For their more positive approach to the game, Celtic thoroughly deserved to beat Aberdeen at Hampden Park, win the Scottish Cup for the nineteenth time, and thus equal the record of their arch-rivals, Rangers, in this competition.
Often in a cup final the stark prospect of defeat leads to over-anxiousness among the players and the game is dragged down to a moderate standard. Such was the case on Saturday when, because of Aberdeen's unrealistic dedication to caution, play rarely reached the level of entertainment and skill which the crowd of 126,102 had every reason to expect.
That the game was something of a disappointment was, however, no fault of Celtic, who played with a purpose and method to which Aberdeen, by withdrawing Smith and Melrose and undermanning their attack, voluntarily did not aspire. Celtic's forwards always looked likely to inflict more damage than Aberdeen' depleted attack, in which only Storrie, despite poor support, performed with any lasting effect.
And a confident Celtic defence -- under stress for only a short spell when Aberdeen, having lost the second goal, realised the folly of their defensive ways and contrived to get back into the game -- conceded nothing and ensured that their forwards received a plentiful supply of the ball.
Celtic's decisive tactic was to move Chalmers almost immediately the game started out to the right wing and play Johnstone as a double spearhead with Wallace. And right well did the three perform in those roles. Chalmers's turn of foot and determination repeatedly exposed the Aberdeen goal to danger, and Johnstone, as always, made space for himself and openings for his colleagues with intricate footwork and effective running. Wallace took both his goals with calm assurance and generally achieved something constructive every time he came in contact with the ball.
With Auld, the mainspring of an efficient mechanism, rapping passes to all points of the field with unerring accuracy and Lennox enjoying considerable success as his wing partner, Aberdeen's powers underwent such severe examination that by the end they had just to stand by and watch as Celtic, with almost nonchalant ease, retained possession of the ball with no apparent desire to add to their tally.
To be fair, Aberdeen were reasonably efficient themselves in defence -- but it was at the expense of an attack that could have had greater success with some worthwhile support.
This point was emphasised when they threw caution to the winds and abandoned their negative approach. First Storrie, after fine leading-up work by Munro and Smith, was denied a goal only by the brilliance of Simpson, who, twisting over in the air, stopped the centre forward's close-in shot on the line and allowed Chalmers to complete the clearance. Then, with only three minutes remaining for play, Wilson clipped the ball across to the far post, where Petersen stuck out a leg and diverted the ball goalwards. The ball was rolling over the line when Simpson, running across from the near post, kicked the ball to safety.
The game started, as it ended, with a disappointment for Aberdeen, whose manager, Mr E. Turnbull, was unable to attend because of illness. Had he been at the match he would doubtless have advised Aberdeen to change their tactics by the end of the first half-hour, by which time Celtic, despite having the wind in their faces, had established a clear superiority in midfield and were practically encamped in their opponents' half of the field.
In the face of so much pressure, Aberdeen's redoubt just had to fall, and it duly did in 43 minutes. Lennox pushed a short corner to Auld, who first feinted to cross and then slipped the ball back to the left winger at the corner of the penalty area. Lennox then cleverly evaded two tackles, made for the byeline, and crossed low into the middle, where Wallace jabbed the ball past Clark at the near post. It was not the most spectacular of goals, but the leading-up work could scarcely have been better.
Aberdeen no doubt received new instructions at the interval, but before they had the chance to put them into effect Celtic struck again. The move which led to the goal in 49 minutes began with Murdoch, was further developed by Chalmers and Johnstone, and finished off in fine style by Wallace, who unhesitatingly cracked Johnstone's cross high into the net. Thereafter, Celtic went close to scoring a third goal on several occasions, but they never needed fully to extend themselves and another score, welcome though it might have been, would have been superfluous. Aberdeen had long since been completely mastered.
Thus Celtic have moved yet [line missing] completion of the grand slam and Simpson, the oldest player afield on Saturday, has at last gained a Scottish Cup medal. To the youngest of the 22, Smith, went the unenviable distinction of being the only player the referee felt obliged to book -- for bringing Chalmers to earth in the first half when the ball was nowhere in their vicinity.
Aberdeen -- Clark; White and Shewan; Munro, McMillan, and Petersen; Wilson and Smith; Storrie; Melrose and Johnston. -- Substitute -- Taylor.
Celtic -- Simpson; Craig and Gemmell; Murdoch, McNeill, and Clark; Johnstone and Wallace; Chalmers; Auld and Lennox. Substitute -- Hughes.
Health officials maintain they could wipe out the smoking habit if tobacco companies were required to include a Greenock Morton card in every packet of cigarettes.
Morton visit Stranraer. In their three meetings to date Morton have taken two wins and Stranraer one. Today's match kicks off at 5:30 local time to accommodate BBC Alba. This is truly League One match of the week and deserves to be in Gaelic.
Here's the situation. If Morton win they will go into the final weekend holding first place, even if Forfar also win, unless Forfar can overcome a goal difference of 3. If Morton and Stran play to a draw, Forfar can take over first with a win. If Morton lose there's no way for them to win the title. Worse case scenario: Morton lose today and next week, Brechin win twice, causing Morton to finish fourth and face Alloa in the playoffs. Alloa cleaned their clocks last season.
Forfar visit Dunfermline. Brechin visit Stenny.
Neither Stranraer, Morton nor Forfar have played to a draw in the past ten weeks.
The set of possibilities at the top of League One is matched only by the bundle at the bottom of the Championship. Taken together there are eight teams that could be in or out of the Championship next year: Cowdenbeath, Alloa, Livingston, Stranraer, Morton, Forfar, Brechin and Airdrieonians. Today Cowden host Hearts, Alloa visit Hibs, and last-place Livi visit Raith Rovers.
This could be the decisive weekend at the bottom of League One. Ayr United host Stirling Albion (easy) while Stenny host Brechin (tough). [Ayr win, Stenny draw, so Ayr are two points up going into the final weekend.]
The name Stranraer, from the Gaelic An t-Sròn Reamhar, means "the fat nose." The town lent its name to the Supermarine Stranraer, a flying boat, most of which were built in Canada and flown in British Columbia. I wonder how the RAF and RCAF pronunciations compared.
On the topic of the English Canadian "a", I was going around saying Stirling Albion in the Canadian way until someone on Pie and Bovril rhymed it with LOLbion.
Does it seem to you that Morton only ever score in the second half? In 34 league games they have scored 17 times in the first half and 41 in the second half. In 2015 they have scored 5 goals before the interval.
In what years did Morton earn promotion by finishing in first place? 1950, 1964, 1967, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1995, 2003, 2007.
In what years did Morton earn promotion by finishing second? 1929, 1937.
When did Morton gain promotion through the expulsion of a higher-placed club? 1900. St. Bernard's. (For professionalism.)
What year did Morton gain promotion through the intervention of a world war? 1946.
When has Morton earned promotion by way of the play-offs? Not ever.
A different question: When did Stranraer last play in the second tier? 2005-06. Brechin? 2005-06. Forfar? 1991-92.
Today is Leg One of the first ever Highland League v Lowland League playoff. Edinburgh City host Brora Rangers. Speculation is that Brora will throw a game at some point in this process, because of statements made earlier that they would be happier to stay in the Highland League. But I think pride would at least demand that they beat City before lying down for Montrose.* Edinburgh City and Brora Rangers met earlier this season in the Round Three of the Scottish Cup, when they were both trying to win, and Brora prevailed 3 - 2. [Today's final score: 1 - 1.]
* [And that's just what happened.]
Greenock HSFP AFC are out of the Scottish Amateur Cup, but they're still in the West of Scotland Cup and today's their semifinal against Hurlford Thistle. The High have won this cup three times, but not since the Nineteen Thirties. [Greenock win 0 - 1.]
SPFL last minute rule change meetings this week produced this rule change around insolvency: immediate 15-point deduction plus a five point deduction next season; if it's a club's second insolvency in five years, immediate 25-point deduction plus 15 next season.
On Monday one of the Scottish Amateur Cup semifinals took place: Broomhouse AFC 0 - 3 Craigshill Thistle AFC.
It was matchday #5 of the AFC Champions League group stage this week. Japanese results:
Kashiwa Reysol 3 - 2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Guangzhou R&F 0 - 5 Gamba Osaka
Urawa Red Diamonds 1 - 2 Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - 2 Kashima Antlers
Urawa will not qualify for the knock-out stage.
Yesterday Karşıyaka visited Denizlispor and lost 2 - 0. The city of Denizli, southeast of Izmir, is an Anatolian Tiger.
Yesterday UCD played host to Cobh Ramblers. FT: 1 - 1.
Montedio Yamagata host FC Tokyo today [and lose 0 - 1.]
[Morton win 0 - 2. Goals by McManus. Morton take over first place with one week to go.]
The Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park on Saturday will be remembered as the match of penalty kicks -- those that were awarded and those that were not. Rangers were worthy winners of the trophy -- their twelfth success in the competition -- but neutral observers must have been mystified that the Ibrox club had two chances to score from the penalty spot and Clyde none.
The decisions of the referee, Mr R. G. Benzie (Irvine), in penalising Milligan for his tackle of Williamson seven minutes from half-time and for his pushing of Thornton nine minutes after the interval were unhesitatingly given, and Clyde, though they protested against the second award of a penalty kick, had in my opinion, no grievance.
Midway through the first half, however, when Rangers, even with the wind behind them, were by no means the better side, a flagrant offence of M'Coll in holding Galletly when the Clyde inside forward was about to shoot was ignored by the referee, and in the second half when Clyde were rallying to cut down Rangers' 3-1 lead they claimed three times for a penalty kick -- for handling by Shaw of a Davies cross-shot, for the sandwiching of Wright by Shaw and Woodburn, and for the pushing of Linwood by Woodburn. Such had been the referee's attitude to most inoffensive-looking infringements committed by both sides without the 18-yard lines that it was surprising that all Clyde's appeals were unsucessful.
Clyde's goal, scored by Galletly three minutes after half-time, was the result of Cox's being penalised in mid-field for a tackling infringement that was the friendliest of gestures compared with the incidents that led to Clyde's claiming penalty kicks against their team-mates, and Young's second penalty conversion followed immediately a free kick awarded to Rangers when it appeared that Long, who was penalised, was in fact the sufferer in the tackle with Duncanson.
Rangers, without touching their best form at any stage of the match, always appealed as the side more likely to score goals. They had no set plan in attack, but they had in Waddell, the outstanding forward of the ten, a player who could beat his immediate opponent, Mennie, in a variety of ways, and whose splendid crossing should have won the match ten times over. But Thornton and his inside forwards -- particularly the centre forward -- were astonishingly ineffective in the air. Twice Thornton headed over the bar when it seemed much easier to score, and indeed this usually brilliant leader was mastered by the immature Milligan, whose two mistakes in conceding the penalty kicks probably cost Clyde the match.
Williamson, who scored Rangers' second goal four minutes from half-time, was their next most profitable forward, if only for the shock tactics he introduced. But his timing of Waddell's cross after M'Coll, with the best pass of the game, a long low ball that travelled fully thirty yards to the outside-right's feet, had set the winger moving, was delightful. Duncanson had the fourth goal.
Brown, like his opposite number, Gullan, had several first-class saves and, again like the Clyde goalkeeper, his share of luck. Soon after Clyde's goal Brown was beaten by a header from Wright that hit the post, and similar scoring efforts from Thornton and Duncanson hit the Clyde crossbar with Gullan not in the picture.
Shaw was Rangers' best defender, for both Young and Woodburn miskicked dangerously and often. M'Coll and Cox were once more fine wing half-backs but only just superior to Campbell and Long, who not surprisingly tired before the finish. Davies and Linwood formed a sprightly combination, though the centre forward on several occasions was guilty of pushing and spoiled promising attacks.
Clyde's display was not that of a side haunted by the spectre of relegation, and they deserve congratulations for preventing the match from becoming the one-sided affair so many of the 130,000 spectators anticipated.
Glasgow Herald, April 25, 1949, page 6. Programme.