So far, our series has been full of Scottish encounters up to press – with mishaps, title-winners, defeats and agonizing defeats to boot. You can rarely beat a game against fellow Scotsmen on home soil – unless it’s a huge game against European opposition under the lights at Paradise. Until now we haven’t detailed former glories from the continental stage – but today we break that rule as we document a monumental win back in the 60’s.
Dynamo Kiev were the visitors to Glasgow’s East End in January 1966. Obviously, this was the year before the infamous Lisbon Lions’ European exploits the following campaign – and the occurrences that took place that night at Celtic Park were quite rightly a sign of things to come.
It would’ve been very difficult to gauge what sort of football Dynamo Kiev would play leading up to this tie; despite being in the top tier of the Soviet footballing divisions since 1936, this was the first season that the Soviet Football Federation had allowed teams to participate in European competition, and for such a large country to have never showcased their talents to the wider world, it was interesting to see how this enigmatic side would play. They’d picked up a reputation amongst scouts as a very possession based side, and time was to tell whether Celtic could overcome their rumoured attacking waves.
Kiev took on Northern Irish side Coleraine in their first round, followed by a side who Celtic currently seem to play every year in Rosenborg, winning 10-1 and 4-1 on aggregate respectively. Clearly, they weren’t going to be any sort of pushovers. However, Jock Stein’s side were equally in a good run of continental form; having beaten Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles and Danish outfit Aarhus 7-0 and 3-0 on aggregate, it would be down to the Soviet side to break Celtic’s run of no goals conceded in over six hours of play in European competition.
Just over 60,000 fans packed into Paradise to see Stein take on Viktor Maslov’s boys, and they duly didn’t disappoint in front of Celtic’s biggest ever European crowd.
Tommy Gemmell got proceedings underway just before the half-hour mark as his potshot from 35 yards slipped through the gloves of the sorrowful Kiev keeper Bannikov; trickling over the line to send the Celtic fans into bedlam.
Stein’s side has a gilt-edged change to double their lead from 12 yards soon afterwards, but striker John Hughes sent his spot-kick into orbit to plant the seed of doubt into the Parkhead faithful’s minds.
Under Jock though, Celtic never had real reason to worry when taking the lead at home, and despite Kiev’s attempts to show Scotland what they were about, Bobby Murdoch let them know what was what, with one of the best midfield displays Celtic Park has ever season. The Rutherglen born midfielder was instrumental in this game, scoring two powerful efforts and almost securing a second-half hattrick with a third powerful effort which cannoned off the bar – paying testament as to how good a side Celtic showed they could be. Stein’s men effortlessly went on to see the game out, taking a 3-0 victory into the return tie and asserting their dominance on the continental scene.
Following the win, Celtic had to go to Kiev for the second leg hoping not to lose – and certainly not by three. A 1-1 draw, with the game actually taking place in Georgia’s Tbilisi due to snow conditions – with yet another goal from Tommy Gemmell – helped the Bhoys’ progress to the semi-final, where they were unfortunately knocked out by Liverpool.
The Celtic team that day was: Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, Cushley, Clark, Johnstone, Gallagher, McBride, Chalmers, Hughes.