Family bonus as Harry’s double sinks the Diamonds…Another extract from Harry Hood – Twice as Good, this time from 1970…
The League Cup semi-final replay with Dumbarton, 48 hours later, involved another controversial winner. A severe nosebleed which had kept him up all of Sunday night meant Harry would not start a match in the competition for the first time that season.
Despite a perfect start – a Bobby Lennox double within 15 minutes – Celts would again struggle against the second-tier Sons. Charlie Gallagher scored from the spot just after the hour to start the fightback from 0-2 and it would take extra-time before Jock Stein’s men edged a seven-goal thriller, thanks to goals from Willie Wallace and Lou Macari, with Dumbarton defenders claiming that the ball had swerved back into play before Macari headed home.
League business resumed five days later with a tricky visit to Broomfield to face an Airdrieonians side tucked in just two points behind the leaders and boasting their double-Drew strike force of Busby and Jarvie. That gap would be four later that afternoon, as Harry celebrated his return with an outstanding performance, which included his first two League goals of the season, not the nicest reunion for his direct opponent that afternoon, former Clyde teammate Pat Delaney, the son of Celtic legend Jimmy.
Harry’s 15th-minute header from a Bobby Lennox cross equalised the opening goal from Diamonds winger Billy Wilson, another member of that Kilsyth Rangers Scottish Junior Cup-winning side of 1967. As an aside, Drew Jarvie would also have played at Hampden that day but for injury. Within 10 minutes Harry turned goalmaker, returning the compliment to Lennox, allowing the Lisbon Lion to volley past Roddy McKenzie. With 20 minutes remaining, Harry scored the goal of the game, a 20-yard drive which left Airdrie’s Irish international keeper helpless. Aberdeen’s 2-0 win at Ibrox allowed them to stay in touch with Celtic at the top of the table, both the Dons and St Johnstone remaining two points behind.
There was a lovely family postscript to that match at Broomfield. A scene featuring Harry was featured in the popular ‘Place the Ball’ competition in The Evening Times and the main prize of £1,000 was duly won by a 43-year-old Duntocher joiner, Henry Scott, who just happened to be Harry’s first cousin! The son of Walter Scott junior – Harry’s maternal uncle – was delighted, his wife Betty expecting their first child in February 1971.
“It’s quite incredible that I should win the big prize this particular week. Harry must have brought the luck. Harry was making his own luck that Saturday at Broomfield. I remember he scored two goals.”
Harry was now enjoying the best form of his career, prompting suggestions of a full international call-up. Jim Blair waxed lyrical over his weekend performance in his Monday column for The Evening Times.
“Clap hands, here comes Harry! That could well be Celtic’s slogan this week – seven days that soak up a European Cup-tie in Ireland and a League Cup final date at Hampden against Rangers – after their fine 3-1 win on Saturday over Airdrie. No doubt about it, this was a 24-carat performance from Harry Hood, a player of unquestionable ability. Whilst Scotland team manager Bobby Brown was at Ibrox watching Rangers slump to defeat against Aberdeen – he was checking on Bobby Clark, John Greig and Colin Stein – Hood had the Celtic fans singing his praises at Broomfield with an exhibition of almost flawless football.”
“He scored two goals. His first came from a header after Airdrie had taken the lead and his second wrapped up the game 20 minutes from time. It was a beauty. He picked up the ball in the outside-left position, veered inside and from about 25 yards out, looked up and cracked in an unsavable shot that even moved his normally modest self to raise both hands above his head in salute, when he saw it crash into the net behind McKenzie.”
“It wasn’t just his goals that made him the top man. Far from it. His distribution was a treat to watch, and I honestly don’t remember him wasting a ball all afternoon. It was Hood who set up Celtic’s second goal. He chested down a good Murdoch pass in the inside-right position and crossed to the far post. Wallace jumped and missed, right-back Jonquin decided to let it go – which is suicidal against Celtic – and in stepped Lennox to slam it home.”
“Scotland’s game with Denmark is only a couple of weeks away, and if Hood continues to turn in this sort of football, he may well swap his green-and-white jersey for the dark blue of his country.”
An extract from Harry Hood – Twice as Good published by Celtic Star Books at the end of this month.