JOCK STEIN returned to Celtic in March 1965 in a move that totally turned around the fortunes of the Parkhead club.

The team had not won a major trophy since the memorable 7-1 League Cup Final romp against old foes Rangers on an October afternoon at Hampden in 1957.

Celtic were in the wilderness before Big Jock succeeded the club’s legendary goalscorer Jimmy McGrory who had been in charge since 1945.

Today, in part four of another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, author Alex Gordon looks at the kick-off to a glorious chapter in the club’s history with edited extracts from his tribute book, ‘CELTIC: The Awakening‘, published in 2013.

Please enjoy!

THERE was the usual guessing game before Jock Stein announced his line-up to face Dunfermline in the 1965 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on April 24.

He went with John Fallon; Ian Young and Tommy Gemmell; Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill and John Clark; Stevie Chalmers, Charlie Gallagher, John Hughes, Bobby Lennox and Bertie Auld. A crowd of 108,803 was in attendance.

Gemmell recalled: “I believe Dunfermline were favourites. On league form alone, that would make sense. They completed the campaign only one point behind eventual winners Kilmarnock who shaded Hearts on goal average.

“We weren’t at the races, but, at the same time, there was a lot of confidence in the team.

AIR WE GO…Bertie Auld gets in front of Dunfermline defender Willie Callaghan to prepare to head in Celtic’s first equaliser with keeper Jim Herriot helpless.

“Jock Stein had brought a belief with him. And we had to show a lot of trust in ourselves, too, when our opponents took the lead in the 15th minute. Any time’s a helluva time to lose a goal, but it’s so important to keep things tight during that sparring spell of the first 20 minutes or so.

“And now we had conceded and we had it all to do. Harry Melrose was their scorer after a bit of a goalmouth melee when we just couldn’t get to the ball to hoof it into the stand.”

Auld remembered: “I looked at my team-mates and I realised they felt to a man just like me. ‘We’re going to win this one,’ appeared to be the unspoken, but unified, response.

“Sixteen minutes later I was left sitting on my backside in the Fifers’ net, but I was not one bit upset; the ball was lying there beside me. I had equalised. I remember the goal like it was yesterday.

“John Clark slid a pass to Charlie Gallagher and he took a couple of steps forward, shaped to play it wide, changed pace and then sent a thunderbolt of a shot towards their goal from about 30 yards.

NET PROFIT…Bertie Auld sits in the Dunfermline rigging as Stevie Chalmers arrives to join in the celebrations.

“Jim Herriot, the Fifers’ extremely competent goalkeeper who would become a team-mate of mine at Hibs later on, threw himself at Charlie’s effort, but he failed to divert its course and it thumped against the face of the crossbar.

“I saw my chance as the ball swirled high into the air. Herriot was on the ground and was desperately trying to get back to his feet as I moved in for the kill. The ball appeared to be suspended by an invisible hand. It seemed to be up there for ages. I was aware of their full-back Willie Callaghan coming in at speed from my right.

“He was wasting his time – I was never going to miss this opportunity. The ball came floating back down after what seemed an eternity and I launched myself at it to head it over the line. One-one – game on!”

Fallon, in the Celtic goal, surrendered again just a minute before the interval when Melrose rolled a free-kick in front of John McLaughlin who belted it first-time from 20 yards. The ball went straight through the defensive wall and eluded Fallon on his right hand side.

Bobby Lennox recalled: “It was a quiet dressing room at half-time. I think Jock realised he only had us for a couple of months or so and if he lost his temper and bawled and shouted it might have tensed us up too much.

PICK IT OUT…Bertie Auld slams in the second equaliser with Dunfermline keeper Jim Herriot experiencing that sinking feeling yet again.

“That afternoon would not have been the right time to beef into the players. Jock was the big, friendly bear. On another day and on another occasion he might have savaged us.”

Auld looked back: “As we left the dressing room, Jock said: ‘Get that early goal…get that goal and we’ll win this trophy.’

“Seven minutes into the second-half, Tommy Gemmell turned the ball to me and I swiftly passed it on to Bobby Lennox on the left. He took off like a sprinter and I chased into the penalty area, hoping to be in the right place at the right time.

“Bobby couldn’t have hit a sweeter pass into the danger area and I arrived on the button to first time a right-foot shot low past the helpless Herriot.

“Two-two – we’re going to win!”

*TOMORROW: Don’t miss the fifth and concluding instalment of The Return of Big Jock.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author