If You Know The History – 8th March 1967 Celtic 2 Vojvodina Novisad 0 European Cup

Our first impressions of the town of Novisad were not favourable. The main roads were all paved with tarmac but turn up a side-street and it was just hardened earth or ashes. And when we arrived at their ground, the Stadium of Vojvodina, we saw that it was lit by only two sets of floodlights, one at either end…but what lighting!

They must be among the best we ever played under and were very impressive…as was their team.

For the whole of the first half, and then into the second, they threw everything at us and only desperate defending kept them out. Vojvodina got the only goal of the game in 69 minutes when Tam Gemmell was a little short with a pass-back and outside-left Stanic pounced on to it to shoot home.

Two weeks later, on this day in 1967, a huge crowd of 75,000 were jammed into Celtic Park for the second leg and they spent nearly an hour watching their team put the visitors through the mill before we got our first goal, through Steve Chalmers. That brought us level and we pushed ahead for the winner, having the bulk of the play, making some chances but being kept out  through a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping.

Just when it looked as though the tie was heading for a third match in Rotterdam, though, the break-through occurred. A corner from Charlie Gallagher on the right was flighted perfectly into the penalty area and Billy McNeil came racing forward to power the winner into the net.

mcneill

BILLY MCNEILL

The ground erupted in joy; and only minutes later, they repeated those celebrations at the final whistle.

PS In the stands that night was Joe McBride, at that point a patient in Killearn Hospital, to the north-west of Glasgow, where he had received an operation for a knee complaint. Joe had persuaded one of the surgeons there, a Celtic fan, to drive him to the ground to see the match. He came into the dressing room both before and after the game before being driven back to the hospital.

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