If You Know The History: 31st December: by Jim Craig

31st December 1966 Dundee Utd 3 Celtic 2

In that clean-sweep season of 1966/67, Celtic were firing on all cylinders as the New Year approached. By Hogmanay, they were unbeaten, 16 matches played, 13 wins, three draws, 56 goals for and 20 against.

Ronnie Simpson was the regular custodian; Tam Gemmell and Willie O’Neill were the full backs; Billy McNeill and John Clark in central defence; Bobby Murdoch and Bertie Auld controlled the midfield; and the other forward duties had been shared among Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox, Joe McBride, Charlie Gallagher, Steve Chalmers, John Hughes and Willie Wallace.

On this day in 1966, the team ran out at Tannadice to face Dundee Utd. Bobby Lennox opened the scoring in 12 minutes, United equalised two minutes later. Willie Wallace made it 2-1 in 23 minutes but goals in 72 and 75 minutes gave Utd a 3-2 lead which they held to the end, inflicting Celtic’s first defeat of the league campaign.

Above: Jim Craig

Jock Stein was not a happy man and decided on some changes for the next game, dropping Willie O’Neill, moving Tommy Gemmell back to the left-back slot he was more comfortable in and bringing in a young guy called Jim Craig at right –back. It seemed to work; Celtic scored 24 goals in their next 6 matches, while conceding only 2.

Jim Craig


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