The East is Green – Bringing Heinz Spaghetti to Milan

More from The East is Green…


It used to be if anyone just said “the Leeds game” you knew right away what they’re talking about. A young guy on the Craigmillar & Gilmerton bus, Paul Barnett loves to hear all the stories from the past “Were you at the Leeds game?” he asked. “Yes I was at both home and away”…He then says: “What was it like at Hampden, what do you remember about it?”

“Well, I said, “obviously the crowd was 136,505. I have been in Hampden many times but never seen it like that and the heat generated being so crammed in together, two girls were squeezing through but couldn’t go any further and stopped right in front of me as the game proceeded one of them was getting pushed right up against me, now I can honestly say I wasn’t entirely happy with this her arse was right against my groin moving up down, sideways, in out, round and round was creating an unwanted situation and I thought if she notices she might call a cop, not that one would have got through anyway. Not that she felt anything, I was praying for a goal to break away from this embarrassment we got one but it was from Billy Bremner eventually I broke free like the penguins on Nat Geo, he’s done his business, now he’s away to watch football.

Davy Hat and Billy Bremner

After telling this to young Paul he says “I ask you about beating Leeds United, champions of England in the European Cup semi-final in front of an all-time record crowd, one of greatest games in the club’s history and all you remember is rubbing yer’sel up against a bird’s arse.”



Leeds United, indeed no other side in Europe had ever faced such a one-sided support as this one there was a crowd of 136,505 packed into Hampden with only 4,500 fans travelling up from Yorkshire, the support for Celtic was overwhelming. The attendance was a record for a European Cup match it still stands to this day and is unlikely ever to be beaten.

Some say Leeds lost their nerve in front of this vast opposition something Billy Bremner totally disagreed with. “Nonsense, we played in front of big crowds before. Granted nothing as big as this but for me personally if anything it was Bertie Auld who took my mind off the game and affected my concentration Bertie could be as nasty as any of the hard men in United’s ranks, after 42 minutes Jones was carried off with a deep gash on his right shin for a time there were fears he would not return. Bremner recalled: “It was a terrible, terrible tackle on Mick Jones by wee Bertie Auld. His leg was in a terrible state at half-time I was raging when I saw it well, I went after Bertie at every opportunity in the second half he knew I was after him but no chance, he was too fly for me. Tam McViegh used to say Bertie was that fly he could walk on the ceiling.


In London in the late sixties if you were passing through King’s Cross you would here old jakies begging for money quite often in Scottish accents ‘Couldnae spare a wee tanner son could ye’, an auld
Jock on the job who’d been there for years said these guys got off at King’s Cross and just never got any further.

Travelling on the tube to work I started planning which entrance tunnel to use to the
platform and stand opposite a certain advert so that when the train arrived I will be right at the second carriage train door just to short cut everything. This really was getting caught up in the rat race so I started travelling home on the bus took a bit longer but allowed you to see a wee bit more of London on the top deck one day passing a Mathew Hall construction site up near Tottenham Court Road I could see over the hoarding and there in what look like newly painted great big six-foot-tall white letters on the roof of one of the site cabins were those two lovely words GLASGOW CELTIC.

I was talking to a Chelsea fan at work he had been at the Cup Winners Cup final in Athens 1971 He said “There must have been two, aye maybe even three thousand Chelsea fans there. I remember thinking there must be at least that number of Celtic fans still trying to get back from Lisbon. “The Greeks had seen nothing like it,” says Match of the Day statistician and Chelsea programme editor Albert Sewell. “The Shed took over Omonia Square. Chelsea’s vast armada’, as Sewell labelled them, outnumbered their Real counterparts by more than two to one. Gee must have been some sight right enough, remember I mentioned the ’69 and ’73 SCFs with 65,000 a side , just saying.

1970 European Cup Final – San Siro, Milan

There are two main airports in Milan, Malpensa and Linate. We were very proud to be the first Celtic bus in Milan on the Monday before the game not another Celt in sight so we decided to go out to the airport to welcome the team. Needless to say in typical St, Pats fashion we went to the wrong airport, Todd Sweeney painted the message below on a roll wood chip wallpaper just to welcome Italian businessmen and families returning home, “nice people those Scots”.

Not a great photo below but my auld mate Davie McKearney is standing above the “E” in Celts and wearing one of those old scarfs that most of us had in the sixties when there wasn’t much else in the shops. Years later he moved down to England I hope he took that old piece of sentimental history with him. Hail Hail Davy.

You would hardly believe a rowdy bunch of fans passing through London in 1970 on their way to Milan with very little communications could arrange to meet an old pal James Lavell somewhere in London at an unpredictable time and actually achieve it.

When we got to Milan the only guy with any forward planning as far as food goes was Larry Loy, he brought tins of Heinz spaghetti, that’s right to Italy!

“Whit a bloody cairry oan”


The East is Green is a self published booklet written by life-long Celtic supporter Brian McAuley, who has also personally designed so many Celtic Supporters Club badges and many of them will be shown on The Celtic Star as we serialise this brilliant little book. Running to just over 100 pages it’s a great insight into supporting Celtic and attending games stretching as far back as the 1950s to the modern day.

As we have done previously with Jerry Woods’ brilliant To Lisbon and Back on a Fiver, we’re happy to put any reader in touch with Brian and he’s post and package you a copy of The East is Green for the very reasonable cost of £5 including postage. Just drop an email to and we’ll make the necessary introductions.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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