This was Jock Stein’s first season as manager of Celtic and things were going well thus far, with a League Cup win, a place in the top two of the table and a spot in the semi-finals of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup already done and dusted. Oh! I nearly forgot, there had also been a 4-0 thrashing of Stranraer in the first round of the Scottish Cup.
However, old rivals Rangers were pushing all the way in the league, so every match was crucial, like the one played on this day in 1966, a home game against a Falkirk side in 10th place in the table. Only 19,500 were there to see the encounter, for which Jock Stein put out the future Lisbon defence – Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark – behind a forward line of Johnstone, McBride, Chalmers, Auld and Hughes.
Joe McBride had been brought into Celtic Park by Jock Stein on 5th June 1965 for a fee of £22,000 from Motherwell. Joe became an instant hit in the side and was banging in the goals. In that Falkirk match, Bertie Auld opened the scoring in the 20th minute but then the Bairns held out until the half-time. After the interval, though, the flood gates opened, Joe McBride getting a hat-trick ( 51,77,89), with Bertie Auld notching another one (71) and John Hughes also getting on the scoring sheet (75).
PHOTO: JOE MCBRIDE
6-0 was the final score, the result helping to maintain Celtic’s push for the league title with eleven games left. Joe McBride eventually finished the season with 43 goals, 31 in the league, 7 League Cup, 3 Scottish Cup and 2 Cup-Winners’ Cup.