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|Match Pictures | Matches: 1971 - 1972 | 1971-1972 Pictures|
- Herald reporter addresses "Dixie" by using his Sunday name.
Hunter; Whyte and Dickson; Maxwell, Rodman and McGrory; McSherry and Gilmour; Mathie, Morrison and Cook.
Williams; Craig and McCluskey; Murdoch, McNeill and Connelly; Johnstone and Davidson; Deans, Callaghan and Lennox.
Referee:—A. F. J. Webster (Falkirk).
- Match Report (see end of page below)
The Glasgow Herald Monday 10 April 1972
Stein looks forward with optimism despite injuries
Kilmarnock 1, Celtic 3
Celtic's vital and varied programme, embracing Scottish Cup, Scottish League, and European Cup matches, within the next 10 days was viewed optimistically yesterday by their manager, Jock Stein.
Despite the club's casualty figures, with seven first-team pool players affected, he said cheerfully:—"I would like to go into our return game against Inter Milan on Wednesday week with the Scottish championship won and having reached the Scottish cup final."
Normally he would commit himself only to the immediate task in hand, which is the Scottish Cup semi-final tie against; Kilmarnock at Hampden Park on Wednesday night, but the injury position, which would have crippled most other clubs, dictated a much broader and collective look at the forthcoming games.
By the end of the week he will be hopeful that all the injured men, Jim Brogan, David Hay, Jimmy Quinn, Harry Hood, Vic Davidson, Lou Macari, and Kenny Dalglish, will be available once more.
Quinn and Hood will be given a test tonight when Celtic meet East Fife in a reserve match at Parkhead and the young inside forwards, Dalglish, Macari, and Davidson could be fit for the midweek cup match. Davidson hurt an ankle while playing a prominent part in Celtic’s 3-1 league win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park that took them within two points of their seventh successive championship title.
Hay and Brogan are still ruled out of Wednesday night’s cup game, however. They are not being rushed unnecessarily, although they may be fit for next weekend’s match against East Fife, a game that should clinch a record-breaking championship feat.
The absence of recognised players from their team rarely is detrimental to Celtic. The depth of their resources is such that it is difficult to pinpoint their best side. Against Kilmarnock they used Davidson, John Deans, and Paul Wilson to fill the gaps created by injuries in Milan and retained Pat McCluskey at left back for his first full league match.
Still they produced crisp match-winning form that can only auger well for them when they meet Kilmarnock in the cup. They will not however, treat the Hampden match as a formality and an extension of Saturday's league encounter. The latter game provided a satisfying build-up for the semi-final, and perhaps both teams should be complimented for performance on a heavy, strength-sapping surface.
On a day when the weather and the appeal of the Grand National had a slashing effect on the attendance — 12,000 — we saw a magnificent goalkeeping display from Kilmarnock's Alistair Hunter. Kilmarnock were annoyed at the elementary blunders in the out-field that cost them their goals, and more galling that two of them occurred in injury tame at the end of each half, but if they take into consideration some of Hunter's incredible saves, there was no injustice in the result.
Kilmarnock have an uncanny knack for producing good goalkeepers, but Hunter is probably the best of them all. In a transfer market he would be valued in excess of the £60,000 West Ham paid for his predecessor at the club, Bobby Ferguson.
Hunter played almost throughout with a bruised ankle after a third-minute collision with a colleague, Jimmy Whyte, who came off even worse having to retire with a deep gash on his knee which needed eight stitches.
Hunter is having treatment but is unlikely to miss the semi-final. Whyte is definitely out, not only for this game but possibly several league matches as well.
It was an unsettling start for Kilmarnock who were immediately forced to use their substitute Alex Cairns. Nevertheless their defence, in which Brian Rodman and Jackie McGrory were a strong backbone, absorbed all that Celtic could throw at them until Deans scored on the half time whistle.
When Eddie Morrison headed the equaliser shortly after the in interval the home side pressed Celtic for a bit, but did not have the sharpness and acceleration of their opponents. Celtic's skill in this direction was so evident in the Johnstone-Lennox movement which culminated in Davidson scoring a second. This was the signal for Lennox to be withdrawn and Wilson brought on to score Celtic's other goal after untidy work in Kilmarnock's defence.
Where Celtic exerted their authority was in midfield. Tommy Callaghan was the more prominent early in the game and always willing to run through strongly on goal, but it was Bobby Murdoch who supplied most of the polish and power. He revelled in the conditions and one vicious drive cracked resoundingly from the bar a minute before the interval.