JOCK STEIN and his Celtic players were not impressed when the bookies installed Rangers as favourites to win the Scottish Cup before the age-old rivals met in the Hampden showdown on Saturday April 26 1969.

The Hoops had already claimed their fourth successive title on their way to their first nine in a row plus they had also lifted the League Cup with a rampant 6-2 triumph over Hibs.

However, those achievements didn’t appear to impress the nation’s turf accountants who clearly thought the Parkhead side would miss the menace of wingers Jimmy Johnstone, serving an SFA suspension, and John Hughes, injured in a previous game.

UP AND AT ‘EM…Celtic captain Billy McNeill challenges Rangers keeper Norrie Martin to a high ball as Alex Ferguson looks on.

A determined Celtic obviously had something to prove that afternoon at a packed national stadium as Billy McNeill and John Greig, the rival captain who was also a close personal friend, led their teams out on the big day.

Rangers – and the bookies – took a hammering!

It was all over as a contest by the time the interval rolled round with Stein’s side coasting to a 3-0 advantage.

Captain McNeill was at his commanding best as he rose to a Bobby Lennox left-wing corner-kick to head in the opener in the second minute.

It was the beginning of something good for the Hoops.

Lightning-swift Lennox raced away from gasping left-back Willie Mathieson to wallop a second past the unprotected Norrie Martin and the Ibrox men were on their knees by the time young George Connelly netted No.3 just before the interval.

THE OLD ONE, TWO…Bobby Lennox flashes in No.2 while George Connelly (below) sidesteps Norrie Marton before stroking in the third goal.

The Fifer, in the team in place of the banned Johnstone, intercepted a pass from Greig to centre-half Ronnie McKinnon and sauntered forward in nonchalant fashion before sidestepping the alarmed Rangers keeper and rolling the ball into the empty net.

It was left to Stevie Chalmers to bring down the curtain in the second-half as he raced clear of a dithering defence, drew Martin from his line and clipped the ball in at the post.

It ended 4-0 to the “underdogs”.

Cavalier left-back Tommy Gemmell smiled afterwards and said: “It’s always nice to get one over Rangers, but this one was particularly sweet.”

No-one argued.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author