On this day in 1966, several thousand Celtic fans were making their way by train or car to Liverpool, where in the evening their heroes would be facing the Reds in the second leg of a semi-final of the European Cup- Winners’ Cup.
This was the 2nd time in 3 seasons that the Hoops had reached this stage of the competition and their fans were very keen – and expectant – that the team would go through to the final, especially as they were carrying a one-goal lead from the first leg. 54,000 was the official attendance and the Celtic eleven was Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Lennox, McBride, Chalmers, Auld and Hughes.
Liverpool obviously needed to score and went about trying to do so in a very positive manner, Celtic for the first hour putting up an excellent rearguard resistance to preserve their lead. Then the roof fell in. Goals by Tommy Smith (60) and Geoff Strong (65) sent the home fans into raptures and as Celtic tried to make more of an impression on the game in attack, the Reds defence showed that it could also be more than adequate in protecting its goal.
However, the match ended in controversy. Just before the final whistle, Celtic got the ball in the net thanks to a Bobby Lennox dash through the middle and fine shot. To the horror of the Celtic fans, though, the linesman’s flag was up, the goal was dis-allowed and Liverpool went though to the final on a 2-1 aggregate.
NB In the other semi-final, Borussia Dortmund beat West Ham United 5-2l. Rather ironically, this final match was played at Hampden Park before a crowd of 41,000 and the West Germans and Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw, putting the game into extra-time. In the 109th minute, though, Libuda scored the crucial goal which gave Borussia Dortmund a 2-1 win, the club becoming the first from West Germany to win this particular trophy.