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7th September 1968: Clyde v Celtic –  League

2nd September 1968

While most of us got the day off, others were involved in training for the Inter-League match on the Wednesday. And when I bought one of the evening papers, I found out a lot more about this match under quite eye-catching headlines –

FLU Blow for Scotland                            

OUT: Gemmell ; Johnstone                                

IN: O’Neill ; Henderson

And there was also a message from the Scottish team with a Celt’s performance at the weekend in mind –

Five Goal Lennox Warns Irish

 

3rd September 1968

Back in for a session. Tam and Jinky were missing and we were told that they would be kept away from the club until their symptoms cleared. The rest of us certainly looked and from a personal point of view, I felt good as well.

One evening paper had an interesting story –

Referee to Stop the Celts

‘Billy Lamont, the 32-year-old Hamilton keeper who faces the full might of Celtic’s shooting power in the League Cup quarter-final tie at Celtic Park on Wednesday September 11th and at all-ticket Douglas Park a fortnight later, is a fully-qualified SFA referee – a reminder that 6 years ago he considered his playing career almost over’.

 

4th September 1968

No sign of Jinky or Tam at training but we were told that both were recovering well and would be in later in the week. The rest of us put in a hard shift and then could go and do whatever we wanted. I had assumed that I was up-to-date on all things Celtic at that time. However, as often happened, over dinner in my parents’ house, my Dad asked me about a story he had read in that night’s paper and as usual, I did not know anything about it. When I read it myself, though, I agreed that it was interesting –

‘Celtic’s ‘safety game’ after next Saturday’s ‘Old Firm’ clash at Parkhead will be between Celtic Boys’ Club (U-14s) and St Benedict’s School, Easterhouse.

The Kearney, New Jersey, supporters will present a trophy to the winners. The reason for the game is that Jock Stein thinks it will prevent trouble between the rival fans after the main match. The Celtic fans will stay on to watch the second game and this should prevent clashes between the two sets of fans in the streets’.

5th September 1968

The result of the match against the League of Ireland at Dalymount Park might have pleased the home fans but the Scottish team got slaughtered in the following day’s press, as these headlines might suggest –

League of Ireland  0  Scottish League  0

No-Plan Scots Gigantic Flop

 

The wording under the headlines was no kinder, with the manager, his selection and the players involved all getting a going-over. And, in terms of injuries, Celtic seemed to have come out of the match particularly badly –

Murdoch  – Badly torn ligaments

O’Neill      –  Forehead gash

Wallace    –  Twisted ankle

 

As you might imagine, all of this was the subject of much discussion as those back at Celtic Park went about our normal training routines.

6th September 1968

The usual fairly light day-before-the- match session and then a briefing from the Boss about the team for the Clyde game. And ‘brief’ was the word. “Joe McBride was back in the side, as would be Tam and Jinky; but the three injured in Dublin would not make it”. Into the dressing-room and back out again in 15 seconds!

 

The Day of the Match

As Shawfield was only about 15 minutes away from Celtic Park, we did not report until about 1pm and the bus did not pull away till nearer 1.45pm. This match had been designated as all-ticket and as we neared the ground, we could see why, as thousands were beginning to gather in the vicinity. Fortunately, it was a fine afternoon so they could enjoy the weather while looking forward to the contest.

The Teams

Clyde

McCulloch
Glasgow, Mulhearn
Burns, Fraser, McHugh
McFarlane, Hood, Staite, Stewart, McGregor.
Sub:  Delaney

Celtic

Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Brogan, McNeill, Clark
JJohnstone, Lennox, McBride, Connelly, Hughes.
Sub: Chalmers

The Play

Right from the start of this game – and to be blunt, all the way through it – we were in control of the play and Clyde’s forwards seldom made a decent attacking adventure. At the same time, it would be honest to admit, that while we did have the vast majority of possession, we were not in a good frame of mind to use it. Frankly, we stuttered!

Our attempts at coming forward were laboured, we missed a number of very good opportunities to put the pressure on the home defence inside the box and we missed a number of good chances. The fans were pleased by an early goal –

25 mins….from McBride to Hughes to Connelly to Brogan and Jim sent a cracker into the net from all of 25 yards. 1-0 Celtic

That, frankly, was the highlight of the match. We must have had in the region of 80% of possession and were coming forward constantly but it was not fluent. The fans realised that and started showing their disappointment, having to wait till near the end to see further goals, Bobby Lennox blasting home from short range in the 81st minute and Tam Gemmell scoring from the penalty spot two minutes later.

Final Score  Clyde  0  Celtic  3

 

Reserves

In a Reserve League match at Parkhead that same afternoon, Celtic beat Falkirk Reserves 4-0. The team was Fallon, McGrain, Gorman, Dalglish, Hay, Cattenach, Wilson, Gallagher, McMahon, Quinn and Macari, with the goals coming from Jimmy Quinn (2), Charlie Gallagher and Lou Macari