TV blackout for Celtic’s title winning days in 1977 and 1979

Think of a TV black out involving Celtic and you automatically cast your mind back to the night when the famous ten men won the league against Rangers at Celtic Park in a famous 4-2 win back in 1979.

A strike by television workers scuppered any chance of any footage being broadcasted on such an historic night.

Two years earlier it was a similar scenario for Celtic, although in different circumstances. It was 16 April 1977, the setting was Easter Road, and a win over Hibs would see Celtic crowned champions. It would be the club’s first title under the rebranded ‘Premier League’ model, and Jock Steins 10th as manager.

Hibs chairman Tom Hart had controversially banned the TV cameras from the game. He was of the opinion that football was over-exposed on television and in turn keeping spectators away from the grounds.

Not content with a one-off ban, he was on record of proposing a one year trial ban of television cameras from all stadia. I shudder to think what Tom would think if he was around in the present day!

Tom Hart even banned the Celtic film from recording the game and any celebrations in the away dressing room at full time. His actions backfired as a crowd of just 22,000 turned up opposed to the 30,000 plus that would have normally been expected. However he did get some vindication a few weeks later when Celtic completed the double by winning the Scottish Cup final against Rangers thanks to an Andy Lynch penalty kick.

Over 70,000 tickets had been sold for the 1977 Scottish Cup final featuring the Old Firm but only 54,000 bothered to turn up for the game. That was because this was the first Scottish Cup final to be broadcast live on television.

So with or without television there was a certain apathy creeping into supporters – can you imagine these days empty spaces at Easter Road if Celtic needed a win to clinch the title or 16,000 fans with tickets not bothering to turn up for a Glasgow Derby cup final because it’s on TV?

In the game at Easter Road in 1977, Celtic prevailed, winning 1-0 thanks to Joe Craig’s goal in the 63rd minute. Kenny Dalglish was carried shoulder high in what would be his last league title win with the club.

It was also Jock Stein’s last ever title triumph. Pat Stanton won his first ever league winners medal ironically enough at Easter Road. In fact it was a first title win for the entire starting XI apart from Danny McGrain and Kenny Dalglish.

An eventful day, but no TV cameras present to witness it, totally unthinkable nowadays.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

1 Comment

  1. Jim O'Rourke on

    77 cup final was pouring with rain and hampden was an absolute dump then especially in bad weather so the fact it was live on tv it was kinda understandable and we were only getting 30 000 odd for home games then too