JOCK STEIN enjoyed an eye-catching 6-0 success over Airdrie at Broomfield on March 10 1965 – just 24 hours after arriving as Celtic new manager.

Today, in part two 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!

JOCK STEIN, of course, was welcomed by most. Billy McNeill admitted as soon as the news was confirmed of his return: “On a personal level, I got a tremendous lift. I knew things would start to happen again at the club.”

Ronnie Simpson was less enthusiastic. Stein had sold the goalkeeper to Celtic from Hibs the previous year and, after being told about his former manager’s arrival, Simpson is reported to have gone home and informed his wife she should get ready to pack.

“We’re on the move again, Rosemary,” he is alleged to have said.

Tommy Gemmell was overjoyed. “I knew Jock actively encouraged his full-backs to drive forward. There would be no more of this: ‘Don’t you dare cross that halfway line’ again. Thank goodness. We were going to be given the freedom to express ourselves and I was going to take full advantage.

“There was no looking back for me the day Jock Stein walked back into Celtic Park. I clearly recall his very first instruction to me. ‘Remember, you are a defender and your first job is to defend,’ he said. ‘But get up that park as often as you can when you see an opportunity.’ That suited me perfectly.”

THE BIG SHOT…Jock Stein keeps an eye on Tommy Gemmell during a training session.

In Stein’s first game in charge against Airdrie at Broomfield, Auld slammed in five goals, two penalty-kicks among them, in a 6-0 victory. Auld laughed: “I always thought I had good timing.”

Gemmell added: “The remarkable thing about that display was that Bertie actually played wide on the left. He wasn’t playing right up front in the middle or just off the strikers. Forget the two spot-kicks, to score a hat-trick from a wide left berth was an incredible feat.

“It was only when Big Jock settled into the job that Bertie eventually moved into a midfield role, but against Airdrie that night he played as an orthodox left-winger, actually setting up opportunities for the likes of John Hughes and Bobby Lennox.

“I was playing right behind him and I can remember thinking: ‘This guy is class; he is giving us a new dimension.’ Exciting times, indeed.”

Three days later, there was a double disappointment of St. Johnstone winning 1-0 in Glasgow in front of only 18,000 fans. There was a 3-3 draw with Dundee before the next home game and, once again, the fans didn’t exactly flock to Celtic Park.

This time a crowd of only 19,000 watched Hibs win 4-2, a result that would undoubtedly have wounded Stein.

However, he would have been much happier just over two weeks later when Celtic travelled to Easter Road for a rearranged league game that had been frozen off during the winter.

Goals from Auld (2), Stevie Chalmers and Bobby Murdoch gave the club a 4-0 victory.

*TOMORROW: Don’t miss the third thrilling instalment of The Return of Big Jock.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author