The season of 1975-76 did not turn out to be one of the better ones for Celtic. Before the campaign started, disaster almost struck. At the beginning of July 1975, Jock Stein was badly injured in a car crash while coming up the A74 and had to take time off from his manager’s position to recover; Sean Fallon took over in his absence. Some of the old guard had left – Ally Hunter to Motherwell, Steve Murray retired through injury – and some new boys came in, Roy Aitken, Tommy Burns and George McCluskey.
By the end of February 1976, Celtic had been beaten in the final of the League Cup by Rangers and had been knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Motherwell; but the side was still in top spot in the league.
On this day in 1976, Hibs came through to Parkhead for the third clash of the clubs that season, the results thus far being a draw at Celtic Park and a 3-1 win for the Hoops at Easter Road. Celtic’s eleven that afternoon was Latchford, McGrain, Edvaldsson, Aitken, Lynch, McCluskey, Glavin, Dalglish, Lennox, Deans, Wilson and frankly, the match turned into a rout, goals by Deans (13 ;pen), Lennox (39), Wilson (44) and Dalglish (65) giving Celtic a comfortable 4-0 win which maintained their position at the top of the table, one point ahead of Rangers.
Three more successful league outings followed – Dundee (1-0;Away), Motherwell (4-0; Home) and St Johnstone (1-0: Home) – then, unfortunately, the team’s form hit the buffers. Of the final seven league games, Celtic won only won one ( Ayr United 5-3 Away), drew two ( Aberdeen 1-1 Home ; Rangers 0-0 Home) and lost four (Dundee United (2-3; Away), Hibs (0-2; Away), Hearts (0-1; Away) and Ayr United (1-2; Home).
That left a clear run for Rangers to pick up the League Championship, which they did quite easily;-
P W D L F A Pts
Rangers 36 23 8 5 60 24 54
Celtic 36 21 6 9 71 42 48
PS Only a few weeks later, Celtic also went out of the Cup-Winners’ Cup, beaten in the quarter-finals by a side which even dedicated football fans knew little about, Sachsenring Zwickau of East Germany. An indication of the quality of this team can perhaps be provided by the result of their semi-final tie, when they were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Anderlecht.