The sad story of Celtic’s second European Cup Final, losing to Feyenoord on this day in 1970

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I have to admit that at that time my knowledge of Dutch football was limited. The only team from the Netherlands I had seen was Go Ahead Deventer and we had beaten them easily. Yes I was aware of Ajax. They had beaten Liverpool in the 1966/67 competition. That result was written off as a bit of a fluke by the English and although in Scotland there was quite a lot of satisfaction at seeing an English team beaten there was still not the feeling yet that this was the start of a new era in football.

Ajax of course continued to improve in Europe and had reached the Final in 1969. But they had lost 4-1 to AC Milan. In those days coverage of football outside Britain was more limited. We certainly knew of Cruyff and we realised Dutch football was no longer like that in Scandinavia. At that time a Scottish club drawing a Scandinavian side in European competition was expected to win through. The Dutch were better than that of course but they surely could not beat a top side like Celtic? As I said that way of thinking was part of our downfall.

In 1967 I had made first ever flight on a plane to see my first ever European Cup Final. By now I considered myself an experienced traveller and whereas Lisbon had been a simple one day trip this time would also be a bit of a holiday.

My friend Brian McHenery who had not made it to Lisbon joined me on the flight to Italy the morning before the game. It was a relaxed flight with a great view of the Alps and soon we touched down in Milan. From there we were bussed to the lovely wee town of Baveno on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

It was a beatiful sunny day – in keeping with our sunny, confident mood. The town was full of Celtic fans, relaxing in the bars. Brian and I had a good look around the area and then stopped at a pavement cafe for a drink. There we met an older guy who told us he had been in Italy during the war. When we ordered beer he told us we had to try a special local wine.

We were normally just beer drinkers but thought it was worth a try. It was rather thick and sickly to my taste but I had a few sips. Brian accidentally knocked over his glass spliing some of the wine over the table cloth and staining it. The older guy left a few moments later and as Brian and I supped on our beer a waiter came to clear the table. When he lifted the tablecloth we saw the stain the drink had made to the table and wondered what it had done to our stomachs?!


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