After suffering the indignity of seeing their heroes beaten in the second round of the Cup Winners’ Cup of 1980 by a little-known side called Politechnica Timisoara, then watching them lose 2-1 to Juventus in the first round of the European Cup in 1981, Celtic fans were hoping for better luck in 1982. However, when the first round draw paired the Hoops with mighty Ajax, even the most fervent supporter must have felt that another early exit might have been on the cards.
However, on the 15th September 1982, in front of a crowd of 56,229 at Parkhead, goals from Charlie Nicholas ( penalty) and Frank McGarvey gave Celtic a very creditable 2-2 draw with their highly-rated opponents.
Two weeks later, on this day in 1982, with nearly 65,000 watching, the Celtic players were asked to come up with a minor miracle and did just that. After a fine move involving Paul McStay, Graeme Sinclair and Frank McGarvey, a swerving shot by Charlie Nicholas gave Celtic the lead in 33 minutes; in the 65th minute, Vanenburg squeezed the ball past Pat Bonner from 12 yards to give the Dutch champions an equaliser.
But Celtic were not to be denied. With barely two minutes remaining, substitute George McCluskey took a pass wide on the left, raced into the box and fired a low shot under Ajax keeper Schrijvers to give Celtic a well- deserved victory.
6-2 up from the first leg, Celtic travelled down to Somerset Park in Ayr on this day in 1967 for the second leg of a quarter-final League Cup tie.
Pretty sure that his side had made the semi-finals, Jock Stein took the opportunity to give a chance to some squad players, sending out a team of Fallon, Shevlane, O’Neill, Cattenach, McNeill, Brogan, Wallace, Gallagher, McBride, Auld and Hughes. From the start, Celtic controlled the play and got off to the perfect start with a goal by Jim Brogan in 17 minutes but the substantial crowd had to wait almost to the final whistle before seeing another goal, when Willie Wallace gave Celtic a 2-0 victory.
There were two other notable moments in the match, firstly when Joe McBride – most unusually – missed a penalty; then when Bertie Auld was taken off, to be substituted by a 18-year-old debutant recently arrived from Kilwinning Amateurs called Luigi ‘Lou’ Macari.
On this day in 1971, John Hughes made his final appearance for Celtic. He came on as a substitute for a certain Jim Craig in a league match against Airdrie at Broomfield, which, I have been reliably informed, was the highest ground above sea level in Scotland at that time.
John Hughes had had an excellent career with the club. A statistic of 189 goals in 416 appearances, while impressive, tells only half the story . John – otherwise known as ‘Yogi’ or ‘The Bear’ – arrived at Parkhead as a 16-year-old in 1959, made his debut at 17 and became a regular in the side shortly afterwards. Unfortunately, that meant that for almost six years – before the arrival of Jock Stein – he plied his trade at a club where the players were given little help from the managerial and coaching staff in becoming better or more effective performers. Had he been brought on by a top coach in his youth, John might have become one of the world’s greats; he certainly had the talent and physique.
As to his replacement of me in his final appearance, there is an obvious question to ask. I was at right-back, ‘Yogi’ was a forward, so the logical answer to the query is that I was injured in some way. That might be the case but I have not the foggiest idea of what happened but do notice that I was fit to play in the next match, seven days hence!
Willie Orr arrived at Celtic Park in May 1897 from Preston North End, one of the last big names to come in before Willie Maley began the policy of Celtic rearing its own players.
Willie was an immediate success, playing a solid part in Celtic winning the League title in 1898 and from that point on, was almost an ever-present at left-back or left-half as the club picked up Scottish Cups in 1899, 1900, 1904 and 1907, captaining the club on the latter two occasions. He was also in the side which relieved Rangers of the 1901 Glasgow Exhibition Cup, when Celtic beat the Light Blues 3-2 at Cathkin. And Willie led the team to the championship wins of 1904/05 and 1905/06, before handing over the captaincy to Jim Hay.
After a career lasting just over 10 years, covering 212 appearances and 23 goals, Willie Orr ran out in the Celtic jersey for the final time in an official match on the this day in 1907, when the Bhoys lost 1-2 to Aberdeen.
Paul Wilson came into Celtic Park in 1967 straight from school and started in the reserve side alongside Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain , Lou Macari and George Connelly.
Paul made his first-team debut in 1970 and gradually made his presence felt in the first team in the ensuing years, particularly in season 1974/75, when Celtic won two cups. Firstly they beat Hibs 6-3 in the League Cup final, with Paul scoring Celtic’s 3rd just after the interval and then in the Scottish Cup Final against Airdrie, Billy McNeill’s last match for the club, he scored twice in the 3-1 win.
Paul also played his part in the League/Scottish Cup ‘double’ of 1976/77, when Celtic beat old rivals Rangers in the final of the cup by a solitary goal. All in, he made 214 appearances for the Hoops, scoring 52 goals.
In Jock Stein’s final season, though, Paul appeared in the side only intermittently and on this day in 1978, he was transferred to Motherwell for a fee of around £50,000.