LISBON LION Bertie Auld was the most irrepressible performer in Jock Stein’s team of all stars who conquered all before them in the sixties.

CQN are celebrating the life and incredible times of the club legend in an EXCLUSIVE series with extracts from his best-selling autobiography, ‘A Bhoy Called Bertie‘, co-authored by his friend and writer Alex Gordon.

The remarkable life story continues with Bertie reminiscing about battles against the club’s most ferocious foes, Rangers.

Please enjoy.

ONE truly memorable Old Firm occasion came at our place on the sunny Saturday afternoon of September 17 1966.

Rangers didn’t know what hit them and were two goals down inside the first four minutes. These games were normally quite tight as the opposition weighed up each other in the opening spell – just like two boxers in the first round.

On this occasion, though, I scored in the first minute and Bobby Murdoch flighted in a gorgeous second from the edge of the box.

I had a good laugh when I scored and my old mate Joe McBride – Jose to his friends – won’t thank me for this recollection. Wee Jinky fired over an inviting cross from the right and it looked as though Jose was certain to score. He lashed at it and got a fair chunk of fresh air.

IT’S A BERTIE BELTER – WHICHEVER WAY YOU LOOK AT IT…Celtic’s midfield master thumps a first-time shot past Rangers skipper John Greig and keeper Billy Ritchie for the opening goal in a 2-0 win in September 1966.

The ball carried through to me and I planted it behind Billy Ritchie. Now Jose didn’t know whether to congratulate me or burst into tears. He is one of the biggest Celtic fans you are ever likely to meet, but, and I believe I am right here, I don’t think he ever scored a goal for us against our Old Firm rivals.

Yet the guy was so prolific against just about every other team in the league. He racked up 35 goals in 1966 before sustaining a horrendous knee injury against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Christmas Eve. That was the end of the season for this genuinely lovely bloke yet he still finished as the top goalscorer in the country.

Jose didn’t even get on the scoresheet in the January 3 game in 1966 when Celtic beat Rangers 5-1. Stevie Chalmers snatched a hat-trick with Bobby Murdoch and Charlie Gallagher adding two more. The extraordinary thing about this match was that our Ibrox pals had led 1-0 at half-time after a 90-second goal from Davy Wilson.

AN OLD FIRM BREATHER…John Clark holds the ball while Bertie Auld goes for a stroll. Rangers rivals Davie Wilson and George McLean look out on on their feet. 

Talking about Gallagher, I must say he was a very clever and cultured player, but Big Jock didn’t believe we could play in the same formation. That was more than a little strange because Charlie and I played in the 1965 Scottish Cup Final success over Dunfermline and combined to score our first goal.

Jock stuck to his guns, though, and, therefore, we rarely teamed up in midfield. Charlie, of course, could have gone elsewhere and been guaranteed first team football, but he loved Celtic so much he decided to stay and hope he would get his opportunity. When he was called up, I can tell you he never let the team down. Not once.

Games against Rangers never passed without incident, take it from me. I recall getting a telling-off from the Celtic management after a daft wee incident against our city neighbours and rivals.

Their big defender Harold Davis scored an own goal in a Glasgow Cup-tie at Parkhead in 1960 and I couldn’t prevent myself from ruffling his hair as I raced past him. It was meant to be playful, but Davis, who was built like a heavyweight boxer, didn’t find it amusing.

THE SCOURGE OF RANGERS…Jimmy Johnstone fires over a right-wing cross with Ibrox defender John Greig too late to intervene.

I must have been on the brave pills to have done such a thing because Davis never took any prisoners when he was out on the pitch.

I think he had been decorated in the war, too. As I ran back up the park I looked over my shoulder and there was the Rangers defender, red-faced with steam coming out his nostrils, chasing after me.

I didn’t realise I could run so fast.

Thankully, he didn’t catch me and simmered down shortly afterwards. My Celtic bosses didn’t see the humour in the incident, either.

‘That is not the Celtic way,’ I was told. ‘That is not the way we expect our players to behave.’

Ach, I was only having a laugh.


PICK IT OUT…Rangers keeper Gerry Neef lies helpless in the Parkhead mud aftter Jimmy Johnstone had beaten him at his near post in Celtic’s 3-1 Scottish Cup win in February 1970. Willie Wallace celebrates.

Actually, the same thing happened in reverse in a Scottish Cup-tie at Parkhead in February 1970. This time Cairney, Jim Craig, put the ball behind Evan Williams to net for Rangers and Willie Johnston patted our disconsolate right-back on the head.

Cairney, luckily for the Ibrox forward, didn’t possess a short fuse on his temperament and at least didn’t race after him all the way to the halfway line.

It didn’t matter in the end as we won 3-1 with goals from Jinky Johnstone, Bobby Lennox and Davie Hay.


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