16th September 1961
In an Old Firm match at Ibrox, on this day in 1961, in front of a crowd of around 70,000, Celtic and Rangers drew 2-2. It had been a fascinating contest but tragically, as the crowd was leaving after the final whistle, a barrier broke, leaving 2 dead and 60 injured.
The Bhoys’ second goal was scored by Willie Fernie, that afternoon making the 317th – and final – appearance of his Celtic career. Willie had had two spells with the club, one from 1948 to 1958, then he returned in 1960 for another stint. In between, he had played for Midddlesbrough.
Willie had missed out on the first two big moments of the 1950s – the Scottish Cup and St Mungo Cup victories in 1951 – but he played a major part in the Coronation Cup win in 1953 plus the League/Scottish Cup ‘double’ of 1953/54, his meandering dribble along the bye-line and fine pass setting up Sean Fallon for the winning goal against Aberdeen at Hampden in the SC Final. And, of course, he was in the side which thrashed Rangers 7-1 in the League Cup final of 1957, scoring the 7th from the penalty spot.
Willie was also in the Scottish international side which went to successive World Cup Finals in 1954 and 1958 and returned to Celtic Park as coach in 1967. Willie was a most pleasant man and this photograph, taken around the early 1970s, shows him in characteristic smiling mode alongside one of the guys helping to re-develop the South Stand at Celtic Park at that time.