“Oh Harry, Harry…Oh Harry Hood”: Part 6: A new decade brings the new Italian champions to Glasgow
Over the weekend Matt Corr started his latest series featuring the career of a Celtic legend and after his outstanding tribute to Charlie Gallagher this time it’s the turn of Harry Hood. Last Saturday was the anniversary of Harry becoming the last ever Celtic player to score a hat-trick against Rangers FC. You can read back to catch up on the first 5 parts on The Celtic Star but for now we’ll hand over to Matt to pick up the Harry Hood story at the start of 1970…
I marked the first changing of a decade in my lifetime with a trip to Shawfield in my dad’s car to see Celtic take on Clyde, the supporters’ bus not running on Thursday, 1 January 1970. It was weird to see a date on the programme which was not from the 1960’s. Funny the things which stick in your mind. Harry Hood would return to his first senior ground and Celtic would return with the two points after a hard-fought 2-0 win, the former Clyde striker instrumental in setting up the first goal of the ‘70s for John Hughes before young Lou Macari sealed victory right at the death.
Two days later, new Rangers manager Willie Waddell brought his team to Parkhead and left with a creditable point after a goalless draw, the major talking point the ruling out of a Billy McNeill goal just before the break, referee Paterson of Bothwell deciding that keeper Neef had been impeded.
Cesar would score an identical goal the following week at Easter Road which was allowed to stand, before Harry Hood set up John Hughes for a late winner with a sublime flick at the edge of the box, Yogi beating future Celtic keeper Gordon Marshall at his near post to clinch a 2-1 win after Arthur Duncan had brought the hosts level.
Next followed a memorable double-header with Dunfermline Athletic at Parkhead, again games I can recall so clearly for whatever reason. Saturday, 24 January 1970 saw the Pars face Celtic in a rematch of the Scottish Cup third-round tie which they won 2-0 two years earlier, en route to winning the trophy.
More than 50,000 fans packed into the ground to see if Jock Stein could avoid a repeat of his only loss in the competition as Celtic boss to date outwith a final itself, a record he would incredibly retain until his final season, a decade later. However, with 10 minutes remaining, a Dunfermline win looked the likelier outcome, the Fifers ahead on the hour when winger Jim Gillespie took advantage of a poor Jim Brogan passback to beat Evan Williams. The fact that a similar mistake by Davie Cattenach in the 1968 tie had cost the Bhoys a goal that day would not be lost on anyone who attended.
As the game entered its final stages, once again it was Yogi to the rescue, turning brilliantly to beat John Arrol for 1-1. Due to the size of the crowd, I had been sent down to the front barrier with the other young kids, and as was the practice of the day, over we went onto the grass behind the goal to celebrate, in my case praying desperately that my dad wouldn’t spot me amongst the throng. He would not have approved of that. I really pushed my luck 10 minutes later, with a repeat performance, following Harry Hood’s last-gasp header which won the match for Celtic. Pars manager George Farm would have his replay tickets for company on the bus journey home.
Harry would drop out of the squad as Celts defeated Dunfermline 3-1 the following Saturday, big John Hughes in the form of his life with a double, then return for the visit of Dundee United in the next round on Saturday, 7 February 1970. Another Yogi brace helped secure a safe passage into the quarter-final for the Bhoys after a 4-0 win, the prize a home tie with Rangers in the last eight, the first time I could recall the sides meeting before the final.
Five days before that match, there was a battle of the classic Hoops at Firhill, Hood putting the green-and-white variety into an early lead before Jimmy Johnstone, Lou Macari and a Tommy Gemmell double from the penalty spot set Celts up nicely for the big game with a 5-1 win over the Jags.
Saturday, 21 February 1970 saw the much-anticipated clash of Glasgow’s big two at Celtic Park in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup. Jock Stein, unusually, decided to go with Davie Hay in a more advanced role, Harry Hood the man to drop to the bench.
A full house of 75,000 saw an incredible start to the match, Bobby Lennox this time the Celt to have a goal disallowed, the ball clearly crossing the line before being knocked back out by Willie Mathieson, then Jim Craig inadvertently giving the visitors the lead within 60 seconds, his misplaced header beating Evan Williams.
The class act which is Willie Johnston then decided to have a bit of fun at Craig’s expense, running over to give him a celebratory pat on the head, an act copied by his strike partner, Colin Stein. The Karma Police would soon sort that out.
Lennox would get his name on the scoresheet just before the interval, beating Neef from a tight angle, and on the hour mark, Harry Hood replaced the struggling John Hughes as Celts tried to seal the tie. The second controversial moment in the tie occurred immediately after Harry’s entrance, Rangers midfielder Alex MacDonald sliding into the prone Williams as he gathered the ball and being promptly sent off by referee ‘Tiny’ Wharton as Jim Brogan sought to take matters into his own hands.
With the match seemingly destined for an Ibrox replay, Stein’s latest tactical decision would reap dividends. There were only five minutes left on the clock when Davie Hay strode through the midfield mud to unleash the most glorious shot past the German keeper into the roof of the net, as Parkhead erupted, not a bad way to score your first goal for Celtic. Jimmy Johnstone then made certain of a semi-final place for the holders by netting a third in the final minute, the little winger lifted into the air in triumph by Harry Hood in front of the Jungle, in another iconic Celtic moment.
March commenced with the visit of Italian champions Fiorentina to Celtic Park in the quarter-final of the European Cup, 12 months after AC Milan had denied the Hoops the chance of a potential second quadruple, and thus the opportunity to match the achievements of the immortals of Lisbon two years earlier.
Reigning European and World champions Milan had been one of a number of high-profile casualties from the previous round, goals from future Celtic Head Coach Wim Jansen and Wim Van Hanegem in Rotterdam overturning a 1-0 deficit from the San Siro to send unfancied Dutch champions Feyenoord through to the last eight. Celtic’s other two opponents from the previous season were also eliminated, Saint Etienne losing both legs to Legia Warsaw whilst Red Star Belgrade were beaten by Vorwarts Berlin on away goals. Six-time winners Real Madrid were surprisingly beaten both home and away by Belgian champions, Standard Liege, whilst, of course, Celtic had knocked out Benfica.
The new favourites for the competition were Don Revie’s Leeds United, in the European Cup for the first time, with the bookmakers seeing the main runners in the race as follows;
• Leeds United 2/1
• Fiorentina 5/2
• Celtic 7/2
• Feyenoord 10/1
Jock Stein had expressed a desire to avoid English champions Leeds “until later,” the draw duly obliging, however, he was given the most serious of tests as Celts were paired with the latest Florentine Masters, La Viola having a renaissance of their own by lifting Lo Scudetto in 1969 for only the second time in the club’s history.
Their previous success had been back in 1956, their goalkeeper a certain Giuliano Sarti, the young stopper and his teammates going all the way to the following season’s European Cup final, before losing out to holders Real Madrid on their own Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. In 1963, Sarti moved to Inter Milan, where he would win the competition in 1964 and 1965 – adding two World Club Championships for good measure – before even his unbelievable performance in the heat of Lisbon in May 1967 could not stop a fantastic Celtic side from taking the Big Cup home to Glasgow.
A record midweek crowd of over 77,000 packed into Celtic Park for the mouth-watering tie, Stein naming the following side;
Evan Williams; Davie Hay & Tommy Gemmell; Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill & Jim Brogan;
Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox, Willie Wallace, Bertie Auld & John Hughes.
Substitutes; John Fallon, Harry Hood, Jim Craig, Tommy Callaghan & Lou Macari.
Bertie Auld was the surprise inclusion in the team, having been missing since mid-January due to injury. Once again, Jock Stein would come up trumps, the veteran midfielder running the show, scoring the opening goal – remarkably his only strike for Celtic in Europe – with a low left-foot shot from the edge of the box on the half-hour, then playing in the cross from which poor Francesco Carpenetti launched the ball into his own net five minutes into the second period.
The Italians resorted to some uncompromising challenges to avoid further damage, John Hughes taking a level of punishment which forced him from the field and allowed Stein to introduce Harry Hood. He would be wearing the number 13 shorts, however, that would prove unlucky for Fiorentina. Seconds from the final whistle, Auld centred again from the left, his cross beating goalkeeper Franco Superchi but seemingly drifting out for a goal-kick beyond the far post. Then there is a tremendous leap from Harry Hood, outjumping his marker to head the ball perfectly back across the goal, Superchi stranded as Willie Wallace finds himself on the line and presented with the easiest goal of his illustrious career. Justice is done at 3-0.
Seconds later, it is all over and a jubilant Hoops team are taking a bow in front of an ecstatic Jungle. There will still be an Italian Job to be done in a fortnight, however, they have taken a huge step towards a second European Cup.
The dream is on.
Thanks, as always, to the wonderful Celtic Wiki.
Follow Matt on Twitter @Boola_vogue