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24th March 1969 Celtic v Hibs  League

23rd March 1969

We actually got the Sunday off, although there was another match coming up on Monday evening. Mass on a Sunday morning was always the time when I had most close contact with Celtic fans and that morning was no different. They crowded round afterwards to ask their questions and you could almost anticipate their response. They were pleased that we had manage to reach the Scottish Cup final but – like the more experienced players – there was still an air of disappointment at our exit from the European Cup at the hands of A.C. Milan.

Eventually, the Parish Priest came out of the sacristy and told them politely to give me a bit of piece. He took me into the chapel house for a cup of tea and then started to ask me questions too! Apart from that, it was a pretty lazy Sunday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

24th March 1969    The Day of the Match

We had been brought in during the afternoon for a little workout, some running and callisthenics designed to get rid of any stiffness from the match against Morton. We were then taken by bus for the pre-match meal before coming back to Parkhead for the match.

The press had gone to town on the fact that the Scottish Cup final would be between Celtic and Rangers –

Battle of the Giants

Rangers: Roll on April 26  Say Ibrox Fans
Celtic:
  Billy Bounces Back Into Favour       

One piece of not-so-good news was that Tommy Gemmell had picked up an ankle injury against Morton and would miss not only the game against Hibs but also the Scottish League match against the English League at Hampden on the Wednesday.

And, just when we thought that the disappointments of the A.C. Milan match were behind us, we could not help but notice a report in one of the evening papers that Pierino Prati – yes, the guy who scored the only goal of the two matches against the Italian Champions – had scored a hat-trick on Sunday when A.C. beat Bologna 4-0.

The Teams

Celtic

Fallon
Craig, O’Neill
Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Auld, Hughes.   
Sub: Hood

Hibs

Allan
Shevlane, Davis
Blackley, Madsen, Stanton
Marinello, McGraw, McBride, Cormack, Stevenson.  
Sub: Grant

The Play

With two ex-Celts in Shevlane and McBride in the Hibs line-up, we certainly knew that the Edinburgh side had quality in their ranks and we worked hard to make our presence felt in that first half –

‘Jeers turned to cheers and 30,000 Celtic fans danced with delight on the Parkhead terracings last night as the news of Rangers’ sensational defeat by Airdrie blared over the public broadcasting system.

Until that announcement, the Celtic fans had every reason to feel a little peeved at their team. For this was a real Jekyll and Hyde affair from Celts.

From their magnificent, aggressive play in a pulsating first half, they changed into a stumbling, awkward outfit who almost paid the full penalty for their second half errors.

But the news that their great rivals had lost brought joy to the fans, for it meant that instead of dropping a vital point they were now THREE clear of Rangers in the race for the title’.

Perhaps a trifle critical but probably a fairly accurate review of the proceedings. We were well on top right from the start and made a crucial early breakthrough –

14 minutes…..from Yogi to Bertie on the left touchline, a nice cross into the middle and Wispy out-jumped the Hibs defence for the opener.   1-0 Celtic

 That control lasted till the interval but after the break, it was as if we could not do anything right. We were fairly sloppy at the back, gave the ball away in midfield and could not get a shot on target up front. Hibs did pull one back in 72 minutes – Joe McBride naturally – and that seemed to waken us up, although it would also be fair to say that we did have to make some goal-line clearances in the last 15 minutes. However, at the whistle, the score was still Celtic 1 Hibs 1.

Then, just as the disappointed crowd were leaving the stadium, the news came though about Rangers. Glory be!

Perhaps a trifle critical but probably a fairly accurate review of the proceedings. We were well on top right from the start and made a crucial early breakthrough –

14 minutes…..from Yogi to Bertie on the left touchline, a nice cross into the middle and Wispy out-jumped the Hibs defence for the opener.   1-0 Celtic

That control lasted till the interval but after the break, it was as if we could not do anything right. We were fairly sloppy at the back, gave the ball away in midfield and could not get a shot on target up front. Hibs did pull one back..

72 minutes …Joe McBride naturally – and that seemed to waken us up, although it would also be fair to say that we did have to make some goal-line clearances in the last 15 minutes. However, at the whistle, the score was still Celtic 1 Hibs 1.

Then, just as the disappointed crowd were leaving the stadium, the news came though about Rangers. Glory be!

Other Results

Aberdeen 2  Dunfermline  2        
Airdrie 3 Rangers 2         
Hearts 2 Morton  2