As the calendar showed the arrival of March in 1968, more than few Celtic supporters were beginning to feel a little worried. The club had won the League Cup in the autumn of season 1967-68 but in the previous match had been knocked out of the Scottish Cup in the first round.
Even more alarmingly, Celtic were sitting 2nd in the league table, 4 points behind Rangers, with a game in hand but only 11 matches left in the campaign. So, when the bus carrying the Celtic party of players, management and directors set off from Celtic Park on this day in 1968 and headed for Kilmarnock, the normal jocularity of such a trip was rather subdued.
The team that Jock Stein put out that day was Simpson, Gemmell, O’Neill, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Gallagher and Hughes; and they got off to the perfect start when Willie Wallace found the net in two minutes. Killie rose to the challenge, though, and although Celtic looked the more likely to score, they missed a few good chances. However, Wallace got another in 16 minutes; Bobby Lennox a third just on half-time and later in the match, three more came from Wallace (72,89) and Jimmy Quinn (87), who had come on as a substitute for Bobby Murdoch.
PHOTO : WILLIE WALLACE
So, 6-0 in the end and a further two points. Now, the momentum just had to be maintained.
PSJust a few days short of five years before – 27th March 1963 – Kilmarnock, at that point in 2nd place in the league, thrashed Celtic, 6th in the table, 6-0 at Rugby Park. For three players, it was an inauspicious club debut. Dick Madden in goal, whose one and only first-team game it was, John Cushley at centre-half and Jimmy Johnstone at outside-right.