John Hughes, the powerful Celtic attacker who was nicknamed after the popular TV cartoon bear of the time, recalled an afternoon back on January 30 1965 when the Pittodrie side arrived at Parkhead on league business.
“It was a bitterly cold day,” said Yogi, now 72. “Of course, there was no such thing as undersoil heating in those days, so the playing surface was flint hard with snow scattered around the pitch.
“Celtic used to spread straw on the ground in those enlightened times and the groundstaff had to sweep it off as swiftly as possible when it got close to kick-off as they did their best to get rid of the surface frost.GW768H992
“Back then, the players only had two pairs of football boots – one with leather studs and the other with rubber studs.
“The players would go out and sample the conditions before the match and I tried both pairs and was far from satisfied. I was a big guy, but I had good balance.
“However, on this particular pitch, most of my team-mates found it a challenge just to remain upright.
“So, I had a bit of a problem when we went back in to the dressing room to get changed and ready for the game.
“Then I noticed a pair of sandshoes in the training kit hamper. They had Billy McNeill’s name on them. I asked the skipper if I could give them a try.
“I quickly got out on the pitch to attempt a few sprints and turns and was satisfied with the grip and the fit. Big Billy told me: ‘If you think they’ll help you put in a performance today, Yogi, go right ahead and wear them with my best wishes.’
“I remember we were struggling in the league at the time – around sixth, I think – so no-one could have guessed what would have happened that day, one of the most memorable in my career.
“As I recall, we hadn’t won any of our previous five games, losing to Rangers (0-1), Dundee United (1-3) and Hearts (1-2) while drawing with Clyde (1-1) and Morton (3-3).
“Form went out the window 50 years ago. The Dons had a massive keeper by the name of John Ogston who was quite happy to answer to the nickname ‘Tubby’. He must have lost a few pounds in Glasgow that winter’s day!
“I ran riot. I had scored two goals by the interval and told Big Billy the shoes were working a treat. I hammered in another three in the second-half to claim a personal best of five goals.
“Bertie Auld, with a penalty-kick, Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch also scored as we won 8-0.
“Remarkably, seven of the players who would turn out in the historic European Cup Final win over Inter Milan in Lisbon some two years and four months later were in that team. As well as McNeill, Auld, Lennox and Murdoch, the two goalscorers in the Portuguese capital, Tommy Gemmell and Stevie Chalmers, also played along with John Clark.
“Goalkeeper John Fallon, defenders Ian Young and Jim Brogan and I made up the eleven against the Dons.
“Something rather eventful happened the following day, too. Celtic announced Jock Stein was coming back to the club as manager!
“He was Hibs manager at the time and they made him work his notice until they got a new boss – Liverpool legend Bill Shankly’s brother Bob got the job – and Big Jock didn’t officially take over until March 9.
“I won my first medal when we beat Dunfermline 3-2 in the Scottish Cup Final later that season and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Hughes, the seventh-highest goalscorer in Hoops’ history with 189 strikes, hopes Ronny Deila’s side can do something similar against the Dons tomorrow in Glasgow in the 12.30pm kick-off.
He said: “Celtic actually topped our 8-0 winning margin in November 2010 when they scored nine without reply.
“I was there that afternoon and I recall Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes getting hat-tricks in what is still the SPL’s biggest win.
“Neil Lennon had a fairly settled team at the time and that obviously helped.
“Ronny Deila has used a few players this season and is still looking for his defence to come together after losing Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer, who were very solid and had a great understanding last season.
“New players have come in and need time to bed down. Aberdeen are on a bad run, but they’ll want to put on a performance in Glasgow.
“If they lose, they’ll go seven points behind and that’s an awful lot to catch up on as the season progresses.”
* Read more of the amazing exploits of one of the greatest-ever goalscorers in Celtic’s history in ‘Yogi Bare: The Life and Times of a Celtic Legend’. You can purchase the explosive autobiography through CQN books HERE.¬†or click on the book cover below.oe1iDjc2F6RlPHJc-1UznLoqWsQuTa8Sjst81U3aULo
Click Here for Comments >

About Author