What Was On This Day? 2nd September 1971 Celtic 1 Feyenoord 1 Friendly

This match took place at Hampden, some 15 months or so after the European Cup Final in Milan between the same sides, when the Dutch champions won 2-1. Subsequently, unlike Celtic the year before, Feyenoord went on to win the World Club Championship, drawing 2-2 with Estudiantes of Argentina in South America in the first match, then winning the second game 1-0 in Rotterdam.

In another blog, on another site, it states that the above match was arranged as a warm-up for Celtic before they met Ajax in the European Cup. Well, as this encounter at Hampden took place on this day in 1971 and Celtic had already played Ajax in March 1971, I doubt if that could be true. Knowing the personnel involved, I would think it more likely that this match had been arranged as a sort of ‘grudge’ affair, a chance for the Celtic players to atone for their poor performance in Milan and show the Dutch side who was the better?

51,172 turned up to see the game, a truly excellent figure for a friendly. Jock Stein decided to change his system a little, playing George Connelly as an out-and-out ‘sweeper’, with myself, Billy McNeill and Tommy Gemmell just in front.

connelly
GEORGE CONNELLY

Bertie Auld, Davie Hay and Tommy Callaghan were to make up a ‘narrow’ midfield, with Bobby Lennox and Stevie Chalmers a double spearhead and Jimmy Johnstone having a roving role. The idea was to leave the wide areas free, leaving space for the full-backs and wing-halves- nowadays they would be known as wing-backs – to come forward.

By contrast with all this all-action activity on the Celtic side, Feyenoord were much more laid-back and very economical in their use of the ball. Celtic’s goal came from a Tam Gemmell penalty in 20 minutes; Feyenoord equalized 20 minutes later, when Evan Williams rather mis-punched a high ball into the middle and striker Posthumas hooked the ball over his shoulder into the net.

At the end, everyone was all friendly and a lot of back-slapping went on among the players. However, as Jock Stein shook hands with his opposite number, the look of his face was not one of contentment.

NB When Feyenoord won the World Club Championship, it was the 11th time the competition had been held. European sides had won the trophy on four previous occasions – Real Madrid 1960, Internazionale 1964 and 1965, and AC Milan 1969. The winning sides from South America were Penarol 1961 and 66, Santos 1962 and 1963, Racing Club 1967 and Estudiantes 1968.

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