TYNECASTLE was the setting for Jock Stein’s Celtic team to win their fifth successive title in the original record-breaking nine-in-a-row sequence.

The occasion was a fairly unremarkable scoreless stalemate on the Saturday afternoon of March 28 1970. One of the main talking points of the encounter had been the penalty save from Hearts keeper Jim Cruickshank from Tommy Gemmell, who, thankfully, didn’t make a habit of missing such awards.

Davie Hay picked up the first of his five league medals that day after breaking into the team earlier in the season.

BEST FOOT FORWARD…Davie Hay doesn’t flinch as he clears from the challenging Colin Stein at Ibrox.

My good friend was still relatively unknown at the time and didn’t quite possess the pedigree of team-mates such as Billy McNeill, Bobby Murdoch, Bobby Lennox or Big TG who had played massive roles in the club’s domination of the country since winning their first championship in 1966 following 12 miserable, barren years in the wilderness.

So, we can cut a Hearts player by the name of Jim Townsend some slack when we look back at a flashpoint incident in the capital 53 years ago.

He was a known hard guy, an enforcer, if you prefer, and he decided to make an impact on a 22-year-old Hoops rookie.

Not the brightest thing the Edinburgh team’s player contributed to the beautiful game, it must be said.

The experienced campaigner decided to get involved in a skirmish with the fresh-faced Hay. It resulted in an instant dismissal for the erring home player.

CHEERS…Tommy Gemmell leads the celebrations at Tynecastle after the goalless draw aginst Hearts sealed the club’s fifth successive title triumph in March 1970. Davie Hay is at the back alongside Evan Williams.

Davie related the story one day when we were having a quiet pint in a favourite watering hole on the southside of the city.

“I think the Hearts guy was trying to soften up a young boy,” said the legendary Celt.

With a smile, he added: “He picked on the wrong young boy.”

Davie still chuckles when he recalls that tale to this very day.

Not for nothing was my old mate known as ‘The Quiet Assassin’ during his playing days.

Enjoy tomorrow, folks.

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