Jimmy Johnstone’s debut was one of the most forgettable matches in Celtic’s history!

ON this day in 1963, there occurred one of the most memorable matches in the history of Celtic Football Club. Unfortunately, it was for all the wrong reasons. After all, how many times have Celtic been beaten 6-0?

The two opponents were pretty close to each other in the league table; Kilmarnock second on 37 points, Celtic 5th on 33, and a tight match was expected. And granted, Celtic had a few regulars out injured – Frank Haffey, John McNamee, Billy McNeill, Bobby Murdoch, John Hughes and John Divers – so a few reserves were drafted in, including two making their debut appearances for the club, Richard Madden in goal and Jimmy Johnstone at outside-right.

The full team was Madden, Young, Kennedy, McKay, Cushley, Price, Johnstone, Craig, Chalmers, Gallagher, Brogan.

A crowd of 20,000 had packed into Rugby Park for the encounter and it was thought that about half of those were supporting Celtic. They were in for a shock. Few guys in green-and-white played anything near their best and the Killie guys took their chances. In one of the evening papers the next day, one reporter was particularly scathing in his comments, under the heading –

Kilmarnock’s Big Win – Celtic Outclassed

‘I was particularly disappointed with teenage outside-right Jim Johnstone, a lad of whom we have heard so much.

But don’t blame the youngsters – some of the experienced hands weren’t so hot either. Dunky McKay had a shocking match at right-back; Bobby Craig disappeared from the scene; and Stevie Chalmers is no centre-forward. Only Kennedy, Price and Brogan would get pass marks’.

It was probably one of the most forgettable matches in Celtic’s history!

Jim Craig

About Author

Lisbon Lion and Celtic Ambassador Jim Craig provides The Celtic Star readers with a 365 day diary of all things Celtic, providing a remarkable and unique insight into our club from one of the players who won us The Celtic Star in Lisbon on 25 May 1967.

Comments are closed.