Two great figures of the game, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly, deep in conversation. The photograph was taken in 1966 in the bowels of a football ground at a time when some re-structuring was being under-taken, to judge by the ladder and planks on the bare wooden floor.
No, it was not at Celtic Park…or Anfield for that matter. The shot was taken on the evening of Monday 21st March 1966, at Firhill, the ground of Partick Thistle, where Celtic had a league fixture with the Jags. On the previous Saturday, Celtic had thrashed Hamilton 7-1 at Parkhead, a comfortable victory entirely spoiled for me by an injury, torn ligaments in my left ankle, so I was in the stand that Monday night.
On that same Saturday, Liverpool had drawn 0-0 with close rivals Everton, a result which kept them near top in the race for the title. And when Bill Shankly heard about the Celtic match on the Monday, he would have realised it was the perfect opportunity to run his eyes over the Bhoys, as only three weeks later would come the first leg tie of the quarter-final clash between Celtic and Liverpool in the Cup-Winners’ Cup.
There is no indication on the photograph as to the time it was taken. However, I would have been surprised if any photographer would have managed to gain access to that area before the match, so I feel quite confident in stating that the shot was taken post-match. As to the subject of the discussion, well, could it have been football?
NB How times change! Just to the right of Jock Stein is the board on which were marked the winning numbers for the half-time draw. This was then carried round the pitch by a youngster so that those in the crowd could check their tickets!