International Break-Part 3

Continuing our series of most memorable matches,this one deals sensitively with a dark day in the history of the game

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Hi,folks.

My choice for this series is memorable,and not for good reasons,but I think it deserves its place here.

It was New Year’s Day,1971.

It was my second ever visit to Ibrox,a dull dreich day. I went there with my father,his brother Tony,and my cousin Peter.

As we were approaching the ground,my father and my uncle Tony-who had a half bottle of Bell’s whisky in his pocket-met another Croy bhoy and went AWOL! Well,that left me and my cousin Peter to make our way into the cauldron of death.

What I remember most vividly is the fighting in the Rangers end-a big gap would suddenly appear in the middle of the terracing and dust would appear where the fighting was. As for the game,well,it was heading for a scoreless draw when Jimmy Johnstone headed home a rebound from a Bobby Lennox shot.

And in the last minute too!

We began to make our way out,hadn’t even got as far as Helen Street when an almighty roar went up. We knew right away that Rangers must have equalised.

As we headed towards the supporters bus-and I’ll always remember this-we walked past a parked-up police motorcycle which had its radio switched on-“Will all available ambulances make their way to Ibrox Stadium?”

We still had no idea that anything drastic had happened when we arrived back in Glenboig. But it seemed that the whole village was down at the bus stop,awaiting our arrival. They told us the awful news,a stairway had collapsed causing multiple casualties. My mother was there too,and I suddenly thought of my father and my uncle Tony! Thankfully they had already phoned home to let my mother know they were safe.

But I’ll always feel for those 66 poor souls who never returned to their families. The stairway collapse could so easily have been at our end,remember. When photographs of the aftermath,the deceased lying on the pitch,were published the following day in The Sunday Mail and The Sunday Post,it was harrowing to think it could have been me and Peter.

God Bless The 66.

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The above post is by BIG PACKY. Although this is part of our International Break series,you are all welcome at any time to submit an article on any topic for publication on the site. Simply mail Mahe

sentinelcelts@gmail.com