Another extract from Matt Corr’s wonderful new book Harry Hood – Twice as Good which is published at the end of this month. You can pre-order a signed copy below…
Harry faces the Hoops at Hampden with a cup final place at stake…
A foot injury suffered by his star striker Harry Hood at Dens Park made for a very anxious few days for Clyde manager Archie Robertson ahead of the Scottish League Cup semi-final with holders Celtic in midweek.
Harry attended Shawfield daily from the following Monday to undergo heat lamp treatment under the watchful eye of Clyde physio Tom Craig, the effort paying off as he was declared fit ahead of the Hampden kick-off on Wednesday, 9 October 1968.
Robertson was in upbeat mood beforehand.
“We expect to give Celtic a real game tonight but obviously our chances will be greatly improved if Hood can play. His presence will be a great morale boost to the team. The players feel that if they can get the breaks [then]they can cause a big surprise and Hood is a great goalscorer.”
With Jimmy Johnstone beginning a club suspension following an altercation with Jock Stein during the victory over Dundee United at the weekend, Bobby Lennox made a rare appearance on the right wing for Celtic as the teams lined up at Hampden as follows.
Ronnie Simpson; Jim Craig & Tommy Gemmell; Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill & Jim Brogan; Bobby Lennox, Willie Wallace, Stevie Chalmers, Joe McBride & John Hughes.
Substitute: George Connelly.
John Wright; Harry Glasgow & Eddie Mulheron; Stan Anderson, Jim Fraser & John McHugh; Graham Macfarlane, Harry Hood, Dick Staite, Jimmy Burns & Jim McGregor.
Substitute: Ian Stewart.
Archie Robertson was correct to be optimistic, as his Clyde team defended for their lives whilst causing several problems for Ronnie Simpson at the other end of the field. Harry tested Ronnie Simpson twice early on and was described in the media the following morning as a “constant threat,” but it would be Celtic who would progress to a League Cup final meeting with Hibernian – who beat Dundee at Tynecastle with a last-gasp winner from Allan McGraw – thanks to a late George Connelly strike. The big Fifer scored with a fierce shot off the crossbar, just three minutes after replacing the injured Joe McBride, to send most of the 35,000 spectators away in a happy mood.
Celtic’s future Hampden opponents would provide the next challenge for Clyde as Hibernian rolled up to Shawfield three days later, the visitors enjoying the better of the opening half-hour before Graham Macfarlane’s break down the right saw the winger set up Harry for a neat finish, his eighth goal of the season coming very much against the run of play. Justice was served on the hour when another much sought after young Scottish target – Peter Cormack – took aim from fully 30 yards to beat John Wright in the home goal, the match duly ending with honours even at 1-1.
That same afternoon at Tynecastle, Harry’s fellow Brunswick Bhoy Stevie Chalmers was also on target, heading Celtic’s late winner against Hearts. That is another game I remember from my childhood, as it was the first time I recall hearing the closing anthem from the major Beatles’ hit ‘Hey Jude’ being sung by the Celtic support. That remains one of my favourite chants from a magical Celtic era.
An extract from Harry Hood: Twice As Good, the official biography by Matt Corr Signed copies available to pre-order now at from Celtic Star Books, click on image below…