If You Know The History – 31st March 1965 Celtic 3 Motherwell 0 Scottish Cup Semi-final Replay

On the way to the Scottish Cup semi-final in season 1964/65, Celtic had already disposed of St Mirren (A ; 3-0), Queen’s Park ( A ; 1-0) and Kilmarnock (H : 3-2).

In the semi-final, they were paired with Motherwell, the match played at Hampden on a Saturday afternoon, the 27th March 1965. Celtic were down twice and twice pulled level, thanks to Bobby Lennox in 28 minutes and Bertie Auld from the penalty spot on the hour mark; and every Celtic fan in the crowd of 52,000 left the stadium convinced that Jimmy Johnstone was not offside in the dying seconds when he gave the pass from which Bertie Auld hooked in what appeared to be the winner. Unfortunately, the referee thought otherwise and the game finished 2-2.

In the replay, held at the same venue on this day in 1965, 58,959 turned up and they witnessed Celtic in control, the team’s strength, aggression, speed and determination just too much for the Steelmen. The goals in the 3-0 victory came from Steve Chalmers, John Hughes and Bobby Lennox, the win putting Celtic into the final where they would face Dunfermline, who had beaten Hibs 2-0in the other semi-final.

NB1.  At centre-forward for Motherwell in both matches was Joe McBride.  Indeed, he scored the Steelmen’s two goals in the first game and his overall display must have impressed Jock Stein, as the Celtic Boss put in a bid for him at the end of the season. This was accepted and Joe joined Celtic on 5th June 1965.


NB2.  Although Joe arrived at Celtic Park very early in Jock Stein’s reign at Parkhead, he was not the Big man’s first signing. That occurred the day after he took over, when he signed goalkeeper John Kennedy from Distillery on 10th March 1965 for a fee around the £5000 mark.

If You Know The History: 29th March 1919 Celtic 0 St Mirren 1 Victory Cup

29th March  1919  Celtic  0  St Mirren  1  Victory Cup

The Victory Cup competition of 1919 was run by the Scottish League and devised to commemorate the Allied victory in World War One.

In the first round, Celtic coped fairly comfortably with Vale of Leven at Parkhead on 1st March 1919 with 12,000 watching. Winger Andy McAtee and centre-forward Joe Cassidy scored the goals in the 2-0 win. Albion Rovers put up more of a fight in round two – also at Celtic Park on 15th March 1919 before a crowd of 25,000 – before going down 3-1, McAtee, Jimmy McColl and Patsy Gallacher the scorers.

Patsy Gallagher


Unfortunately, on this day in 1919, Celtic went out of the competition down Paisley way at the hands of St Mirren. The Bhoys had plenty of the play but the forward line in particular was clever but ineffective, Patsy Gallacher even missing a penalty one minute after the Buddies had scored what proved to be the only goal of the game. It was a very disappointing day for the Celtic fans making up the majority of the crowd of 25,000.

NB1. Those same fans would have been slightly mollified or even comforted later that day when they found out that Rangers had also exited the tournament at the hands of Airdrie

NB2. St Mirren won the Victory Cup final at Hampden Park on 26th April 1919, beating Hearts 3-0 after extra time before an impressive attendance of 65,000. Their players, management, directors and fans would not have been pleased to discover that, because of war shortages, no trophy was available for presentation. Instead, an old shield was presented to the Buddies until such time as a proper cup could be commissioned. Eventually, one was presented and today, both trophies are in the St Mirren Park Boardroom.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History – 26th March 1966 Celtic 2 Dunfermline 0 Scottish Cup

Halfway through March 1966, Celtic were going well, having already picked up the League Cup with a victory over Rangers and in the league, the two rivals were pushing neck and neck for the title.

On 9th March 1966, in the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Hearts, Celtic had prevailed 3-1, thanks to goals by Johnstone, Murdoch and Chalmers. Rather ironically, Willie Wallace was the scorer for Hearts. It was a special evening at Celtic Park, the attendance of 72,000 the biggest-ever for a midweek game at the ground until that time.

On this day in 1966, less than a year after the two sides had met in the 1965 Scottish Cup Final, Celtic and Dunfermline clashed again, this time in the semi-final of the 1966 tournament, at Ibrox. The Celtic team on the day was Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Lennox and that eleven gave a very controlled performance, much appreciated by the Celtic fans in the crowd of 53,900. The only disappointment was that a mere two goals were scored ( Auld, Chalmers), as Celtic had so much of the play that a bigger score-line might have been expected.


NB. In midfield that night for Dunfermiline was Tommy Callaghan, who went on to win a Scottish Cup medal with the Pars in 1968 ( after beating Celtic in the opening round) before moving to Parkhead in the autumn of 1968. Over the following eight years, ‘Tid’ made 284 appearances for the club and scored 33 goals.

If You Know The History – 24th March 1971 Celtic 1 Ajax 0 European Cup Quarter-final

The Ajax side of the early 1970s has always been regarded as one of the best-ever in football and their players certainly proved that when Celtic met them in the quarter-final of the European Cup in 1971. The first leg had taken place in Amsterdam on 10th March 1971, when the teams were;

Celtic; Williams, Craig, Gemmell, Hay, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Connelly, Wallace, Callaghan, Lennox.

Ajax; Stuy, Vasovic, Suurbier, Hulshoff, Krol, Rijnders, Neeskens, Swart, Muhren, Cruyff, Keizer.

Throughout the match, we had withstood a barrage of Ajax offensives, hardly having any chances to go on the attack ourselves. We lost goals to Cruyff in 62 minutes and Hulshoff in 70 but were more than holding our own in the final 20 minutes, a 0-2 loss quite a reasonable result to take home. Unfortunately, right on the final whistle, Keizer scored a third, which put an entirely different complexion on the situation. So, it was a far from happy travelling party which arrived back in Glasgow the following day.

Due to renovation work at Celtic Park, the return leg, played on this day in 1971, was re-scheduled at Hampden Park, where a crowd of 83,684 turned up on a fine evening. The fans were expecting a Celtic blitz and they certainly got one, as a Celtic side with three changes from the first leg pressurised the Dutch champions all the way, getting an early goal from Jimmy Johnstone in 28 minutes.


However, while we made further chances, we could not take them and Ajax held out to go through to the semi-finals on a 3-1 aggregate.

NB. Although I have no evidence to support my theory, I suspect that Jock Stein was quite annoyed that another Dutch team ( remember Feyenoord only some nine months before) had beaten his side. He did not show any anger after the match but when the team arrived back in Glasgow the following afternoon – where wives or friends were at the airport to take us home – he had organised a bus to take the players to Celtic Park and the wives were told to collect us there.

Back at the park, we were told to get into our training gear and he put us through quite a tough session of trackwork, for what reason he did not say and I could not work out. If you were looking for reasons why we lost 0-3 to Ajax in Amsterdam, then a lack of fitness would not even have been considered. Even for a top side like Celtic, which we were at that time, there are occasions when you just have to hold your hands up and admit that, over a particular 90 minutes, the opposition was better!

If You Know The History – 21st March 1908 Celtic 1 Aberdeen 0 Scottish Cup Semi-final

On this day in 1908, Celtic met Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. On their way to the final, Aberdeen had beaten Albion Rovers (3-0), Dundee (3-1; in the second replay) and Queen’s Park (3-1); Celtic had knocked out Peebles Rovers (4-0), Rangers ( 2-1 at Ibrox) and Raith Rovers (3-0).

Celtic had won the trophy the previous season, beating Hearts 3-0 in the final and they were the definite favourites for this match. They were also leading the league table, heading for a 3rd consecutive title win, while the Whites – as Aberdeen were known at that time – were in 8th place. Aberdeen’s chief hope was that ground advantage would be in their favour, as semi-finals in those days were not played on a neutral venue.

Celtic certainly put out a strong side – Adams, McNair, Weir, Young, Loney, Hay, Bennett, McMenemy, Quinn, Somers, Hamilton – but Aberdeen proved to be doughty opponents on the day, only a single goal by Jimmy McMenemy putting Celtic into the final, where they would meet St Mirren.


NB. This was outside-right Alec Bennett’s final season with Celtic. He had joined the club in 1903 from Rutherglen Glencairn and had proved himself to be a very talented and successful performer, as 53 goals in 152 appearances as a winger would suggest. However, Alec did seem to have his differences with Celtic, not only having an uncertain relationship with manager Willie Maley but, as a non-Catholic, feeling uncomfortable with the decidedly pro- Catholic ambience prevalent at Celtic Park at that time. In May 1908, Alec Bennett moved to Rangers, with whom he spent the next nine years.