50 Years On

365 Articles

28th August 1968  Morton v Celtic League Cup

26th August 1968

Training on the Monday morning was fairly light, as both the first team and the reserves had matches on the Wednesday. I noticed that Ronnie was getting treatment for a leg knock sustained against Rangers but apart from him, everyone else seemed to be OK. Read More →


24th August 1968:  Celtic v Rangers – League Cup

18th August 1968


“Old Firm” Bosses Tell Players – Relax!

With 6 days to go to the vital League Cup qualifying clash at Parkhead, Celtic and Rangers told their players “Rest and relax – we get down to business again tomorrow.

Both managers are certain that they will have a full panel of players to choose from when they start working on their line-ups. Davie White has no doubts about the fitness of Willie Henderson, while at Parkhead, Jock Stein was even more definite about the Celtic health bill. “We have nothing to worry about”, he said.

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14th August 1968:  Celtic v Morton – League Cup

12th August 1968

On the Monday after the Old Firm match, the press was still going on about the happenings off the pitch rather than those on it. This headline caught the mood –

Bigotry at Big Match Sickening

and the comments below matched the headline – Read More →


10th August 1968:  Rangers v Celtic – League Cup

7th August 1968

We were all back in for training this morning and did a pretty strong session. Even the guys who had played at Hamilton the previous evening had been told to turn up. Sean Fallon was in charge of affairs as the Boss had travelled down to Leeds who that same evening were playing Ferencvaros in the first leg of the Fairs Cup final. Trust the big guy not to miss a major occasion.

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6th August 1968:  Hamilton v Celtic –  Friendly

5th August 1968

In the days after the defeat by Leeds United at Hampden, the comments in the press were still fairly uncomplimentary about Celtic’s loss while at the same time recognising the quality of the English side. One headline singled out the visiting keeper for a special mention –

Celtic KO’d by Super Sprake

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3rd August 1968:  Celtic v Leeds United – Friendly

21st July 1968

A Sunday, which meant that I had to run the gauntlet of Celtic fans after Mass. It was getting to the ridiculous stage where even grannies who had never been to a game of football in their lives were asking questions about what was going on at training, what was Jock Stein like and so on. And, of course, the priests who said the Mass liked to have me to themselves for a short time afterwards to ask their own questions. Eventually, my Mum and Dad just went home, leaving me to deal with – as my Mother once said – my public!. And not a cup of tea in sight!

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Pre-Season 1968-69

It was an interesting summer. Initially, while the playing party was in North America, I did the occasional training session in Bellahouston Park, just along from my parents’ house. It was quiet and I could get on with my work without any outside interference. Read More →


Post-Season Affairs Part 6

27th May 1968

The day after the initial match against AC Milan was spent in New York, with the boys out and about sight-seeing and generally enjoying the atmosphere in this most fascinating of cities.


28th May 1968

The Celtic party headed for the airport and caught a flight to Toronto, where they booked into the Royal York Hotel. After the allocations of rooms and so on, the boys had a light lunch then were taxied to a specially-chosen venue for a training session.


29th, 30th and 31st May 1968

The squad just enjoyed themselves in the Canadian city. They were occasionally brought down to earth with some light sessions but apart from that, the weather was apparently wonderful, the city fascinating and a good time was had by all.


While the Celtic squad was enjoying the delights of Toronto, the players of Dunfermline were having a much tougher time on their tour of the USA. In the match between the Pars and Kansas City, for instance, played on the 30th May, both teams went to war and after pitched battles and two players going off, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The match lasted 46 minutes longer than usual because of the fights and other interruptions. One Kansas City player had to go to hospital for treatment. Still, the crowd of 10,507 certainly got their money’s worth – a match lasting for 136 minutes, punch-ups all the way and two goals thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for!


One other British side was on tour at that time in the USA. Manchester City were beaten 2-1 by Borussia Dortmund in Chicago; while in Holland, Scotland drew 0-0 with the Netherlands at Zandvoort.


1st June 1968

A crowd of 30,121 – the biggest-ever for a football match in Canada – was at the Exhibition Stadium for the second meeting of the sides. Celtic were getting to the stage where they were running out of players and for this occasion, Jock Stein fielded an eleven of Simpson, Brogan, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Wallace, Lennox, Chalmers, Gallagher and Hughes.

This was described in the local press as a ‘robust game’, with Celtic showing much better form than in the first meeting of the pair. The most crucial moments came after half-time. In the 47th minute, a shot by Wispy was deflected down by keeper Belli but only as far as Lemon and he fairly blasted the ball home for the opener.

Then, in the 64th minute, Yogi went on one of those meandering runs before passing the ball to Charlie Gallagher who calmly stroked it home.

From then on, the Celtic defence held out, although Ronnie had to be on form to deal with shots from the West German Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni and the Swede Kurt Hamrin.


Final Score  Celtic 2  AC Milan 0