50 Years On

263 Articles

7th June 1967

As I mentioned before, there were a few of our squad who were less than happy that our recently-won European title was being put up for a test against a side of Real Madrid’s quality but I am afraid that they under-estimated the Boss. Just before we headed for the stadium for the match, he announced the side, which showed two changes from the team which had won in Lisbon. The teams lined up as follows; Read More →

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6th June 1967:

As the 15 players, plus the Boss, Sean, Neilly and Bob, boarded a bus at Celtic Park to take us to the airport, one figure was getting ready to go out to the track for another session…a lonely one. Read More →

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June 1st 1967: Rangers disappontment

1st June 1967

Training had been intermittent that week and the attention of the Scottish – or more precisely the Glasgow – press had been on the build-up to the European Cup Winner’s Cup final the previous evening, when Rangers had taken on Bayern Munich in Nuremburg. Read More →

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29th May 1967: The Hangover

Di-Stefano:
Our new reputation on the line

It had been a dedicated weekend of partying to celebrate our win in Lisbon and more than one face was looking a bit worn on the Monday morning when we came in to Celtic Park.

Never one to miss an opportunity, the Boss spent a few minutes telling us what we did not do so well on the park the previous Thursday afternoon, then confirmed what we already knew, that we would be travelling to Spain to take on Real Madrid in a testimonial for Alfredo Di Stefano on the 7th June.

I was really pleased at the thought of playing in the Bernabeu against such a well-known side but was surprised to find that not everyone felt the same. The reluctant fliers, of whom there were more than one, did not want another flight; and there some who felt that to put our recently-won title of European Champions up for a test against a team of Real Madrid’s standing – they had recently won the Spanish league title – was not a bright move.

 

 

However, while those might have been the private thoughts of the individuals concerned, they were only divulged to other players and not publicly. So, after being given the news, we went out to do a light work-out and finished the session with an 8-a-side match behind one of the goals.

At one point, the ball ricocheted off someone’s foot and rolled on to the pitch itself and Wispy ran on to the surface to collect it. Suddenly, a voice roared across the deserted stadium;

“Get off that park!”

The voice belonged to Hughie Docherty, the groundsman, who like every other tender of the grass on a football pitch I have ever met, was obsessed with the quality of the surface and did not like any incursions on to it. Wispy, though, was not to be put off ;

“Ah! gie us peace. The season is finished and we’ve just won the European Cup”.

Unfortunately, Hughie was not to be deflected from his mission and opened his throat again;

“I don’t care what time of year it or what you’ve won…..get off my pitch!”

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26th May 1967: Homecoming

All the troops had gone through a late night after the European Cup final. The wives and girl-friends had arrived at the hotel after the banquet to see their men, then they left for the airport to catch their flight home.

Within a short space of time, however, they were back again as there had been a delay in their flight and it was the early hours of Friday morning before they were taken back to the airport. That meant that the guys did not get much sleep before gathering for breakfast. Still, when you have won a European Cup the night before, it gives a certain edge to your life and I, for one, never noticed the tiredness. Read More →

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25th May 1967: The Day Our Lives Changed Forever

Frankly, the events of this particular day are so etched in the minds of most Celtic fans that they do not need a detailed description, so I intend to merely comment on some topics that I think were important or unusual.

 

The Morning of the Match

Breakfast for everyone to start with then a few hours later the Catholics in the team and management went to Mass as it was Corpus Christi. We were joined by some fans too and it was a very happy atmosphere; however, the Boss was quick to get us away and back to the Palacio Hotel for some lunch.

 

Early Afternoon

I was lying in my bed trying to get some shut-eye ( Tam Gemmell was snoring his ‘heid aff’ in the adjacent bed at the time) when the door opened and Neilly Mochan walked into the room.

“You’re a bloody nuisance” he says to me.

“Why?”, I asked

“We’ve just signed a contract with Adidas for the match and you are the only one in the team who wears Pumas. Now, where’s your boots?”

“Over there”. I answered, pointing under the window.

“Well, I’ve got to take these downstairs, find some black paint to cover the white flash along the side then find some white paint to put three stripes down the outside of the boots to make them look like any other Adidas boots. You’re a bloody nuisance”

And with that, he went out of the room, leaving me wondering if the Inter Milan players were having the same kind of problems in their hotel?

 

Middle of the Afternoon

We boarded a bus outside the hotel and headed for the National Stadium. However, we seemed to have the only driver in the Lisbon area who did not know where the ground was and it was pointed out by some of the guys that all the other buses and cars were going in the opposite direction, so he turned the bus round to go along with them.

 

Pre-match

Because of our late arrival at the ground, we only had time for a quick look at the pitch before getting ready. But when we did come out, I was astonished at how many green- and-white strips were in the crowd. Don’t forget, in those days, few Glasgow people travelled abroad and even fewer flew, so how they got there was a story in itself but the important thing was that they had made the trip and we were very grateful to them for their support.

 

 

As we came out of the dressing-room, headed across the courtyard and waited at the foot of the steps leading up to the pitch, there came a surreal moment. Just as Jinky was suggesting to the future captain of Italy Giacinto Facchetti that they swap their jerseys after the match, Bertie Auld suddenly broke into the words of the Celtic Song. We all joined in and it did relieve the tension at that crucial moment.

 

The Play

Right from the start, we took the game to Inter but no sooner had the game started – or that’s how it seemed to me – when I was involved in what became known as a ‘penalty incident’.

I had been assured before the game that my immediate opponent – Cappellini – was all left foot so when he ran in on goal from the right wing, I assumed that at some point that he would pull the ball to his left. I decided that I would block any attempt to do so, but when the challenge came, he went down rather like an ageing actor and I believe the referee was completely conned by it.

 

Up in the stand behind the goal, my Dad, who had been reluctant to come as he thought that Inter would be too strong for us, turned to his brother-in-law Philip, my uncle, and declared “I’ve come all this way to see that”.

 

On the pitch, one or two players were uncomplimentary about my tackle while others told me to forget it. At half-time, Jock Stein came over with instructions to put the incident behind me and do something to redeem myself. Fortunately, everything turned out fine. This match has been shown on television and discussed so often that there is no reason for me to go into any details here. Let’s just say that everyone played their part and, from a personal viewpoint, my laying on of the equalising goal probably made up for my indiscretion in the seventh minute.

 

Post Match

It was pandemonium. I arrived back in the dressing-room minus jersey, boots and socks, holding on to shorts and jockstrap to preserve my modesty.

Later, at the so-called banquet, we waited an extraordinary length of time for the Italians to appear, then an official from UEFA put what looked very much like a shoe-box in front of Jack Stein. This was the medals for the winners and the Boss handed them out to us.

It was a rather disappointing end to a wonderful day – and a superb season.

 

 

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L Day -1: 24th May 1967

Eve of the match and after a leisurely – and early – breakfast followed by a stroll in the grounds of the hotel, we later headed off to the National Stadium for a training session on the pitch itself. Read More →

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L Day -2: 23rd May 1967

 It was a fairly excited group of players who met at Celtic Park before boarding the bus to take us to the airport for the trip to Portugal. There were 20 in the playing squad;

Simpson, Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Gallagher, Auld, Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Hughes, Lennox, Cushley, McBride, Young, Brogan and Cattenach. Read More →

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