As you can probably imagine, the summer of 1967 had been a most enjoyable time for the players known as the Lisbon Lions. Recognised and feted wherever we went, it seemed to be one long party atmosphere, so the return to pre-season training came as something of a surprise, if not shock!
Right from the start of the season, we were involved on several fronts. The League Cup campaign – with a tough section involving Rangers, Dundee United and Aberdeen – started on 12th August and by early October, the club had played 6 sectional ties, plus two quarter-finals and one semi-final in that competition.
The League matches started on 9th September, with a 3-0 victory over Clyde at Parkhead in the first match followed, before the end of September, by a 0-1 loss to Rangers at Ibrox, a 1-1 draw at home with St Johnstone and a 4-0 victory over Stirling Albion at Annfield. Four days later, came Celtic’s first tie in the European Cup ( there was no seeding in those days) when Soviet Union champions Dinamo Kiev travelled to Celtic Park and departed with a 2-1 win.
We had been really poor in the first half, losing goals in 4 and 29 minutes, but after the interval, we were almost camped in Kiev’s half, although unable to snatch more than the one goal by Bobby Lennox in 62 minutes.
Two weeks later, on the evening of this day in 1967, the two sides ran out at the Central Stadium in Kiev, where 85,000 had turned up for the return leg. We fought all the way but the Dinamo players had obviously been told to concentrate on defence and two solid lines were parked in front of their goalkeeper. Celtic’s cause was made even more difficult when Bobby Murdoch was sent off in 59 minutes for throwing the ball away after his side had been penalised.
However, two minutes later, we did pull one back, Bobby Lennox firing in a cut-back by Bertie Auld for a really acute angle. That raised our hopes and we fought on with renewed vigour but it was tough going with only 10 men and when outside-right Bychevetz scored in the final minute, it was all over, Dinamo Kiev winning 3-2 on aggregate.
NB No doubt everyone connected with Dinamo Kiev would have been delighted with the result but their joy was short-lived. In Round 2, they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Polish champions Gornik Zabrze, who themselves were knocked by eventual winners Manchester United in the quarter-finals.
NB2 That was the second time in two years that we had met Dinamo Kiev in European competition, the previous occasion being in the Cup-Winners’ Cup of 1965-66. It was, though, the first time that we had played them in Kiev, as due to the severe weather in the
Ukraine in January 1966, the venue for the match had been transferred to sunny Tbilisi on the Black Sea.