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1st February 1969: Celtic v Hearts – League

30th January 1969

We were all in for training that morning but the session was a very limited one, really designed to take the stiffness out of our legs rather than anything else. Naturally, after an 8-1 victory the previous evening, everyone was in a good mood but when I bought a copy of one of the evening papers on the way home and noticed this comment –

‘All 9 goals last night were scored by Celtic, Tommy Gemmell having an O.G. for Thistle’s big moment of the evening’ –

I did wonder if Tam had seen it and if so, had it spoiled his evening. If he had not seen it, then I was going to take in the relevant cutting from the paper to training the next day just to remind him!

There were three other relevant comments in the paper. The first was a very brief, if clinical description of what happened the previous evening –

The Perfect Football Murder!

The second comment was a statistical note, under the heading –

 25-5 for Celtic

‘In 5 matches this season, that’s the Celtic score against the Jags, thanks to results of 4-0, 6-1, 4-0, 3-3 and 8-1’.

And the third comment referred to the forthcoming European Cup tie –

Goal Blitz Worries Milan

‘Nereo Rocco, manager of A.C.Milan, Celtic’s European Cup opponents, grimaced today when he heard of Celtic’s goal blitz last night. “Eight goals yesterday and three on Saturday makes eleven. That’s just one short of all the league goals scored by my team in October, November, December and January put together”.

31st January 1969

There was some worrying news for everyone in for training. Tommy Callaghan had been involved in a car crash while on his way through to Glasgow from Kelty, his home town in Fife. His car was apparently badly damaged but Tid – Tommy’s nickname – was OK and got permission from the Boss to do some training at East End Park.

As usual, the Boss kept his team news to himself although after a 8-1 win, you might expect that the boys on the pitch for that game might deserve another chance. You never know in football, though. Bobby Murdoch had been on the treatment table, I noticed, but when I asked, he gave me the thumbs-up sign so all seemed to be well with him.

1st February ….The Day of the Match

We reported at the usual time and could see that there was going to be a good crowd for the visit of Hearts. The weather was good, the pitch firm enough to take a stud but not too soft, just the conditions we liked. Hearts were not having a particularly good season, lying in a mid-table spot, with the classic dilemma for a team in that position, where not enough goals being scored and too many are being lost.

On the frontispiece of the match programme was a photo of the Celtic chairman, recently given a knighthood to become Sir Robert Kelly.

Just before we went out, the Boss casually mentioned that another display like the one against the Jags would be much appreciated. No pressure then?

The Teams

Celtic
Simpson
Craig, Gemmell
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld.   
Sub: McMahon

Hearts
Cruikshank
Holt, McAlpine
Anderson, E Thomson, A Thomson
Traynor, Hamilton, Ford, Fleming, Jensen.   
Sub: MacDonald

The Play

The first half was quite a competitive affair, although we did get an early goal –

13 minutes
From a cross by Stevie Chalmers, Bobby Lennox slammed the ball home. 
1-0 Celtic

From that point on, though, it was pretty much end-to-end stuff, with Ronnie having to make two outstanding saves, although both of them were based on instinct rather than design. By the break, Lemon’s shot remained the only goal but the Boss was quite phlegmatic, happy with our play but just reminding us to keep the pressure on.

In actual fact, though, Hearts started the better and made one or two chances. However, that seemed to trigger a response from us and we suddenly took control of the play, put pressure on the Hearts defence and seldom let their forwards over the halfway line. And the goals also started to go in –

55 minutes
Hearts keeper Jim Cruikshank pushed out a free- kick by me only as far as Wispy and from 25 yards, he sent a shot into the roof of the net.  2-0 Celtic

68 minutes
Nice build-up play between Wispy and Jinky, the ball reached Chopper and …
3-0 Celtic

77 minutes
Wispy hooked a shot on to the cross-bar and Jinky was on the spot to slam in the rebound from a very acute angle.  
4-0 Celtic

89 minutes
Lemon and Cruikshank got into a fankle at the edge of the box, the ball fell to Brogie, who was able to pick his spot.

Final Score   Celtic  5  Hearts  0

Reserves

Over at Tynecastle, Celtic won the reserve match against Hearts 1-0, with George Connelly getting the only goal.

Result

Aberdeen11Partick Thistle
Arbroath01Raith Rovers
Dundee United21Kilmarnock
Dunfermline20Falkirk
Hibs21Clyde
Morton11Airdrie
Rangers30St. Johnstone
St. Mirren23Dundee

Table  

TeamPWDLFAGAvPts
Celtic23165258163.6337
Rangers22145351212.4333
Kilmarnock23118440251.6030
St. Mirren23118443271.5930
Dunfermline23134648331.4530
Dundee United23134641361.1430