HIS GREATEST GAME – BOBBY LENNOX – 1966 RANGERS 0-4 CELTIC

In 1966 the Glasgow Cup was still a much valued trophy within Scottish football and on this warm August night an incredible crowd of 76,456 turned out at Ibrox to witness the final of the competition.

The skeleton of a new roof above the Rangers’ end of the ground could be seen taking shape as football clubs sought to give their patron better conditions. Celtic were fresh from an impressive performance in which they had thumped the much vaunted Manchester United 4-1 at Celtic Park. For their part Rangers had been big spenders that summer and Dave Smith had been acquired from Aberdeen for £50,000 and Alex Smith had arrived from Dunfermline for a Scottish record fee of £55,000 as the Gers sought to stop Celtic’s trail of success under Jock Stein.

Celtic took control from the start with the midfield pairing of Murdoch and Auld looking most impressive. In 8 minutes they opened the scoring when Billy McNeill came up from the back and scored with a fine low shot.

Bobby Lennox had already given Rangers problems before he scored the goal of the game in 32 minutes. He took the ball with his back to goal 30 yards out, then turned sharply, swerved past John Greig and hammered an unstoppable shot high into the net from outside the area. It was an outstanding goal, one if the best ever to be scored by a Celtic player at Ibrox.

Before half time Bobby Murdoch hit the bar with a header as Celtic threatened to run all over their beleaguered opponents although this was only delayed until the second half. Lennox’s pace and direct running had caused the Rangers defence trouble all night with Murdoch and Auld sending a steady stream of passes into the wide open spaces for Bobby to torture John Greig and Ronnie McKinnon with his electric pace. In 81 minutes Bertie Auld lofted a high ball over the defence for Bobby to outpace Greig once again and poke the ball past ‘keeper Ritchie.

In the latter stages Celtic began to toy with their opponents as they kept possession with their quick passing and fine movement. Lennox then completed his hat trick when he cut in from the left wing and scored with a low drive to complete his hat trick. By this time there were huge gaps in the Rangers areas of the stadium as the Celtic fans taunted their rivals in song.

Oh they paid a hundred thoosan’ for the Smiths

Oh they paid a hundred thoosan’ for the Smiths

Oh they paid a hundred thoosan’

And  the b******s kept on losin’

Oh they paid a hundred thoosan’ for the Smiths

Ex Celt John Colrain, who was the players manager of Rangers’ imminent European opponents Glentoran, could only watch in admiration from the comfort of his main stand seat as his old team dismantled their greatest rivals on their own turf with comparative ease

Celtic fans left the ground that night noisy and happy. They had watched the new midfield duo of Murdoch and Auld approach peak form but this was also the night when Bobby Lennox sprang to prominence. The awkward youngster who once toiled on the wing was now regenerated as one of the fastest and incisive inside forwards in Europe and in the months to come the continent would sit up and take notice of Bobby Lennox and his mates.

This game must have made Jock Stein happy. He gave the team the next day off to play golf!

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