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9th September 1967: Celtic v Clyde – League

6th September 1967

The papers were in full flood, raving about our performance against Penarol the previous evening. The headline writer was especially effusive –

 

On Top of the World

‘Roque Maspoli, manager of 1966 World Club Champions Penarol of Uruguay, eased his 6 feet plus frame into a comfortable position on a chair and then in one word – ‘Magnificent’ – gave his opinion on the Celtic team who beat Penarol at Parkhead last night’.


It had been a good performance. When that happens, the players are well aware of it on the park, realising that it is one of those occasions when everything goes to plan, the difficult passes come off and the chances are taken. And on Tuesday evening, that is exactly what was happening…..until that South American so-and-so caught me at the junction of shin and calf.

I had kept the packing on all night and made my way up to Parkhead the following morning, frankly feeling very sorry for myself. When I got on the table and Bob Rooney took the dressings off the wound, it looked awful, swollen, inflamed and still bleeding slightly. He washed it with warm water and some form of disinfectant – none too gently I thought, although I might have been feeling a bit precious at the time – before closing the area again with plasters, the medical staff having come to the decision that stitching the area might cause even more problems.

I was then ‘advised’ that rather than sitting down, a gentle walk round the track might be more beneficial. I was tempted to ask “beneficial to whom?” but I thought that might sound a bit cheeky and just bit my tongue and got on with the walk.


And while all this was going on with me in the treatment room, a bus had arrived to take the players down to the Inverclyde National Recreational Centre at Largs for an overnight stay. Apparently, that afternoon, while I was still doing these intermittent walks round the track, a few were golfing, others just relaxing.

The Boss, meantime, had shot off to Leeds to see the local side take on Dinamo Zagreb in the second leg of the 1966-67 Fairs Cup final, having lost the first leg 0-2 in Yugoslavia. It would not have been a happy night in Yorkshire for the supporters of ‘The Whites’, as the match ended in a 0-0 draw, making the Slavs winners on aggregate.


7th September

The guys all arrived back again after their short break and I continued my lonely trek round the Parkhead track. The groundsmen on duty were very solicitous, continually asking me how I was feeling. As the shin was – to use a technical expression – still ‘louping’ I was in two minds how to reply but decided to thank them for their courtesy and lie through my teeth that I was feeling better!

As the first league match of the season was coming up on the Saturday, against Clyde at Celtic Park, the press was full of stories about how Celtic would perform in the new campaign and which other side would be most likely to mount a challenge to us. But the headline accompanying the story suggested that we were ready too;           

Flag Happy Celtic All Set

 

8th September

As I continued my lonely walks round the pitch, I got a surprise. When I came round the bend at the Celtic End and headed east in front of the South Stand, who should I see standing at the bottom of the tunnel but the Boss. And he was smiling. As I approached he even laughed “I’ll bet you are bored out your skull” he asked. When I admitted that his assessment was perfectly true, he just laughed again and told me that there was no point in risking further damage to the leg by playing too soon. There were bigger matches that Clyde coming up on the horizon and he wanted me fit for them. So, I was to just do what I had been told and put as little pressure on the cut as possible.

He then headed back up the tunnel and I continued my walking, suddenly feeling ten feet tall!

 

There was a match that night at Hampden which I was told not to attend. It was between the Queen’s Park first team and the Celtic Reserves, with us winning 9-1. John Hughes and Joe McBride were playing and did well, Joe scoring 2 and Yogi one. The others came from Jimmy Quinn (4), Sammy Henderson and Lou Macari.


 

Morning of the Match

 

The rest of the guys had been told to report one hour before the kick-off. I was in two hours before that for a check on the shin, some treatment and guess what?….yes, some walks round the track. I was pleased to say that the walking was getting very much easier, although if you touched the site of the damage with any thing heavier than a feather, I just about hit the ceiling. And I was still remembering the guy from Penarol in my prayers!

 

We were another man down, apparently. Wee Jimmy had phoned in with ‘flu, so the Boss was having to do a bit of juggling with the squad before announcing the side.

 

The Teams

Celtic
Simpson, Shevlane, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Chalmer

s, McMahon, Wallace, Auld, Lennox.
Sub: Hughes

Clyde
Wright
Glasgow, Soutar
Anderson, Fraser, McHugh
McFarlane, Hood, Gilroy, Staite, Hastings.
Sub: Steele

 

When you are a regular member of the team and you do pick up an injury, the period when you are out is dreadful. You are part of the squad yet you do not feel part of it. When all the chat is going on in the foyer and the players are heading out and back from having a look at the pitch, you do not feel as though it is anything to do with you. When the Boss is giving the side a pep-talk before the match – and even if, as happened in this case, he specifically motioned for me to come into the dressing-room – you feel that you are an outsider. And eventually, since you begin to feel that you are just getting in the road, you move back out to the foyer, to speak to the other guys not needed.

 

The Play

The afternoon started well for Celtic, when Mrs Kelly, the wife of Chairman Robert Kelly, unfurled the League flag, a moment much appreciated by the Celtic support in the crowd, estimated at around 37,000.

I never enjoyed watching the first team in action, as firstly I always thought that I should have been out there ( you even think that when you are injured) and secondly, you tend to kick every ball right through the 90 minutes. But in terms of possession and chances, we were in a different league to Clyde and soon put some goals on the board –

12 minutes
Bertie to Stevie and then a cross into the middle, where Pat McMahon steered it home. 1-0 Celtic

37 minutes
another cross, this time by Stevie and Lemon’s diving header gave the Clyde keeper no chance. 2-0 Celtic

44 minutes
this time Lemon set up Bertie and he lashed it home. 3-0 Celtic

 

And that was the score at half-time, which would have made the dressing-room a very happy place. I felt out of things so I did not go into the dressing room at the interval but sat in the tea room, where the girls serving the guests of the Board were nicely sympathetic. The talk, naturally, was about football but there was also sympathy for the families of the 11 miners who had been killed at a pit in East Wemyss, Fife the previous evening.

It had been a bit one-sided in the first half, to be perfectly honest, and I was expecting it to be the same after the interval. And, to be blunt, it was. The reason there were no more goals, though, was down to Clyde’s goalkeeper, who had a wonderful afternoon, saving them from all angles. Without him it could have been a cricket score.

There was one controversial moment in the second half which was nothing to do with the actual play but more a question of the rules. After 10 minutes, the Boss replaced Steve Chalmers with John Hughes, although Yogi was not a happy man coming off. He did not seem to be injured in any way and that brought about some controversy. Apparently, the rules up to that point had been interpreted that the 12th man was there as a sub for an injured player. Jock Stein made his own interpretation of that saying that he was allowed to use 12 players and that there was no point in having 12 if you did not use them. He also was adamant that it was within the rules.

It was later suggested that Stevie had been brought off to keep him fit for the Rangers match the following weekend.

 

It was probably just as well that the substitution had provided a topic of discussion in the second half as the play was completely one-sided and Clyde were lucky to get away with only a 0-3 loss.

 

Other Results

Aberdeen 4 2 Dundee
Dundee United 2 2 St. Johnstone
Falkirk 0 0 Stirling Albion
Hearts 1 4 Hibs
Kilmarnock 3 1 Morton
Motherwell 1 2 Airdrie
Partick Thistle 0 2 Rangers
Raith Rovers 1 2 Dunfermline

Dates

Celtic have fixed their World Club Championship dates – by kind cooperation of both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish League.

The two most important games ever to be played by a British club will take place against Racing Club of Argentina on 18th October at Hampden and 1st November in Buenos Aires.

 

Good Boys

In the section of the evening paper covering junior football, there was a comment about two recent Celtic signings;

‘Celtic made a shrewd move when they signed teenage starlets Billy Murdoch (brother of Bobby) the Kilsyth Rangers inside-left and Kenny Dalglish the Cumbernauld United inside-right.

I was impressed with the senior potential of Billy and Kenny when Kilsyth and Cumbernauld clashed in a Dunbartonshire Cup tie at Duncansfield Park