although one of the evening papers had an interesting piece about the goalkeeping position for the Pars –

Fifers Spring Cup Surprise

And that surprise was that, even in spite of the fact that he had put in a transfer request earlier in the month, ex-Celt Bent Matin had been chosen in goal for the Pars.

However, though one of Scotland’s big days in the national sport was taking place at Hampden, the press seemed more interested in the clash between Rangers and Aberdeen, the latter at that point lying 5th in the table, behind Celtic, Rangers, Hibs and Dunfermline – with a record of –

P          W        D         L          F          A         Pts

33         15        5         13        60        46         35

 

While the challenge of Aberdeen did get some mention, the headlines tended to concentrate on the Light Blues, this one being a perfect example –

Rangers to Keep it Boiling

 

And while all this attention was being paid to the matches at Hampden and Ibrox, over at Parkhead, we were going through our usual routine just three days away from our own big clash with Dunfermline. Everyone was fit and you could say we were raring-to-go! But we would be keeping more than half-an-eye on the score from Ibrox on the morrow.


40 bus passengers and the driver of a heavy lorry were taken to the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow after a packed double-decker corporation bus and a lorry collided.

The accident happened at the junction of Mosspark Boulevard and Corkerhill Road, Cardonald, an accident blackspot.

The injured, who included the bus driver and conductor, suffered mainly cuts, bruises and shock.

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23rd April 1968: Build-up to final league match

After the penultimate matches in the league campaign on the Saturday, the papers had large headlines about the run-in –

Lennox’s Dramatic Winner Keeps Celtic on Top

Rangers Scramble to Victory

From the reports of the match at Rugby Park, it would appear that the Light Blues had not been too impressive in their display against Kilmarnock, their winner coming in the 77th minute of the match. Mind you, that was a bit sooner than our winner at Celtic Park, which came right on the final whistle. The lateness of Bobby Lennox’s winner was also the cause of much confusion amongst Rangers fans at Rugby Park.

Having had scored late on themselves, and hearing that it was 1-1 at Celtic Park long after the final whistle in Kilmarnock, they took to the field in celebration, thinking the title was theirs. Happily from our point of view, their celebrations were short lived – thanks to Lemmon.

On the Monday we had the day off, apart from those involved in the reserve match that night at Ibrox. I never felt quite comfortable with days off. You were usually given them – at least that was the way it was done at Celtic Park in those days – at the last minute, just after the match, so there was little time to prepare anything or to arrange something. I just usually had a long lie and sort of lazed about.

I would normally have gone along to see the reserve side in action but, as the game was at Ibrox, I decided that I would give it a miss, even though the ground was just along the road from my parents’ house.

There were things happening in the football world, as I gleaned from the papers. Dates had been organised for Dundee’s semi-final ties with Leeds United in the Fairs Cities’ Cup. The first leg would be played at Dens Park on 1st May and the second leg at Elland Road on either the 14th or 21st May.

The promotion and relegation issues were settled at the weekend. Arbroath, after nearly 10 years out, would be returning to the First Division with St Mirren, while going down into Division Two would be Motherwell, for the first time since season 1953-54, and Stirling Albion.

In the build-up to the Scottish Cup final – which will take place on the 27th April – Hearts had no less that five players on the treatment table, although they were hopeful that all would be fit to travel to Crieff, their chosen base for the last few days before the match. Dunfermline, by contrast, who will use Dunblane Hydro as their base, appear to be injury-free.

At a meeting of the Football League Management Committee in London, proposals were put forward for the idea of a ‘super-league’ involving clubs in England and Scotland.

And in the Reserve match at Ibrox, Celtic beat Rangers 1-0, the only goal coming from Jimmy Quinn. The Celtic eleven was John Fallon, John Murray, Chris Shevlane, John Clark, Ian Young, Willie O’Neill, Pat MacMahon, Davie Cattenach, Jimmy Quinn, Davie Hay and John Gorman.


Mr Enoch Powell was last night dismissed from the Conservative Shadow Cabinet by Mr Edward Heath, Leader of the Opposition, who said that Mr Powell’s speech at Birmingham on Saturday was ‘racialist in tone and liable to exacerbate racial tensions’.

 

 

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