When it came to League Championship success, the early 1960s was not Celtic’s best period! By mid-December in season 1963-64, for instance, Celtic were lying in 5th place in the table – behind Kilmarnock and Rangers, ahead of Dunfermline and Dundee – and on this day in 1963, players , management and directors travelled through to Tynecastle to meet Hearts in a league match.
The Gorgie Road club was only a few points behind Celtic in the table, so it was an important game for both sides. Manager Jimmy McGrory put out a side of John Fallon, Ian Young, Tommy Gemmell, John Clark, John Cushley, Jim Kennedy, Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Murdoch, Steve Chalmers, John Divers and Bobby Lennox; in the Hearts team were two future Celts, Chris Shevlane at right-back and Willie Wallace at centre-forward.
For the whole match, play was tight, defences were on top, chances were few. Hearts opened the scoring through White in 22 minutes, Celtic equalised thanks to Divers four minutes before half-time. And although both sides put in a great deal of effort in the second period, there was no further scoring. This was more of a disappointment for the Celtic faithful as Hearts had been without right-half Polland for almost the whole of the second half, an injury causing him to leave the field.
NB Celtic might not have set the heather on fire with their performances in the league but they did reach the semi-final of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup.
PS After leaving Celtic in 1984, Brian Whittaker moved to Hearts.
PPS With which club did Willie Wallace start his senior career?