Harry Hood, Twice as Good – A birthday for Harry, a debut for Kenny and the Road to Milan is underway

A birthday for Harry, a debut for Kenny and the Road to Milan is underway…

The month ended with Harry lining up against his old Clyde teammates for the first time, as Celts warmed up for the return leg with Basel with an unconvincing 2-1 victory on Saturday, 27 September 1969. There was an unfamiliar look about the Bully Wee forward line, which included recent signings Miller Hay from Queen’s Park and Jackie McBride from Cumnock Juniors, as the following teams ran out in front of 35,000 spectators at Celtic Park.

Celtic: John Fallon; Davie Hay & Tommy Gemmell; Jim Brogan, Billy McNeill & John Clark;

Jimmy Johnstone, Harry Hood, Willie Wallace, Bobby Lennox & John Hughes. Substitute: Jim Craig.

Clyde: John Wright; Harry Glasgow & Davie Souter; Stan Anderson, John McHugh & Jimmy Burns;

Graham Macfarlane, Miller Hay, Jackie McBride, Billy Hulston & Sam Hastings. Substitute: Dick Staite.

Harry was denied several times by his old keeper John Wright as the hosts struggled to break through. Celtic’s eventual matchwinner was Bobby Lennox, with goals either side of the break, the first set up by Harry in the 40th minute. It was all-square 10 minutes after the break, Miller Hay squeezing the ball home through a ruck of players, Tommy Gemmell then suffering the indignity of a second successive missed penalty, the big defender blasting wide after Harry and his old Brunswick teammate John McHugh clashed in the box. Lennox capitalised on a Wright error to seal the points just after the hour, Harry immediately withdrawn by Jock Stein with midweek in mind, Jim Craig his replacement.

On his first home European appearance for Celtic, the second leg against Basel, played on the first evening in October, Harry scored his first goal in continental competition inside the first minute, following up to net before many of the 50,000 crowd had taken their places after great work from Jimmy Johnstone.

With an hour played and Celts 1-0 to the good, an away goal from a potential exit, there was anxiety in the stadium until that European expert Tommy Gemmell blasted a shot from fully 25 yards past Swiss international keeper Marcel Kunz and into the roof of the net to finish the tie.

Elsewhere in the European Cup, the ties went with form, both Leeds United and Feyenoord racking up 16 goals against outclassed opposition from Norway and Iceland whilst Benfica and Fiorentina also progressed over Scandinavian sides with much narrower margins. Main headline of the night was St Etienne’s thrilling comeback over Bayern Munich, the French champions overcoming a 2-0 first leg deficit to win 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to a late winner from Malian striker Salif Keita.

Friday’s second round draw paired Celtic with Benfica, a return to Lisbon for Jock Stein and his remaining Lions and an exciting 25th birthday gift for Harry, whilst cup-holders AC Milan would face the high-scoring but little-known Dutch champions Feyenoord Rotterdam.

Whilst I was still “too wee” to attend the midweek European match with Basel, I was lucky enough to witness the home debut of a future Celtic superstar three days later. In the absence of Bobby Murdoch and his deputy Jim Brogan, 18-year-old Kenny Dalglish ran out against Raith Rovers for his first Celtic start, wearing the number four on his green jersey, whilst at the other end of the age spectrum Ronnie Simpson made his first appearance since the shoulder injury sustained at Shawfield back in February, just one week short of his 39th birthday.

My abiding memory of that game is how the Press managed to mis-spell Kenny’s surname, adding an ‘e’ for whatever reason. Harry would have to settle for a place on the bench, eventually coming on for two-goal Jimmy Johnstone with 17 minutes remaining and the Bhoys already 6-1 ahead. Bobby Lennox also netted a double whilst Willie Wallace, Tommy Callaghan and finally John Hughes were all on target as Celts won 7-1 to climb to sixth spot in the table.

Matt Corr

A little extract from Harry Hood – Twice as Good, published at the end of October by Celtic Star Books.

Many of Harry’s former Celtic team-mates have contributed to the book, including the aforementioned Kenny Dalglish, who has provided Matt with a foreword and assisted in many other areas. Matt Corr set out  to honour Harry Hood by writing a book that is ‘Twice as Good’ as just about any other Celtic book you may have read.  And do you know what? He’s just gone and done exactly that. It really is outstanding!

You can pre-order Harry Hood – Twice as Good at The Celtic Star bookstore, link below…

 Keep up to date on Twitter @HarryHoodBook

About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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