If You Know The History: 30th April 1968 Dunfermline 1 Celtic 2

30th April 1968 Dunfermline 1 Celtic 2

On this day in 1968, on a Wednesday evening, a crowd of 30,000 was literally packed into East End Park to see Celtic win a third consecutive league championship.

On the previous Saturday, Dunfermline – having already knocked out Celtic – had won the Scottish Cup with a fine 3-1 win over Hearts at Hampden. On the same afternoon, Rangers had lost 1-3 to Aberdeen in their final league match of the season. That put Celtic and its fans in a very happy position; both halves of the Old Firm were on the same points total while Celtic had by far the best goal average, having scored 102 to Rangers 93 and having lost 22 to the Light Blues’ 34. So even if Celtic lost at East End Park, they would still end up as champions.

However, that was not the way the players wanted to pick up the title and we rose to the challenge. The team that night was Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Gallagher and Hughes and we all revelled in the atmosphere. The Pars took the lead in 27 minutes through Pat Gardner but we were the better moving side on the night, got the equaliser through Bobby Lennox just after the interval and the winner, also by Bobby in 72 minutes. That meant that he had scored in every one of the final 12 league matches of the season – a remarkable record!

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In the Dunfermline side that night were the two Callaghan brothers, Willie and Tommy. Although he was on the losing side, Tommy must have caught the eye of Jock Stein, as in November of that same year of 1968, the Boss signed Tam, who became a great asset to the club over the ensuing years.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 29th April 1967 SC Final Celtic Aberdeen 0

29th April 1967 SC Final Celtic Aberdeen 0

On this day at Hampden Park back in 1967, we ran out to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final. By that time, the League Cup was already in the trophy cabinet alongside the Glasgow Cup, we were top of the table with three matches left and only three days before, we had reached the final of the European Cup by disposing of Dukla Prague. So, like every Celtic fan throughout the world, the players were dreaming of a clean sweep of trophies and were working hard to make it happen.

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Without the presence of their manager Eddie Turnbull – sidelined with illness – Aberdeen set out to play cautiously, trying to hold Celtic at bay rather than attacking. This played into our hands and we got two excellent goals from Willie Wallace on either side of half-time to pick up the trophy. The Celtic contingent in the crowd of 126,102 were delighted; three trophies were already in the cabinet and there were another two to play for. What more could you want?

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 27th April 2008 Celtic 3 Rangers 2

27th April 2008 Celtic 3 Rangers 2

On this day in 2008, this Celtic side ran out at Parkhead to face Rangers in the final Old Firm league clash of the season;- Artur Boruc, Andreas Hinkel, Gary Caldwell, Darren O’Dea, Lee Naylor, Shunsuke Nakamura, Barry Robson, Scott Brown, Aiden McGeady, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Scott McDonald.

It was a crucial match, the fourth last match of the season for both sides. Celtic were three points clear at the top of the table but had won only one of the first three league encounters, losing the other two. So, the crowd of 58,662 which had turned up had plenty to shout about and the atmosphere was the usual electric one on such an occasion.

Play swarmed from end-to-end. Scott McDonald opened the scoring in 6 minutes; Davie Weir equalised in 16; Daniel Cousin made it 2-1 for Rangers just on the half-hour mark; Scott McDonald made it 2-2 just before the interval; and Barry Robson got the winner ten minutes from time to keep Celtic in prime position to take the title.

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NB​During the course of the game, Celtic made two substitutions, Stephen McManus for Darren O’Dea and Paul Hartley for Scott Brown, so 13 players were used in total. Even though this match was played only four years ago, only one of the 13 – Scott Brown – is still playing at Celtic Park. Darren O’Dea is still a registered Celt but playing down south on loan. Of the Rangers eleven, four – Alexander, Whittaker, Broadfoot and Davis – are still at Ibrox.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 26th April 1969 Scottish Cup Final Celtic 4 Rangers 0

26th April 1969 Scottish Cup Final Celtic 4 Rangers 0

On this day in 1969, a crowd of 132,870 was at Hampden Park for an Old Firm clash in the Scottish Cup Final. The teams were;

Celtic; Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Connelly, Chalmers, Wallace, Lennox, Auld.

Rangers; Martin, Johansen, Mathieson, Greig, McKinnon, Smith, Henderson, Penman, Ferguson, Johnston, Persson.

Jim Callaghan was the referee for the occasion and he had plenty to do as, to be perfectly blunt, the tackling was intimidating if not downright brutal. In the morning’s sporting press, more than one correspondent had tipped Rangers for a surprise win and this rankled with us, every player determined to ram such prognostications down the oppositions’ throats.

We got off to a perfect through a Billy McNeill goal in 2 minutes, followed by two more by Bobby Lennox (44) and George Connelly (45). 3-up at half time, it was the happiest dressing room I was ever in at a cup final. The Boss impressed on us that Rangers would come back but we were very confident and just refused to let that happen. Another solo effort by Stevie Chalmers in 76 minutes wrapped the game up and everyone connected with Celtic could start the celebrations.

There was a price to pay, though. The SFA was apparently appalled by the ferociousness of the tackling and just before the start of the following season, all the players who had been involved in that final were ordered to report to the SFA offices in Park Gardens, where we were given a rap over the knuckles for our behaviour and advised that if it happened again, action would be taken.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 24th April 2003 Boavista 0 Celtic 1

24th April 2003 Boavista 0 Celtic 1

In the spring of 2003, the legions of Celtic fans were beginning to believe that that particular season was turning out to be one of the more important ones. Domestic trophies were one thing but European success was quite another and Celtic were going well in the UEFA Cup, having already disposed of a number of well-known sides.

In the first round, 8-1 on aggregate against FK Sudova; in round two, 2-1 versus Blackburn; round three needed the help of the away goals rule to go through against Celta Vigo after a 2-2 draw; in round four, 5-4 over Stuttgart; that was followed by a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the quarter-final; and then, in the first leg of the semi-final, they had held Boavista of Portugal to a goalless draw at Celtic Park.

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On this day in 2003, only 11,000 spectators were gathered in the Estadio de Bessa for the return leg, when the Celtic team was Rab Douglas, Johann Mjallby, Bobo Balde, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe, Neil Lennon, Paul Lambert, Stilyan Petrov, Alan Thompson, Henrik Larsson and John Hartson.

Frankly, play was quite ragged all evening, with neither side making many chances. Eleven minutes from the end, though, the Celtic fans got what they had wanted. Henrik Larsson managed to guide a speculative shot into the corner of the net and his 39th goal of the season put Celtic into the final of the UEFA Cup.

Jim Craig