CELTIC legend Davie Hay admits he never scored as many goals as he would have liked for the club.
However, the versatile defender/midfielder thundered in the strike of his dreams in the club’s 3-1 triumph over Rangers at Parkhead on February 21 1970 – and then had to wait FORTY-ONE years to view the action replay.
In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hay, now 73, recalled the moment he fired home a screamer on a swamp of a pitch with the scoreline deadlocked at 1-1 and the Scottish Cup quarter-final tie heading for a replay at Ibrox.
The inspirational former manager and player revealed: “I was not a noted goalscorer and I didn’t have to be during my time at the club with the likes of Bobby Lennox, Stevie Chalmers, Willie Wallace, Lou Macari, Harry Hood, Kenny Dalglish and Big John Hughes around. Wee Jimmy Johnstone could chip in with a few, too, as well as setting up God knows how many for others.
GOAL-DEN BHOY…Davie Hay is mobbed by Jimmy Johnstone and Harry Hood after his spectacular goal against Rangers. Jim Brogan is about to join in while Willie Mathieson doesn’t look too impressed.
PARADISE…Davie Hay is engulfed by his delighted team-mates while Rangers players look stunned.
“On this particular afternoon against a good Rangers team with players such as John Greig, Ronnie McKinnon, Willie Hendrson and Colin Stein in their line-up, I thought we were the better team, but we didn’t have the goals to emphasise that fact.
“They had scored first early on with a freakish attempt that ricocheted off Jim Craig past Evan Williams. We simply rolled up the sleeves and set about getting the equaliser.
“We had to wait about five or six minutes before the interval before Wee Bobby Lennox knocked one past Gerry Neef. How the Gers lads must have hated the sight of the Buzzbomb. He notched so many important goals against them in his prolific career.
“We still carried the play to them after the break, but we just could not force that crucial second goal. There was a flashpoint incident when Alex MacDonald, who could be a fiery wee character, was sent off by referee Tiny Wharton. There had been a clash with our keeper Evan and I think the Gers player was going to get booked, but had too much to say for himself. Tiny, who was about 6ft 5in, immediately pointed to the dressing room.”
Hay continued: “Big Jock Stein was urging us on from his dug-out and we were churning through the mud in truly awful conditions. Players today would refuse to play on the mudheap we faced that day.
“However, near the end – I discovered later it was the 85th minute – I picked up the ball around the centre circle. My main thought was to carry the ball forward. I was fit and I knew I could last the 90 minutes and an extra half-hour any time it may have been required.
BATTLE STATIONS…Davie Hay is in the thick of it as referee Tiny Wharton intervenes in a goalmouth scramble.
“I noted my wee mate Lou Macari saying in CQN last week I was a bit of a freak. Thanks, Lou! I did possess a lot of energy, so I still had a bit to give, despite the really heavy conditions.
“The opposition backed off me as they tried to pick up my team-mates. Let’s face it, the last thing they expected was for me to have a shot at goal.
“I made the most of the space that was gifted in front of me. I just kept going and in the midst of all this I instinctively decided to give the ball a good old-fashioned belt. I was about 25 yards out when I made perfect contact.
“The ball simply flew high towards the Rangers goal and keeper Neef must have been as surprised as his team-mates as the ball zeroed in on its target. The ball whipped over his hands just under the bar.
“Then there is the elation when you see the net shudder behind the goalie and thousands of fans in the 75,000 crowd give it pelters.
THE LAST POST…Rangers keeper Gerry Neef lies disconsolate on the ground as Lou Macari celebrates Celtic’s third goal.
“I stood there for a moment before I was engulfed by my team-mates. I remember Tommy Gemmell saying something like: ‘Good to see you have been watching me, Davie!’ Praise indeed from Celtic’s Big Shot.
“With a couple of minutes to go, my wee pal Jinky swept through to tuck the third behind the rival keeper at his near post. Happy days!”
Hay added: “We knew highlights would be on the BBC and STV later that evening, but Lou and I and a couple of other of the lads missed the opportunity of enjoying it again. Remember, these were days before video recorders. If you missed it first time around, you had to hope it may be replayed at a later date.
“Tony McBride, a young player who had been one of The Quality Street Gang along with Lou, myself, Kenny Dalglish, George Connelly, Danny McGrain and others, had invited us all to his wedding at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Castlemilk on the same evening.
MUD, SWEAT AND CHEERS…Billy McNeill has a confab with his opposite number as the players come off at the end of a pulverising 3-1 win for the Hoops. Bobby Murdoch follows closely to the tunnel.
“We couldn’t possibly knock back our mate on his big day. So, we had to miss out on watching us hammer our old foes in the mud at Parkhead.
“I never witnessed that goal for 41 years. I was at the home of my friend Alex Gordon, who co-authored my autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin’, and we had met up one afternoon. I remember it was in April 2011 and we had some business to take care of.
“Alex told me: ‘I’ve got a surprise for you, Davie’. He produced a video of the highlights of the game from all those years ago. We sat down to view it. I have to say it wasn’t a bad wee goal!
“I hope one of the present-day Celtic players will stage something similar at Ibrox on Sunday. And a repeat of the scoreline would go down nicely, too!”