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When Scottish Football Took Europe By Storm – 1967 / When Scottish Football Took Europe By Storm – 1967

When Scottish Football Took Europe By Storm – 1967

By on 9 March 2018

We’re right at the business end of the European Football competitions – some good, some not so good results this week for English clubs. On a European nostalgia kick, we take you back to Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly July 1967 when writer on all things North of the border, Ken Gallagher, reviewed the season when Scottish football took Europe by storm -1966-67.

Celtic famously became the first British team to win the European Cup and Rangers narrowly missed out to Bayern Munich in the final of the Cup Winners Cup. While we shouldn’t dismiss also the international team’s victory over the ‘Auld Enemy’ in the Home Internationals, we will perhaps gloss over the fact that they self-proclaimed themselves the World Champions as a result. But it was a golden era the like of which we will likely never see again. And in our opinion worth celebrating.


Europe Belongs To Us

by Ken Gallagher

THIS is a story which any Scot would be proud to write. The story of the season when Scottish clubs took over a continent . . . and our national side licked the World Champions!

It is the story of a football-daft city—Glasgow—the first city to provide two of the Finalists in Europe’s two major competitions. When it’s all put together it makes the greatest success story in our Soccer history.

Celtic 1967 from CBFM Sept 1967

Celtic are the champions of Europe! No club have earned that title more gloriously in the dozen finals played so far for the Champions Cup.

Rangers were the runners-up in the Cup-Winners’ Cup. They fought magnificently for their honour to almost complete the near perfect double. That is the measure of the renaissance of our game at club level. It is by no means the whole story.

For the revival has far greater depth. Out-of-town Kilmarnock battled furiously through yet a third competition, the Fairs Cities Cup to reach the semi-finals. It was a wonderful effort. It took a British club, Leeds United, to end their interest and we Scots will be rooting for Don Revie’s boys when they contest the final of this competition next season.

Credit, too, for Dundee United. For here were the club who set the tempo for that victory march of the Scottish clubs across Europe. Playing in their first European match, they had to meet Barcelona, the holders ; six months earlier, in their magnificent Campnou Stadium, the Spanish side had slammed Chelsea 5-0 in a semi-finals play-off. Nobody gave United a chance. But they not only won 2-1, but repeated the tale by two clear goals when Barcelona arrived in Dundee, ready to wipe out this apparent indignity. United led the way, but the tremendous Celts stole the show, as they had been doing right through a fabulously successful season.

I know my friends across the border often smile indulgently about club success in Scotland. They claim that the competition is nowhere near as fierce as on their side. However you look at it, however it may have been rated, the British team of the year, Celtic, under Jock Stein, so clearly the Manager of the Year, could not have been more on top in our domestic issues.

Look at their haul . . . the Scottish League Cup, the Scottish F.A. Cup, the League Championship Cup, Glasgow Cup and the Second XI League Cup. They left nothing for the others!

But to prove to the rest what we who follow their fortunes already knew, that Jock Stein had built a GREAT team, they had to prove themselves in Europe.

It could have been said that they had done that when they became the first British side to reach the final of the European Cup. It wasn’t enough for Stein, nor his team. They had absolute faith in themselves to become the champions of Europe. I cannot remember being so thrilled about a match as on that sunlit evening in Lisbon when they did just that.

They began as the under-dogs. The power of their rivals we knew all about from Inter-Milan’s two Cup wins in the three previous years. With a penalty scored against them inside the first seven minutes, most clubs would have given Inter best there and then.

Not Celtic. Their thrilling, exciting and always courageous fight-back is now history. It is in the manner of achieving it that the glory lives on. Jock Stein had vowed all along, “We shall attack. We won’t abandon our playing principles because we have come this far.”

Therein lay the real merit of this first British triumph. Stein and Celtic showed, and have often done so, that when the occasion demands . . . be ready to seal up. But in that superb exhibition of the way everybody wants to see football played, they were hitting Inter with everything right up to the last dying seconds.

 It was an inspiring example to others, high-lighted by the negative, niggardly defensive football played by Inter-Milan. By all that was right they deserved to pay. They did in full measure.

The Lisbon story, then, was not alone one of a great boost for Scottish football but for the game the world over. As our side had shown at Wembley against England, so did Celtic against Inter. You CAN win at this game—and give EVERYBODY something worth watching.

Rangers Cup Winners Cup Finalists 1967

I said that Rangers fought magnificently in Nuremberg. It would be more true to say that they fought with everything they had, especially in defence. The fact that they fell in extra-time is a tribute to their spirit.

The what-might-have-been is a story to be told later. For in the cold, sober, after appraisal of the Cup-Winners’ Final it must be said that this was a match, and a trophy that could so easily have come back to Scotland to give the perfect ending to this story. Rangers had the spirit and the heart . . . they lacked the forwards to finish the job. And the men on the spot cannot be blamed for the fact that they did possess the fire-power which would have carried the day.

Seldom has a Rangers defence—and it did a great job throughout this competition—performed so confidently and so competently. McKinnon, Greig and both full-backs can look back on the evening without any qualms. They all played in heroic fashion. And right manfully they stuck to their task, even after seeing their hopes dashed time and again as chances went begging up in front. What team would not consider it had campaigned successfully merely by reaching the final?

But in Rangers’ case they had to fully prove themselves by winning, more so in view of Celtic’s success a week earlier. It was not to be. That part of the story is now being dealt with by the many inquests being set up. Nothing can take away the pride and the thrill of seeing our Scottish clubs take Europe by storm.

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