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.