If You Know The History – 26th November 1969 Benfica 3 Celtic 0

Three-up from the first leg at Parkhead, Celtic travelled to Portugal in fairly confident mood to face Benfica in the return leg of their European Cup 2nd round tie

Only 37,000 were in the Stadium of Light to see the Portuguese champions pull two goals back just before the interval and then kept the pressure on for the whole of second half, equalising in the final minute and then being the better side in extra-time

It finished as a tie over two legs , though, and by the laws of the time, that meant the winner would be decided by the toss of the coin, to be done behind closed doors

As the tired Celtic players tried to come to terms with losing three goals on the night, manager Jock Stein was told how the toss would be performed and he then summoned Billy McNeill to go with him to some room in the bowels of the stadium.

The rest of us were left in the dressing-room, tired, apprehensive about the outcome of the coin toss and well aware that we were in for a roasting, not only from the manager but also from the Scottish press on the following day.

Then, came shouts from outside the door of the dressing room and Billy McNeill raced in to give us the good news. We were through to the next round, although not by a way we wanted. The Celtic Board also felt the same way and made recommendations to EUFA which prompted the governing body to replace the coin toss with the penalty shoot-out.


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