In December 1967, of the two football pitches of First Division clubs in the one road in Dundee, the one belonging to Dundee FC was the favourite of my teammates and myself. The turf at Dens Park was firm, well-cut and had good drainage, so it was an ideal surface for any club with aspirations of playing good football, as the teams of both Dundee and Celtic of that era tried to do.
On this day in 1967, in a league match, a Dark Blues side lying in mid-table hosted a Hoops team sitting in second place, two points behind Rangers. Jock Stein put out an eleven of Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Wallace, Hughes, Lennox, Auld and they got off to a great start, Billy McNeill scoring in 5 minutes.
Only 3 minutes later, Dundee equalized but goals by Bobby Lennox (26), Jimmy Johnstone (36) and Willie Wallace (38) gave Celtic a 4-1 lead. Back came Dundee, though, with another goal to make the half-time score 4-2.
Wallace scored again to make it 5-2 for Celtic ten minutes into the second half but the Dark Blues rallied and got two further goals in 76 and 85 minutes to make the final score Dundee 4 Celtic 5.
NB In midfield that day for Dundee were Steve Murray – later to join Celtic – and Jim McLean, who became manager of Dundee United; while playing up front was Davie Wilson, ex-Rangers.
NB2 Dundee’s record victory was 10-0, a feat they managed twice, both times in Division 2 in 1947, firstly against Alloa on 8th March and then against Dunfermline on 22nd March. Their record defeat was in Division 1, on 26th October 1895, at Celtic Park, when Celtic won 11-0.