From the archive: Celtic 3 - 0 St Mirren - 7 October 1971
CELTIC reached their eighth successive League Cup final and the scoreline would suggest they did so comfortably. To think so would be far from the truth. They had a bad night, and on the form they showed against St Mirren at Hampden last night they would struggle in the final against Partick Thistle.
A team into which Gemmell and Hood had been brought never moved with any smoothness until the game was won; and that was only after McLauchlin, the St Mirren full-back, had been controversially ordered from the field. That was a decision that will long be argued over in Paisley.
For the next 25 minutes Celtic played with an extra man, but they could not make a chance, far less score a goal. Then, on the hour, they scored three in four minutes, and it was all over.
St Mirren’s defence with McQueen magnificently composed in the middle of it, were little troubled by Celtic’s erratic and fussy play; and had they settled to concentrate on the ball, then anything could have happened. They were physical in a niggly sort of way, and that cost them a player.
The right winger, McKean, looked promising, and the weaving runs of McLeod were threatening. In their all-over deportment, St Mirren looked better than Second Division material.
From the start it did not look like a good night for Celtic. In the first minute Johnstone twice fumbled the ball and Macari shot over from two yards’ range. Celtic then struggled to find rhythm while St Mirren gained in confidence.
Celtic’s right attack stuttered and Johnstone could not get going and St Mirren began to show promise on their right. McKean, with good running, cut deep into Celtic’s defence and the weaving of McLeod had McNeill at full stretch.
Fully half an hour had gone before there was some sign of co-ordination in the Celtic play.
It was indicative of Johnstone finding form in this erratic team that he was twice tripped and then McLauchlan was booked for fouling him.
There were, hereabouts, too many fouls and then when McLauchlan body-checked Lennox as he was racing through and downed him the referee called McLauchlan over and took out his book to take his name. Then the referee discovered that he had already booked the full-back so, according to rule, he had to order him from the field for repeating the offence.
The second foul was hardly worth a booking but for those two petty offences the full-back was ordered off. Thus was there another warning that when a player has been cautioned he must be careful.
And so after 35 minutes St Mirren were left with ten men. Fortunately for them one was McQueen and the big fellow stood magnificently against everything Celtic could throw at him. It should be said that most of it was straightforward stuff and although he and Fulton had to work hard the goalkeeper Connaghan was seldom troubled.
At the start of the second half, Macari was near with a hook shot and it seemed then that Celtic would take control, but this was an illusion. Because they had the odd man they were able to exert much pressure on the St Mirren defence, without disturbing it however, and St Mirren, when Blair and McLeod broke, were more dangerous because they had more space to work in.
It seemed that, despite having the extra man, Celtic could be in trouble, but then on the hour they scored two spectacular goals in a minute. They were in the final.
The first one was unexpected, Johnstone had switched to the left wing and made ground over there. His pass to Hay was awkwardly placed and hit high but Hay hooked the ball and it was always going away from the goalkeeper, who did get his fingers to it but could not stop it.
Before the cheers of relief had subsided, Lennox had broken on the right and stroked the ball in front of Hood 18 yards out. A magnificently hit low shot gave the goalkeeper no chance. This was a sensational and unexpected turn of event.
Then in another three minutes Celtic had another – again a spectacular goal. Johnstone once more made the pass from the left and Lennox rose and the ball went from the crown of his head to curve beyond Connaghan. That was more than St Mirren could take. There was a flash of hope when Blair had the ball in the net but he was offside. They subsided and Celtic, with the strain off, began to look more like themselves.
Celtic: Williams; Craig, Gemmell, Hay, McNeill, Connelly, Johnstone, Lennox, Hood, Callaghan, Macari. Sub: Wallace.
St Mirren: Connaghan; Murray, McLauchlan, Knox, McQueen, Fulton, McKean, Millar, Blair, McLeod, Munro. Sub: Lawson.
Referee: J Gordon (Fife).
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West