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1970-05-06: Celtic 1-2 Feyenoord, European Cup
|Match Pictures | Road to Milan (1970)|
European Cup Final 1970
- Feyenoord became the first Dutch team to win the European Cup and heralded in a golden era for Dutch football, albeit lorded by Ajax and the National side with Feyenoord's achievement overshadowed.
- Last European Cup final for Celtic, favourites to win the European Cup this time but wasn't to be.
- Wim Jansen, a midfielder for Feyenoord in the game, was later to become Celtic manager for one season, in 1997-98 and famously managed the club to halt Rangers from achieving ten league wins a row! In some ways, recompense for the final loss.
- Tommy Gemmell's goal in this game, puts him in the exalted select group of players who have scored a European Cup final goal in more than one final.
- Strikes in Milan ruined the game for many supporters. Fans had up to 15 hour delays flying in and out of Italy and hotels only opened 24 hours before the game after another strike.
- Weather was damp and rainy, very un-Italian at that time of year but was in keeping with the mood of the estimated 20,000 strong Celtic support.
- A stark contrast to the success of sunny Lisbon in 1967.
Match ReviewFor all Celtic’s wonderful victories as underdogs they retain an agonising knack to let you down when you least expect it. Celtic are notoriously uncomfortable favourites. But never has that ability to self-implode been so painful and far-reaching as in the European Cup final of 1970.
This was Celtic’s chance to cement their place at European football’s top table. To show they were not just guests at this level but permanent residents. However Feyenoord would ensure that this occasion was every bit as sour as Lisbon was sweet.
It perhaps says everything about the talent and expectations of Celtic in 1970 that a European Cup final defeat was a disaster. In 2003 just reaching the UEFA Cup final was deemed cause for celebration. Even after defeat in that final it was an event worthy of a DVD release and countless merchandising cash cows. In 1970 the loss of a European final was simply a cause for mourning.
Having convincingly defeated the supposedly invincible Leeds United in the semi-finals Celtic had every reason to enter the game against the Dutch in confident mood. They had dismantled the English champions over two legs and were rightly installed as favourites for the final at the San Siro.
Despite taking the lead Celtic would slump to a 2-1 defeat. The cold written facts state it was a 2-1 extra-time victory for the Dutch. But the stats do not reflect the true picture of a game in which Feyenoord were the masters from start to finish. It was a scoreline which flattered Celtic every bit as much as the Bhoys 2-1 victory in 1967 flattered Inter Milan.
Defeated and dejected the Celtic team trailed off the San Siro pitch. They were well beaten by a side Billy McNeill would later admit had been badly under-estimated by the Celtic camp. Jock Stein had prepared his team well but mentally the Bhoys did not seem as focused or as hungry as their opponents. There was talk about a row over commercial deals for the players and there was a sense that all Celtic had to do was turn up and the European Cup was returning to Glasgow.
Jimmy Johnstone would recall nobody had rated Feyenoord and that there had been a sense that the European Cup was won with the defeat of Leeds. As Tom Campbell would state in The Glory and The Dream – The serpent of complacency had entered Paradise.
The final whistle at the San Siro did not just mark the end of the game. It signalled the beginning of the end of the most glorious chapter in Celtic’s history. A period of five years when the club’s stylish attacking football had made them the darlings of European football.
Jock Stein – who was left questioning his own judgement – was left to rebuild a demoralised team and an ageing squad which perhaps no longer had the fierce hunger for success they once possessed. It would be a massive task to take Celtic back to the top of European football. So massive that despite a valiant attempt it would prove even beyond the reach of Stein.
As for the game itself Jim Brogan was injured in the first minute and carried on bravely but was not at 100% for the rest of the match.
After Gemmell had given Celtic the lead Celtic could not consolidate and Israel equalised only two minutes later.
Evan Williams was Celtic's best player on the night and kept Celtic in the game with several magnificent saves.
There were only minutes left of extra time when Kindvall scored a deserved winner but it was galling that Celtic could not have shut up shop to take their chances in the replay.
TeamsFeyenoord (trainer Happel)
Romeijn (Haak), Laseroms, Israël, Van Duivenbode;
Van Hanegem, Wery, Kindvall, Moulijn
Celtic (manager Jock Stein)
Hay, Brogan, McNeill, Gemmell;
Murdoch, Auld (Connelly);
Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Hughes
29' 0-1 C: Gemmell
31' 1-1 F: Israel
117' 2-1 F: Kindvall
Stadium: San Siro (Milan, Italy)
Referee: Lo Bello (Italy)
Quotes'It will stick in my mind forever that after the game the Celtic players were extremely good sportsmen and, together with their supporters, they gave us a standing ovation when we were receiving the cup.'
Eddy Pieters Graafland, goalkeeper for Feyenoord in the 1970 final.
'That defeat in 1970 took a lot out of the club and took a lot out of the self-belief and everything else. We never quite got back to that level again.'
Billy McNeill on losing the European Cup Final in 1970, speaking in 1998
'I hit the ball against the goalkeeper. It was just one of those things but I reckon when I did that, that was me finished at Celtic. Jock Stein was like that: he tended to blame you for things. Within a year I had left the club.'
John Hughes on missing a goal-scoring oppurtunity in extra-time of the 1970 European Cup Final with the score at 1-1.
"I remember how upset we were. What a chance we'd blown to win it a second time in just three years.
We went into that Final as favourites. We even scored first, although Feyenoord equalised shortly afterwards.
Then the match went into extra time and they scored again near the end. We were only two minutes away from forcing a replay and, had we got one, I'm sure Big Jock as well as all the players would have been right up for it. But we just didn't play well enough.
Some people reckoned we were overconfident after beating Leeds United in the semi-final. I never understood that. When you get to the Final of the European Cup, there's no room for complacency. Credit to Feyenoord - they turned out to be better than we'd expected."
"Feyenoord are a first class team in every way. We didn't spot a single weakness."
Sean Fallon (27th April 1970)
Memories of the Final
I was 11 years old and remember watching this final on TV with my father. Colour TV was not available in Britain in 1970(not on Teesside, anyway), so my memories are in glorious, grainy, black-and-white Eurovision. The final was in Milan, which is a long, long way from Teesside (Middlesbrough), so the quality of the TV pictures was not what we are used to today - but they had their own unique magic which added to the drama of the occasion.
Three years earlier, in 1967, Celtic had won the European Cup Final against the odds and against a very strong Inter Milan team. Celtic were the underdogs then, completely unfancied, and generally unknown outside of their environs. A bit like Feijenoord in 1970.
The feeling in many quarters in Britain at the time was that Celtic would coast through the 1970final and win easily against an unknown team who a) were Dutch, for God's sake, and b) to the English ear, had an unpronouncable name ("Feee-jen-ooooor-d?" - that's far too many vowels to be taken seriously, surely?).
The past truly is a foreign country. Feijenoord's name was almost as comical at the time as that of their great domestic rivals, Ajax of Amsterdam. In Britain in 1970, "Ajax" was a well-known cleaning product, the housewife's favourite, and it was just a hoot that those crazy Dutchmen would name a football club after a bottle of household bleach. By 1973, however, we all knew, greatly admired and could correctly pronounce the name of Ajax of Amsterdam. What is largely forgotten in Britain, if it was ever acknowledged at all, was that Feyenoord (as they renamed themselves after their historic victory) were the first Dutch club ever to lift the trophy.
Ironically (and I think this has more than a little to do with Celtic's disappointing and anti-climactic performance on the night of the final), most of Britain had already witnessed the "real" final when, in the semi-finals, Celtic took on and beat the much-fancied English champions Leeds United. The English are renowned for their myopic view of the world, and in 1970 such a stance was even more entrenched than it is today.
When Leeds were beaten (comprehensively 3-1 over 2 legs), the huge disappointment and resentment that was felt in England was palpable. Leeds were invincible in the English league at that time, although they struggled to turn their superiority into silverware. So, having defeated the English champions, Celtic would ipso facto walk away with the European Cup that year. No question.
The abiding memory for me is that of Billy McNeill who, deep in extra time with the score at 1-1, attempted to parry with both hands a long, high, looping ball as he stumbled backwards in the Celtic penalty box - a clear handball and therefore a clear penalty. Initially, we all shouted at the TV: "Accidental!", and in sheer disbelief and disappointment: "No way! He headed it!". But all the while we feared the worst, the inevitable penalty to Feyenoord.
A split second later, the ball fell to the Feyenoord centre-forward, Ove Kindvall, who had been a threat to the Celtic defence throughout the second half and extra time. The Celtic keeper, momentarily confused by the events, and like the rest of us, probably waiting for the referee to blow for a penalty, hesitated, transfixed almost, as, in an instant, Ove took control of the ball and stroked it past the goalkeeper into an empty net.
It was then that, in desperation, we all screamed "Penalty!", "He handled it!", "No-ooooo...!", etc.. But the referee allowed the goal to stand and that was the end of the dream for me. The game ended shortly after. That was the first time I experienced real grief.
Since that night, the Feyenoord football strip has always put the fear of God into me. To an impressionable 11-year-old, it was such an unusual and striking outfit at the time. But, even in defeat, it instilled in me a sneaking admiration for those unknown Dutch boys from Rotterdam who turned football on its head and heralded onto the world stage that magnificent Dutch philosophy known as "total football".
Anonymous (KDS), July 2006
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