The replay on the following Wednesday clearly caught the public imagination and 27,000 fans crammed into the old Love Street ground to witness the proceedings. This created massive queues and crushing both inside and outside the stadium. The authorities were criticised afterwards for not making the game an all ticket affair and there were stories of fans not getting in until half time. From my own experience, we were surprised to get in and discover that Celtic were already one goal down as none of us could hear the roar of the crowd inside the ground with all the bedlam going on outside.
There may well have been in excess of 27,000 as kids were commonly ‘lifted in’ in those days and there were other ruses like ‘double shuffles’ or the time old tradition of skipping in by vaulting the turnstiles. Press reports after the match also indicated that an exit door had been charged down with many fans entering in this way.
This game was to mark Johnny Doyle’s finest moment in a Celtic jersey. Much loved by the fans, Johnny had the heart of a lion and was the ideal man to have up front in a game when Celtic were required to play for an energy sapping 102 minutes with only 10 men. Perhaps he was keen to make amends for his sending off 9 months previously in the league decider against Rangers when Celtic’s 10 men had also emerged triumphant on another memorable evening. Doyle certainly ran his heart out that night and gave a perfect example of what ‘playing for the jersey’ should really mean.
The atmosphere in the ground was simply fantastic and if the players were shattered at the finish then it was a similarly draining experience on the terraces. It was a long time before the supporters spilled slowly out of the ground with the victory anthems from the Celtic fans being heard loudly in the night air. Many of us rushed home and happily watched the highlights on the BBC.
God bless you John and you’re still greatly missed till this day.
DOYLE TAKES 10 MAN CELTS THROUGH IN EXTRA TIME
LOVE STREET FLARE UP: MCADAM SENT OFF FOUR BOOKED
Not for the first time, Celtic demonstrated that committed footballers can emerge triumphant from the most daunting of trials. Reduced to ten men after only eighteen minutes of this Scottish Cup replay at Love Street, Tom McAdam having already been sent off, and already down to a Jimmy Bone goal, the Parkhead side refused to surrender.
They equalised through a cheeky John Doyle goal, went behind again through a Somner penalty but cancelled that out with a Lennox penalty of their own, by that time the excitement in the overflowing Paisley ground was almost intolerable but Celtic still had the bottom line of this drama to write. That came in the first minute of extra time with the score 2-2 when Doyle scored an even more audacious goal, effectively ending one of the most memorable cup ties of this or any other season.
Besides McAdam’s exit there were four bookings and a catalogue of pulsating incidents which would take a Voltaire volume to encapsulate.
There were no bad players in this Celtic only a few supermen and a bionic star or two. Saints, who left the field with the look of men who had climbed Everest, only to find it had grown overnight, did everything possible to stem the outrageous energy of this Parkhead machine.
It was not enough in the end but they did give it one heck of a try.
It was bound to be an unusual night at Paisley. When last did fans clamber on to the bottom of pylons in order to get a better view of Saints in action ? When last did they have to hold up the start for 15 minutes in order to let the enthusiasts in ?
If the atmosphere was thrilling enough before the off there was an air of constant bedlam throughout the 120 minutes. Saints began in exactly the same style they had shown against the league champions on Saturday, studied, clever football always with a penetrating punch line to follow.
Within two minutes they had doused the Celtic supporters’ flame with as incisive and neat a move as we saw all night. Peter Weir accepted a fine pass from Richardson, slipped passed two Celtic defenders and rapped an excellent left foot shot towards the net. Only the legs of Peter Latchford defied the Scots winger, the ball bouncing from them for a corner.
A minute later a perfectly flighted Weir cross was cleared only as far as Stark whose rasping shot was not far away. Saints were off and running and in 10 minutes they were also a goal ahead.
Richardson chipped forward a free kick, Bone met it with his head, and although Latchford seemed to have it covered, the ball the ball slid beneath his hands and into the net.
Celtic tried to hit back immediately but despite a couple of fine runs by McCluskey, who more than justified his selection, Saints still looked the more likely team.
Then in 18 minutes came the turning point. McAdam and Frank McDougall, the St Mirren striker, were involved in an off the ball clash which was missed by most observers including referee Ian Foote.
Unlike the rest of us, however, he was able to consult the far side linesman and having done so, booked McDougall and sent off McAdam. That sensational decision brought a hail of cans and bottles from the Celtic end of the enclosure and a crescendo of less violent abuse from around the ground.
Once things cooled down in a couple of minutes it became clear that Mr Foote, inadvertently, may have done Celts a favour. The apparently inexhaustible reserves of energy packed in the Parkhead hamper were let loose at the one time and Saints were never again to hold the dominance of the early minutes.
After half an hour they were level. McCluskey pushed the ball through to Doyle who with the Saints defence frantically claiming offside, carried on to do a double shuffle before putting the ball past Thomson.
Three minutes before the interval McDougall had to be carried off, suffering from a leg injury, Brian Docherty taking his place.
The relentless pace carried on after the interval and Saints did manage to get some of their togetherness again. Richardson exemplifying it with a fearsome drive.
Provan was booked for an innocuous foul on Weir but not much time could be wasted on such niceties, McDonald was soon heading over the bar and shortly after he was unlucky with an even better header which Thomson grasped carefully.
At the other end Latchford was lively enough to push a Docherty drive for a corner. Just as the collective energy of Celtic’s 10 men seemed likely to overwhelm Saints the Paisley team were awarded a penalty, Weir seeming to stumble as he was tackled by Provan and MacLeod, but Mr Foote deemed it a foul. Somner’s spot kick was blocked well by Latchford but the striker made no mistake from the rebound.
Copland was the next man to have the yellow card raised above his head before McCluskey nearly equalised with a shot which went tantalisingly past a post. Doyle became booking number 4 but in 72 minutes the former Ayr man was downed by Weir inside the box and Mister Foote again pointed to the spot. Bobby Lennox did his job well and this magnificent struggle went into extra time.
It was not properly warmed up when Celtic hit what proved to be the winner. Doyle again broke clear and again Saints claimed offside but the little winger cutely put the ball past one man, collected it again, and with a coolness that defied belief dragged the ball back from the bye line to smack it into the net. There simply was no answer to that.
Now Celtic will meet Morton at Parkhead in the quarter final. It would be in the Greenock club’s interest to make a special plea to the referee not to send a Celtic player off. It really is not worth it.
St Mirren – Thomson Young Munro Richardson Fulton Copland Bone Stark Somner McDougall Weir. Subs Beckett Docherty.
Celtic – Latchford Sneddon McGrain Aitken MacDonald McAdam Provan McCluskey Lennox MacLeod Doyle – Subs – Sullivan Casey.