On this day in 1966, there was a crowd of around 20,000 packed into Love Street, in Paisley, the home of St Mirren for the visit of Celtic in a League Cup tie. Knowing the fervour of the Celtic support, you can bet that at least half of the crowd would have been supporting the Hoops and, although they would not have been aware of it at the time, they were to be witness to an historic moment in the history of the club.
The Celtic team that day was Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeil, Clark, Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Lennox, Gallagher; the side won 1-0 to clinch a place in the quarter-finals ; and the historic moment came in the second half when Jimmy Johnstone went off and was replaced by Willie O’Neill, who became Celtic’s first-ever substitute.
PHOTO CELTIC; WILLIE O’NEILL SECOND FROM RIGHT, BACK ROW
Just two months later, a certain Jim Craig also got into the history books when he became Celtic’s first league substitute, coming on for Charlie Gallagher when Celtic beat Stirling Albion 7-3 at Celtic Park on 2nd November 1966. On 18th February 1967, Willie Wallace became the first substitute in the Scottish Cup, replacing Bobby Murdoch in the 7-0 rout of Elgin City. ‘Wispy’ also became the first substitute to score.
Willie Wallace was a busy man in those days. He became Celtic’s first European substitute when he came on for Steve Chalmers in the 1-1 draw against Red Star Belgrade on 27th November 1968. And Steve Chalmers himself was the first substitute in a Hampden cup final when he replaced John Hughes in the 1-0 League Cup final win over Rangers on 29th October 1966. John Clark was the first substitute in a Scottish Cup Final, replacing Jim Brogan during the Old Firm Final of 26th April 1969; and George Connelly, who took over from Bertie Auld in the European Cup final against Feyenoord in 1970, was the first substitute in a European final.