Halfway through December in 1964, Celtic were in 5th place in the league table, behind Hearts, Kilmarnock, Hibs and Dunfermline. On Boxing Day, they beat Motherwell 2-0 at home but then went on to lose 0-1 to Rangers (A), draw 1-1 with Clyde (H), lose 1-3 to Dundee Utd (A) and 1-2 to Hearts (H) before drawing 3-3 with Morton (A).
That made the next game, against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, on this day in 1965, a very crucial one and a crowd of 14,000 turned up at the stadium for the occasion.
The Celtic side was Fallon, Young, Gemmell, Clark, McNeill, Brogan, Chalmers, Murdoch, Hughes, Lennox and Auld.
The pitch was very hard with patches of ice at different areas, so before the match the players went out to try out various types of footwear.
Now, in those days, Celtic did not splash the cash on players’ equipment.
Each player had two pairs of boots, one with leather studs and one with rubber studs, the latter also used for training purposes.
Striker John Hughes tried both types but was not happy with either of them. Then, he noticed a pair of trainers that were also in the kit hamper, with Billy McNeill’s name on them. He asked the skipper if he could try those, had a run about on the pitch and declared himself comfortable both with the fit and the grip. It was an inspired choice.
Big Yogi ran riot that afternoon.
As players all round him slipped and stumbled, John Hughes kept his balance and showed the form he was capable of, scoring five in 28, 36, 62, 80 and 86 minutes.
Three others were supplied by Bertie Auld (pen), Bobby Lennox and Bobby Murdoch, giving Celtic a fine 8-0 victory.
NB. On the following day, it was announced that Jock Stein would be coming back as manager in March.