26th January 1966 Dinamo Kiev 1 Celtic 1 Cup Winners’ Cup QF 2nd Leg
Forty seven years ago this week, Celtic embarked on what turned out to be the most fascinating – or possibly frustrating – European trip ever, one in which I played a major part. Let’s cast our minds back to the crucial moments of the journey;-
Sunday morning 23rd January 1966;
9.15 am. Leave Celtic Park by bus for Prestwick Airport.
12 noon. Our Aer LIngus plane takes off for Copenhagen, where we arrive at 1.30pm
3.30pm. We depart for Moscow. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, there would appear to have been some problem showing up on the pilot’s screen – later rumour suggests that it was to do with the under-carriage – and it is announced over the speakers that we would circle the airport for a while to burn off fuel before landing again.
6pm. We leave from Kastrup Airport again and eventually arrive in Moscow at around 8.40pm. A bus takes us to our overnight hotel, the Metropole. We have a nice meal – thanks to our own chef and the food we took with us – before heading for bed.
Monday morning. We have the chance to see round Moscow and take in all sights. It is bitterly cold.
PHOTO TAKEN IN FRONT OF THE BASILICA OF ST BASIL –FROM LEFT, HUGHES, CRAIG, JOURNALIST CYRIL HORNE, MCNEILL, CHALMERS
12 noon. We head for the airport and board our plane for the flight to Tbilisi in Georgia. We arrive late afternoon in the capital of Georgia, where, much to our delight, it is warm and sunny. Our hotel is the Hotel Tbilisi.
MAP SHOWING SITE OF TBILISI
Tuesday Morning. We get the chance to have a look round the city, especially the bazaars.
PHOTO From left, Hughes, McNeill, Chalmers.
Tuesday afternoon. We head for the stadium – the Dynamo Stadium – and do a brisk work-out. The local fans, many of them in broad-brimmed caps, turn in their hundreds to see the visitors.
Wednesday. Late Afternoon. The match begins. As Dinamo Kiev are 0-3 down from the first leg, naturally they come at us to try to reduce the deficit. We weather the initial storm but they took the lead through Sabo in 22 minutes and increased the tempo even more. Tam Gemmell scored the equaliser nine minutes later but unfortunately, the match then descended into something of a rough-house, with some heavy tackling the norm.
My own opponent, Khmelnitsky ( Shown here)
and I were having a constant go at each other and at one point, he shoved me in the chest and shouted something, presumably in Ukrainian. Now, being a Glaswegian, I was quite used to being shouted at, so I merely said something like “Ah! gie us peace” and glowered back at him. Then someone else punched me from the side, catching me on the cheek, the teeth inside ripping into the flesh. At that point, I swung round to retaliate but the other players on the field, the linesman and the referee all rushed across to stop the situation getting out of hand. Eventually, peace was restored but, I think in order to make his presence felt, the referee ordered Khmelnitsky and I off, the two of us being escorted to the dressing rooms by a couple of Red Army soldiers, many of whom were seated in the bottom rows of the stands.
The match finished 1-1 and we were through to the semi-final of the Cup-Winners’ Cup. However, before we got home, there were more delayed flights and a tour round northern Europe. There were also repercussions for me, the manager and the club……….but that story is for a later day!