Celtic had taken part in the rather unusual Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup in 1960 but their first-ever tie in a major European tournament came on 26th September 1962, a Fairs Cities Cup tie in the Luis Casanova Stadium against Valencia, when Bobby Carroll, at centre-forward that night, became the first Celtic player to score in Europe as the Hoops went down 4-2.
On this day in 1962, the teams ran out at Parkhead for the return leg. It was a big night for Celtic fans and 45,000 of them turned up. The line-up that night was Frank Haffey, Dunky McKay, Willie O’Neill, Pat Crerand, John McNamee, John Clark, Stevie Chalmers, Bobby Craig (making his first-team debut), John Divers, Charlie Gallagher and Alec Byrne.
The eventual score of 2-2 accurately reflected the run of play. Celtic spurned a great opportunity to take the lead in the 17th minute when John Clark missed a penalty and the fans had to wait until the 48th minute before an own-goal gave Celtic the lead. Valencia then hit back with goals in the 63rd and 80th minutes before Pat Crerand equalised with five minutes left.
So, the first-ever venture into Europe ended with a 6-4 defeat on aggregate. Fortunately, there were better days coming up.