CELTIC hit hapless Hamilton Accies with a ten-goal hurricane exactly FIFTY-FIVE years ago as Bobby Lennox and Stevie Chalmers went on the rampage in an unforgettable evening in the east end of Glasgow.
Jock Stein’s all-conquering Hoops heroes were unstoppable in a League Cup encounter as they annihilated their shell-shocked opponents with the lightning-swift raiders each claiming five strikes.
Lennox is second in the club’s all-time record scorers with 301 goals, trailing the legendary hitman Jimmy McGrory who amassed an incredible 502 as he broke UK records with his devastating finishing.
Chalmers, who, of course, netted the European Cup winner against Inter Milan on May 25 1967, is fifth in the list with 236 counters.
On the night of September 11, the double-act dovetailed with perfection as they made life hell for Accies keeper Billy Lamont as the roof fell in on the visitors at Parkhead in 90 minutes of pulverising, irresistble attacking football.
Author Alex Gordon spoke to the Lisbon Lions double-act about their extraordinary goal spree in his tribute book, ‘CELTIC: The Awakening’ which was published by Mainstream in 2013.
In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, here is an extract from the publication.
HAIL THE FIVE-GOAL HEROES…Bobby Lennox and Stevie Chalmers celebrate their remarkable solo performances in the 10-0 romp against Hamilton Accies at Parkhead in September 1968.
CELTIC went on an amazing ten-goal spree against Hamilton in the League Cup quarter-final first leg at Parkhead on September 11 1968, the goals being shared equally between Bobby Lennox and Stevie Chalmers.
Over four decades later, I interviewed both marksmen about this remarkable game. Chalmers said: “You have to feel a bit of sympathy for the goalie. He probably made a few good saves, too, with the game being so one-sided.
“As I recall, we started at 100-miles-per-hour and just got faster as the game wore on. Hamilton didn’t stand a chance and it looked like a race between Bobby and myself to see who could score the most. We had a friendly rivalry and we were both ruthless in front of goal.
“A lot of teams might have eased up if they had gone four or five goals ahead, but not this Celtic team. Big Jock hammered into us to always entertain the fans and I would like to think we managed that against Accies.
“It was just one of those nights when everything clicked into place.”
MENACING DOUBLE-ACT…Stevie Chalmers puts pressure on Hibs keeper Thomson Allan in the 1968/69 League Cup Final. Bobby Lennox, who notched a hat-trick in a 6-2 win, looks on.
Lennox admitted: “I still smile whenever someone mentions that 10-0 game. It gives me a warm glow. As I remember, it was a thoroughly miserable night in Glasgow. The rain was lashing down all the way through the game.
“In fact, I think it had been chucking it down all day. Mind you, it must have been even more miserable for their goalkeeper, Billy Lamont. No-one wants a scoreline like that on their CV.
“I agree with Stevie, you’ve got to feel something for the fella. Losing ten goals can’t be much fun for any keeper, but when you are piling on the misery you don’t actually think about your opponent’s feelings. That wouldn’t be too professional.
“You are there to do a job for your club and that’s the end of it. The fans turn out to see you win and score a few goals and that’s what we achieved that night.
PICK IT OUT…Bobby Lennox scores one of his trio as he slots the ball behind keeper Thomson Allan with right-back Chris Shevlane too late to intervene.
“I believe I might have scored with the last kick of the ball to level with Stevie. Ten goals and only two scorers? Amazing! I suppose it is also fairly unusual for a player to score five goals in back-to-back games as had happened with me against Partick Thistle and Hamilton.
“A lot of unusual things happened around that time.”
Did Jock Stein make a fuss of the two goalscorers afterwards?
“Not a chance,” answered Chalmers. “He never did, not with me, anyway. That was just not his style. He always liked to keep you on edge.
“I never looked for a pat on the back. I just wanted to do my job and cram as many goals into the opposition’s net as possible. That’s what the Hamilton game was all about. If the match had lasted another ten or fifteen minutes we would still have been chasing goals.
“Joe McBride played that night, too, so he would have been looking for a few. It’s incredible to note he didn’t score, but he would have made a few, that’s for sure.”
CUP THAT CHEERS…Stevie Chalmers (on ground, left) and Bobby Lennox (third left, sitting) join in the celebrations after the 6-2 triumph over Hibs in the League Cup Final on April 5 1969.
That overwhelming victory opened the way for a bunch of the Quality Street Gang to take a collective bow in front of their new fans, all 4,000 who turned up at Douglas Park for the second leg a fortnight later when the visitors eased to a 4-2 victory.
Lou Macari, who had played in the first game, Davie Hay, John Gorman and goalkeeper Bobby Wraith played alongside Pat McMahon, Jimmy Quinn and George Connelly, who, by then, had already made a handful of appearances in the first team.
Kenny Dalglish came on as a second-half substitute.
John Clark scored a rare goal in the second game with McBride (2) and McMahon also joining in for a 14-2 aggregate success.
Lennox also notched a hat-trick in the 6-2 victory over Hibs in the Final on April 5 1969. Willie Wallace, Bertie Auld and Jim Craig got in on the act.