On this Christmas Day in 1966, Celtic were 2 points behind Rangers in the race for the league title. Both the Glasgow giants were in action that afternoon, Rangers hosting Dunfermline at Ibrox and Celtic welcoming Morton to Parkhead.
‘The Ton’ was having a bad time of it in the league – constantly in the bottom four – and although they had some fine players in attack like Alan McGraw and Joe Harper, the defence was shipping too many goals.
And on that Christmas Day afternoon at Celtic Park, in front of a quite delighted crowd of 21,000, Morton’s defence slipped up again as the Hoops put 8 past keeper Eric Sorensen. The goals came from Joe McBride (7, 25, 33 minutes), Steve Chalmers (11,43), John Hughes (28,80) and Bobby Murdoch (35).
NB There was even better news for anyone with Celtic’s interests at heart as news came through from Ibrox that Rangers had lost to Dunfermline, thus putting the two clubs on the same points at the top of the table, with Celtic ahead on goal average;-
P W D L F A Pts
Celtic 15 13 1 1 55 15 27
Rangers 16 12 3 1 50 14 27
NB2 After the match, while everyone in the dressing room was celebrating, I raced into the showers, dressed quickly and dashed for my car. I was still living with my parents at the time and my Mum ( who did not have the slightest interest in football) had told me that I had to be at my Gran’s house in time for the Christmas dinner to be served. I went over the speed limit quite a few times in that late afternoon but I made it! And Gran’s smile was worth all the rush!
As usual, on this special day, I have attached a photograph of my teammates, this one taken in the dressing room at Parkhead in the late 1960s. From the left, Johnstone, Wallace, Lennox, Brogan, Murdoch, Chalmers, Fallon, Callaghan, Craig, McNeill, Gemmell and Hughes.
Wherever you are in the wide Celtic World, may I wish you, on behalf of Elisabeth and myself in our Perthshire home plus our four sons and daughter, with our seven grandchildren – now scattered in New Zealand, London, Cardiff, Stirling and Glasgow – a very Happy Christmas.