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Cesar & Harry Melrose

Cup Final day: Celtic v Aberdeen – Part Two

Morning of the Match

I had learned to control my eating patterns before matches so as to feel at my best for kick-off time, so I was up fairly early on that Saturday morning and having breakfast just before 9am.

Corn flakes with a banana (or two) on top were the order of the day and all this washed down with some pineapple juice and tea. Then I got back into bed for an hour or so before getting ready for the trip up to Parkhead. It was an amazing journey as there was little traffic on the road; everybody going to the game was heading south while was going east, so I was there in no time. Well, that’s not strictly true but you know what I mean?

 

Cesar &
Harry Melrose

The guys were in good form. They were as high as kites, to be honest! There is something about playing in a Scottish Cup final that does make you feel good. It was the first of the major competitions to get underway in the 1870s, it still ranks highly among the players and for the days preceding the final, both clubs – and their players – are the centre of attention in all the newspapers. What is there not to like about it?

 

This one would be a tough one to win. In spite of all the positive noises in the previous day’s press about how Celtic would triumph, we were not taking anything for granted. After all, only 10 days before, the league match between these two sides had ended in a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park and we knew that the Dons players would have been given a real boost by that result and would be up for the final. We could take nothing for granted.

And that was the attitude running right through the club, from the directors to the players. Everyone respected the quality of the Dons and knew it would be tough; the thing to do in that situation is rise to the challenge and without saying too much about it, I could sense that all the guys, myself included, were determined to be up for it.

 

As we boarded the bus to take us over to the hotel for pre-match lunch, anyone watching us would have thought that we did not have a care in the world but that was merely a façade. Inside, the butterflies were fluttering and the determination rising. During the meal, the Boss was his usual phlegmatic self, the coaching staff was keen to help in any way and the guys laughed and joked as normal. Then, we got back on the bus again for a journey we all loved, the trip over to Hampden through the crowds.

 

When people ask me what I miss most from those days, this journey would rank high in any list. There was something magical about blasting through the streets of my native city – with two police motor-cyclists clearing the way – and taking the applause, and occasional boos, from the crowds also making their way to the game, albeit in a much slower fashion.

Then, the turn into the drive which takes you down to the stadium itself and a slow procession down to the front entrance, the door of the bus opening right outside and the walk into the foyer and then towards the tunnel, out to see the state of the pitch and take in the atmosphere about an hour before kick-off. It really did something for one’s morale. It made me think ; “I am taking part in this occasion, you can’t get much luckier that that”.

The team had been announced the day before, so that was all taken care of. And the Boss merely went over the tactics he had mentioned the day before almost flooring us with a piece of news that nobody had been expecting. Apparently, Aberdeen manager Eddie Turnbull had been taken ill and would not be attending the match. We were sorry for him; certainly, on the occasions that I had spoken to him he had come across as a nice man and we all wished him a speedy recovery.

 

The Teams

Celtic

Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Clark
Johnstone, Wallace,Chalmers, Auld, Lennox.
Sub: Hughes

Aberdeen
Clark
Whyte, Shewan
Munro, McMillan, Peterson
Wilson, Smith,Storrie, Melrose, Johnston.
Sub: Taylor

 

The Play

Close call as Lemon shoots over

It was a 4th outing for the team which eventually became known as the ‘Lisbon Lions’.

 

My recollection of this match is that, right from the start, we took control of proceedings, passed the ball round well, kept the Dons defence busy and coped effectively with any of Aberdeen’s sporadic attacks.

Sometimes, what you recall can be slightly different to what someone else thought but in this case, these lines from the report of the match in one of the leading Scottish papers of the day would tend to back up my own thoughts –

‘For their more positive approach to the game, Celtic thoroughly deserved to beat Aberdeen on Saturday at Hampden, win the Scottish Cup for the 19th time and thus equal the record of their arch-rivals, Rangers, in this competition.

Often in a cup final the stark prospect of defeat leads to over-anxiousness among the players and the game is dragged down to a moderate standard. Such was the case on Saturday when, because of Aberdeen’s unrealistic dedication to caution, play rarely reached the level of entertainment and skill which the crowd of 126,102 had every reason to expect’.

 

The goals came on either side of half-time;

Jinky acclaims Lemon after he set up goal #1

43 minutes: a well-worked corner between Bertie and Lemon allowed Bobby the chance to beat a couple of men then cut the ball back across goal where Wispy was waiting at the far post to knock it home.  1-0 Celtic

 

49 Minutes: Chopper to Stevie, then Jinky, a pass to Wispy who caught it on the volley. 2-0 Celtic

 

The Dons did come out a bit after the second goal but, in truth, it was a half-hearted effort and we comfortably held out for the remainder of the match. And there were special celebrations at the end for Ronnie, Wispy and myself, who were all picking up a Scottish Cup winner’s medal for the first time. And it was a quite an experience for us all to go up to the presentation area to collect the trophy and our medals with all the fans cheering us all the way. A memorable day.

 

The dressing – room, as you might imagine, was euphoric but in the midst of the celebrations, the Boss called for a bit of quiet and reminded us all that we had another important league match against Dundee United on the Monday, we would be back in tomorrow – Sunday – morning for  some light training, so be careful in our celebrations.

The guys all listened in respectful silence – although as I looked round did I catch a twinkle in more than one eye!

 

Wispy’s double wins us the cup!
© Celtic View


Death

Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was killed today at the end of his space flight. Komarov, the first Russian in space for two years, is  the first astronaut to die during a flight.

The news was released by Moscow radio and television. It said that Komarov died when the strings of the parachute slowing the fall of his spacecraft became entangled at a height of 4.3 miles above the earth.

 

Hijack

Gunmen in civilian clothes hijacked a Nigerian Airways air liner while it was in flight.

They diverted it with about 20 passengers to Enugu, capital of the eastern region of the country, which is in dispute with the Federal Government over a new constitution.

The plane, a 42-seater Fokker Friendship turbo-prop was on a scheduled flight from Benin in mid-west Nigeria to Lagos.

 

Interest

Members of a trading mission from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce visited St Etienne in France last week – and found that considerable interest is being taken there in the achievements of Celtic.

Their team is leading the French league and is wondering if the Glasgow side will be among its opponents next season.