On this day in 1967, a Celtic team comprising 10 members of the Lisbon side was warming up in the Avellaneda Stadium in Beunos Aires prior to the second leg of the World Club Championship against Racing Club.
Suddenly, goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson was felled by some form of missile thrown from the crowd, and was taken to the dressing-room for treatment. The club’s medical staff decided that he would not be up to the task of playing that afternoon so John Fallon was hurriedly brought in from the substitutes’ bench and the game began in front of a crowd of 120,000 spectators.
With Willie O’Neill in midfield, in place of Bertie Auld, Celtic tried to control the play rather than go for all-out attack, although they were quick to break forward when opportunities arose. The game was tough and uncompromising but the Hoops took the lead in 22 minutes after Jimmy Johnstone, not the for the first time, had been unceremoniously hauled down in the box.
Tam Gemmell stepped up and fairly blasted the ball into the net. The goal gave everyone in the side – and those wearing green-and-white in the stands – a great boost and we took the challenge to the home side. Racing Club, though, were quick to come back and goals on either side of the interval gave them a 2-1 win, a result which meant there would be a play-off in Uruguay.