Celtic ... the most memorable matches (25-21)

25.

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Ronnie Simpson is carried off the park by his team-mates after Celtic won the Scottish First Division championship at Fir Park in 1966. #SportTimestop50
Ronnie Simpson is carried off the park by his team-mates after Celtic won the Scottish First Division championship at Fir Park in 1966. #SportTimestop50

Game: Celtic v Red Star Belgrade.

Date: Wednesday, November 13, 1968.

Competition: European Cup.

Venue: Celtic Park.

Attendance: 67,000.

Result: Celtic 5 Red Star 1.

NEVER was the genius of the legendary Jock Stein more evident than in this match, a crucial European Cup second round match against Red Star Belgrade in Glasgow.

Knowing how terrified of flying Jimmy Johnstone was, the Celtic managter made a deal with his supremely-gifted winger at half-time with the score tied between the teams at 1-1.

He told Jinky if the Hoops won the first leg game by three clear goals he could stay at home for the return match in the tie which was to be held in Yugoslavia.

He scored twice and produced what is widely regarded as one of his most impressive displays in the green and white hoops.

Bobby Lennox and Willie Wallace also got their names on the scoresheet for the Bhoys.

True to his word, Stein left Johnstone in Scotland for the second leg match with Red Star that Celtic drew 1-1.

24.

Game: Celtic v Dukla Prague.

Date: Wednesday, April 12, 1967.

Competition: European Cup.

Venue: Celtic Park.

Attendance: 74,406.

Result: Celtic 3 Dukla 1.

CELTIC effectively booked their place in the 1967 European Cup final in Lisbon with this impressive semi-final win.

Jimmy Johnstone put his side in front in the 27th minute when he ran on to a Stevie Chalmers through ball and lobbed the keeper. Stanislav Strunc then levelled just before half-time.

Willie Wallace put the result beyond doubt in the second half, though, with two goals in the space of just six minutes.

Wallace could have bagged a hat-trick for the Hoops with 13 minutes remaining, but he turned a Chalmers cross onto the crossbar.

A 0-0 draw in Czechoslovakia in the second leg a fortnight later ensured that Celtic became the first British club to make it through to the final.

23.

Game: Celtic v Benfica.

Date: Wednesday, November 12, 1969.

Competition: European Cup.

Venue: Celtic Park.

Attendance: 80,000.

Result: Celtic 3 Benfica 0.

CELTIC played so well in the first leg of this second round match against the great Benfica of that era that their opponents took off the legendary Eusebio at half-time.

The Parkhead club had blown the visitors away in the first half and led the match 2-0 thanks to goals from Tommy Gemmell and Willie Wallace.

But the lead should have been far greater.

Adopting a more defensive approach did not help the Portuguese outfit much. Harry Hood added to his side's tally in the second half and the home team ended up 3-0 winners.

By all accounts, they could have won 7-0 or 8-0.

It was a different story in the second leg.

Benfica won 3-0 and the match went to extra-time. When the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate after 120 minutes it went to the toss of a coin and Celtic went through.

22.

Game: Real Madrid v Celtic.

Date: Wednesday, June 7, 1967.

Competition: Alfredo Di Stefano Trophy.

Venue: Bernabeu.

Attendance: 120,000.

Result: Real 0 Celtic 1.

HAVING just won the European Cup a fortnight before, Celtic were invited to be the opposition in the Alfredo Di Stefano's testimonial match.

The Glasgow club, who had succeeded Real Madrid as European champions, showed they were worthy winners with a stunning display and victory.

It was arguably Jimmy Johnstone's greatest match. After Di Stefano had left the field to a standing ovation, Jinky stole the show.

Towards the end of the game when he took possession of the ball the crowd cried: "Ole!"

Johnstone threaded a pass to Bobby Lennox to score the winner then held the ball aloft in the centre circle to to salute the fans.

21.

Game: Motherwell v Celtic.

Date: Saturday, May 7, 1966.

Competition: First Division.

Venue: Fir Park.

Attendance: 20,000.

Result: Motherwell 0 Celtic 1.

BOBBY LENNOX scored in the last minute of the last game on the last day to clinch the title for Celtic in 1966.

Jock Stein's side would have pipped Rangers to the First Division trophy even if they had lost to Motherwell at Fir Park thanks to their goal average.

But winning the game and, as a result, the league on points from their Old Firm rivals was a far more satisfactory outcome.

It was Celtic's first title success in 12 years and was the start of a period of unprecedented domestic dominance that culminated in Nine-In-A-Row.

YOUR SHOUT...

Now it's your turn to let us know what you think about Celtic's 50 most memorable matches. Get in touch with us via email at sport@eveningtimes.co.uk and have your say on the Hoops' biggest games.

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