Monday, September 12, 2011

Scottish League Cup 1974 Celtic Hibernian , Kenny in Glasgow

26 October 1974
Hampden Park,

Attendance 53,848

Celtic ad infinitum. Under a low ceiling of grey cloud, Scotland’s champions at last served notice that they intend to keep their cleaners busy polishing the title trophy for yet another year. Jock Stein smiled and Parkhead sang. This morning there will be many who smile as they go to work or sit at home. Those who support this club now know that an unbroken decade of domination is a matter of attainable fact and not the stuff of impossible dreams. Hibernian, apprehensive, tentative, and very ordinary, arrived in Glasgow’s East End as credible candidates for the championship and departed a little sadder, a lot wiser, and with few complaints. Scottish football confronts approaching winter, it’s countenance unchanged. In a match of fine footwork and thrilling goals, the mists of uncertainty disappeared from Parkhead as again the team that Stein built made fine colours on a cheerless day. How appropriate seemed the terrace anthem, proudly claimed: “We shall not, we shall not be moved.” So yesterday the manager was talking, long and hard and happily. It was the match the players wanted and needed. They sensed they were being written off, quite wrongly. They wanted to prove something.

“All week they were in morning and afternoon. On Friday we had a team talk that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, the longest I remember. On Saturday at 2:15 they were stripped and ready to go on that park. There was no holding them.” “Look it’s the same in your job. You go to the World Cup and after that everything seems an anti-climax. Celtic go out of Europe and that’s a disappointment, because life’s always better with a new adventure to look forward to. You see a lot of ordinary matches. That’s what our players have been through – but the time arrives when their mood’s back, it’s important again. That was what Saturday was all about.” Thus, Celtic crossed the watershed of a poor Indian summer and, given an uninterrupted week of preparation, poured the frustrations left since Athens out on the luckless Hibs. Crucially, Johnstone, McGrain, and Dalglish, those partners in Scotland’s World Cup bid, came out and played as they have done so often but not so recently. “I always said that when they started to play again, things would turn.” Thus the doubts of this correspondent on Friday were swept away and cowls to look unworthy, for who would ever have considered that Celtic, built on such solid foundations, were a mere house of cards, to be swept away by the gentle winds of misfortune. And be in glad, for again there will be expectancy when this (text unclear) and tactically inspired. McCluskey cut off the space on one flank that Hibs needed, Johnstone kept Brownlie preoccupied on the other, McNeill was deployed as the loose defender while first Brogan and then the emerging MacDonald patrolled the dangerous Harper. Of the two poker-faced managers, Stein won this round against Turnbull. Of Hibs, the least said, soonest forgotten. Only the captain, Stanton, tried to keep the match within hope. Gordon was unseen, Cropley untypically quiet, and Edwards disappeared for good at half-time. Juventus on Wednesday is a different ball game and, hopefully for Scottish football, they will have learned the lesson that victory goes to the team that wants it most.

One cameo tells all. In the first minute Harry Hood sprinted 40 yards to do no more than claim a throw-in, the sure sign that Celtic, even after all these years, can approach every match as if it were their last. No opponent matched that dedication and so the rest was all predicable. Deans played the fullest part in the victory after that, his exceptional enthusiasm knowing no bounds, his toothless grin after scoring three goals the happiest sight at Parkhead. Scotland may possess better strikers but surely none so likeable, a throwback to other days when players were honest artisans, taking enjoyment from their toil. Of the goals, Hibs would complain only of the first. Deans might have been offside as he ran forward, the goalkeeper, McArthur, might have been outside the area when he pulled him down. But Murray’s penalty only confirmed the pattern, it did not create it. Johnstone scored the second, taking a Deans pass in his stride, putting the ball through Spalding’s legs, and threading his shot inside a post. For this, the ultimate accolade, a round of instant applause from that resident band of cynics in the press box. The three others belonged to Deans, all from short range, one with the head, two with the feet. And there might have been others, from Dalglish. Celtic gained a standing ovation at the end, for they had shown the real stuff of football – quick, darting, the Scottish way. The teams meet again at Hampden Park on Saturday in the final of the League Cup and I would humbly advise anyone who says he loves this game, to present himself at those turnstiles. (celticwiki)

Celtic:- Hunter, McGrain, Brogan, Murray, McNeill, McCluskey, Johnstone, Dalglish, Deans, Hood, Wilson.
Goals:- Murray pen15, Johnstone 20, Deans 24, 47, 76.
Hibernian:- McArthur, Brownlie (Smith), Bremner, Stanton, Spalding, Blackley, Edwards, Cropley, Harper, Munro, Duncan (Murray).
Goals: Joe Harpher

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