Part 3 – The Dirtiest Game

…. Continuing …the concluding part of Jimbo67’s Trilogy … enjoy folks!

The game was not, to the best of my memory, broadcast live on  television. Instead, there was a recorded highlights programme broadcast late in the evening which, thinking about it now must have been cobbled together very soon after the match ended. I was allowed to stay up to watch it because the match had been played on a Saturday afternoon in Uruguay.

At first the game seemed quite uneventful, like the opening round of a boxing match between two well-matched opponents with the protagonists keeping the best of their own skills in check. It was not boring exactly but it had not quite been what I had been expecting. But then suddenly, Jimmy Johnstone was hacked down and writhing in agony. It was the kind of foul that should have led to a sending off even in Scotland but the referee, Doctor Rodolfo Osorio of Paraguay, did not do what he should have. The good doctor was to turn out to be a somewhat erratic figure, the occasion turning out to be ‘too much for him and he was totally incapable of dealing with subsequent events.’ The damn burst.

1967-11-04: Racing Club 1-0 Celtic, Intercontinental Club Cup (play-off) Centenario Stadium, Montevideo, Uruguay

Venue: Montevideo (Uruguay).
Field: Centenario,

Racing Club: 
Cejas, Perfumo, Chabay, Martín (c), Rulli, Basile, Raffo, Cardoso, Cárdenas, Rodríguez, Maschio.
Coach: Juan José Pizzuti.
Goal: Cárdenas (56)
Sent Off: Basile, Rulli

Celtic: Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Clark, Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Auld, Hughes.

Sent off: Lennox, Johnstone, Hughes, Auld (who never left the field of play)

 Rodolfo Pérez Osorio (Paraguay)
Attendance: 65,172

These subsequent events turned out to be that Celtic pretty much lost the plot- there were infamous incidents in which Tommy Gemmell, thinking the cameras were not on him, booted his immediate opponent, Raffo, in the, er, groin area and made a swift exit only to discover subsequently that the cameras had been focussed on his actions, whilst John Hughes set about their goalie in the kind of incident that did remind me of the kind of daft things I saw in football matches in the playground.

Three Celtic players were sent off- Johnstone, Lennox and Yogi, whilst two of their players got their marching orders. There was quite a bit of noise in our front room but also some laughter, ironic perhaps, as the game spiralled completely out of control. Armed police as well as phalanxes of photographers and other men not wearing strips seemed to be on the field rather a lot too.

Cardenas of Racing scored a terrific goal- a strike worthy of Tommy Gemmell or Eusebio- not long after the second half began and it turned out to be the match’s only goal. I know that the result is now rather overlooked but that night, even as I watched the mayhem unfolding before me, that seemed the most important thing and in some ways it still does.  I did not experience the grief that I was to when we lost to A.C. Milan in March 1969 or, worse, to Feijenoord on 6 May 1970, but that night in Montevideo was a choker all the same. At the end of the game at least two Celtic players, Gemmell and McNeill, exchanged sporting handshakes and jerseys with Racing players. I did not know the word ‘surreal’ but that the referee’s final whistle signalled the end of hostilities was just that, surreal. And preferable to having some pompous oaf stopping the exchange of jerseys.

The final whistle was not the end of the affair alas. Bizarrely the referee’s report said that four Celtic players had been ordered off. Johnstone, Lennox, Murdoch and Auld. The first two had definitely left the field- Wee Bobby for no obvious reason it must be recorded- but the other two had not. Bobby Murdoch had been the victim of mistaken identity but Bertie had, it transpired, carried on playing after being sent off. Surrealism that was nearer to Monty Python than Rene Magritte possibly.

Reaction to the game in Scotland was, publicly, very harsh on Celtic’s players who had so completely lost their heads. Privately there was though some pride that having been provoked for 2 and a half games the Celtic players had risen to the occasion and pretty much given their bullying opponents a ‘doing’. The reputations of Tommy Gemmell and especially John Hughes were even higher than before, in the playground of my school at least, the following Monday. That we had lost had been forgotten by many as soon as that.

Celtic were reported to have fined their players £250 each for behaving so badly. Racing Club made initial noises expressing regret for the behaviour of their team but ending up paying them a four-figure sum ( each) and , it was rumoured, bought them cars too. I think that other than thinking it most unfair on John Fallon to have been fined, he had stood in his penalty area alone looking on at the carnage, a popular, if not majority, view was that the fine was fair enough as it was thought that as one the best supported teams in the UK, and certainly the most currently successful one, the players were rather better paid than it turns out they were. Whether the fines were paid, and to whom, out of wages actually earned or whether a reduction was made from the promised bonus for the successes of 1967 that were still to be paid I do not know for sure and would appreciate a definitive answer.

One thing I still recall clearly was that the person who was most vilified in our house on the night of that match in Montevideo was the BBC Commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme. The broadcast was a BBC Sport based in London production as opposed to some Queen Margaret Drive effort hosted by Peter Thomson or Rev. Murdo MacPherson, their bias against Celtic would have been expected, but Wolstenholme had previously been thought a master of impartiality and, as with Glanville too, to be an admirer of Celtic. Instead in the words of the Rev. Denis Duncan in the religious newspaper The British Weekly :-

The extent to which Kenneth Wolstenholme went out of his way to build up preparation for unpleasant incidents had to be heard and seen to be believed.

The London based BBC- the real BBC I always think- has rarely shown as much interest in us since.

I mentioned earlier on (several thousand words ago) that I had an old mate who has seen Racing Club play in Buenos Aires, rather more recently than Celtic played in that city. Jim is no lover of Celtic, he supported Meadowbank Thistle, when I first met him )a couple of weeks before Albert Kidd became an immortal) but is a fair-minded individual who loves football and has seen it played professionally in 5 of the 6 inhabited continents. Racing is his, sort of, team in Argentina not least because they are something of the underdog of the traditional big 5 Argentine sides, for some reason Jim is attracted to teams which under perform, Racing has won far less than the other four have since they played us.

Jim’s take is that the games were pretty much standard fayre for Argentine football of that era, so Celtic could not have claim to be surprised at the way Racing played and that until Montevideo the games were nothing like as violent as Celtic made out. A dissenting point to this view came from Humberto Maschio – Racing’s playmaker and an Italian internationalist who had returned to the land of his birth, who took great pride in that amidst the mayhem in his private battle with his direct opponent, Bobby Murdoch, (neither man had committed a foul on each other and had played proper football throughout). I take Jim’s point and can accept that to an extent that this was a clash of football cultures but am still less than convinced. I asked him if I turned up in Buenos Aires and went to a Racing match in the Hoops what kind of reception I’d get and he assured me that I’d be very warmly welcomed by Racing fans- Celtic was part of their greatest ever triumph so how could it be otherwise

A postscript of sorts to Celtic’s matches with Racing Club came on the 10th of April 1974 when Celtic played Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park. Although there was slight uneasiness before the game when it was learned that the Madrid team’s coach, Juan Carlos Lorenzo, had coached Argentina in the 1966 World Cup few expected what we got. 48 and a half years on I am still not quite sure I can believe what I saw that night either, no team has seemed “dirty” since, they were that awful and whether Atletico was worse or better than Racing has been a source of some dispute ever since. Three of Atletico’s players were sent off in Glasgow. The Argentinean Ayala (a fast, skilful but apparently deranged winger), is the one most remembered whilst the third player to get a slightly earlier use of the soap, Quique, was no more than a fringe player. The second player sent off was one Ruben Diaz who fouled Jimmy Johnstone often and savagely. Diaz had been Racing’s left back in the match at Hampden. I hope his family was proud of him.

Our grateful thanks to Jimbo67 for this series of fine articles.

Remember if you would like to submit an article, perhaps a memory, a gripe, a good news story, Mahe & BMCUW will gratefully receive it for publication. send your article to

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A really interesting series of articles.

I wonder if your mate was right and the notion of how dirty Racing were has been exaggerated over time. Reflecting Argentina’s bad press at the WC the year before.

I watched the whole of the first game you kindly posted.
In the first half Celtic put in a few tasty challenges themselves. The foul count was about the same.
The Lions were no pushovers when it came to physicality. They matched the dirtiest team in England in 1970

Racing were certainly more brutal in the second half, but Celtic were not afraid to put the boot in.

About 10 mins into the second half Jinky was cynically scythed down. A sending off nowadays.
Towards the end Bertie went down clutching his face, not from a head butt but a Racing player with his back to him throwing back his head.
Calculated to connect. Another sending off.
In between not many flowing moves, the ball hit long a lot and often given away. A magnificent headed goal from Billy.

The Bertie incident apart was it very different from the general standards of the time domestically?
At the end of the game there were some handshakes between the teams. A bit odd if the players felt they’d been assaulted, spat on etc.

As to the football, the chat on here regarding the performance would be along the lines of:
No composure, wasteful in possession, little end product, free kicks and shooting are woeful.
Should have scored another couple.

Same as it ever was.

Jobo Baldie

Good morning, friends and a Big Happy Friday to all who post or lurk on here.
A great series of articles, Jimbo67 and a slightly different picture now being painted of those 3 games. Very interesting stuff, thank you.
The ongoing world cup which resumes today has, in the main, been pretty sporting on the park. Just the 1 red card that I can think of and that was for the Wales goalie? And most games having very few yellow cards. I should know as that ‘leg’ of my bet builders was usually the one to let me down!

The Gombeen Man


Thanks for the article. You really have a flair for this type of writing.
A really enjoyable series.


Thanks for the thoughtful post at 8.45pm last night.

It’s funny how all roads lead to Rome. I was just looking at betting in youth football in Asia and low and behold from the Daily Ranger, Nov 2008

‘Asian Betting Rings Target Scots Youth Football.’

Interview with Scotland based associate of alleged Asian betting syndicate.

“…Punters are betting on how many goals are being scored and the outcome of the games and it’s a massive market.”

“There may not be a lot of interest or a lot at stake for the clubs involved, but the Asian gambling community have a great deal of enthusiasm for it.

“We have a team of people at the games and providing on-the-spot data for our clients and bookmakers. I work at two to three games a week and there is a huge demand from punters.”

Our source revealed that lower-level games at Rangers’ Murray Park training complex and at Airdrie’s Broadwood ground – where many reserve matches are played – are big business.

The revelations have stunned Scottish football chiefs, who hold the copyright to any betting on games in this country.

Currently, it is only legal to bet on matches involving first teams.

The Scottish Premier League – who are responsible for reserve and youth matches, as well top-flight fixtures – are now investigating the matter.”

There’s a coincidence.

Thanks again.

The Gombeen Man

So Craig Whyte misappropriated £24m from Ticketus and paid off the debt to the bank.

Murray sneaked away with that £1 coin and the inevitable car crash ensued.

Recidivist criminal Glibby ‘jetted’ in from his ignominious South African bolthole.

Declared “Fit and Proper” by his brethren in the SFA.

BDO won a £24m settlement against Whyte’s legal firm Collyer Bristow and a £7.5m (£4.7m + £2.8m for BDO costs) from the dubious administrator – Duff & Phelps.

Without those settlements there was virtually heehaw left, apart from £2.5m, squeezed from debtors to Oldco and a £2.35m administration surplus.

(£37m in Asset Realisations/£25m in Cost of Realisations.
Of that £25m / £20m is liquidation fees, legal fees and insurance costs).

Numerous plaintiffs including senior executives at Duff and Phelps issued proceedings for Malicious Prosecution. The Scottish taxpayer coughed up £20m (and counting) in compensation.

(Check your heating isn’t on too high).

– Manipulated Terms of Reference to Nimmo Smith, produced the desired result, ‘No sporting advantage’.

54 bankrupt Titles were soldered onto the hollow new entity.

‘Sur’ David Murray remained the toast of Edinburgh.

Whytey’s company, Wavetower slithered it’s way onto BDO’s list of Unsecured Creditors. Mr Whyte’s owed £962,500.

Newco ploughed on in the same manner.

Spending more time in the courts than Rumpole of the Bailey.

– Demanding resignations.
– Insulting sponsors.
– Fabricated dossiers.
-Broken contracts.
-Dubious directors.
-UEFA watchlist.
-Riotous supporters.
-Assisted by a corrupt police service.
-Spineless journalists.
-Congratulatory, obsequious politicians.
-Dodgy referees.
-Covid cheats.

Barely a word said by anyone. Scottish football, the media, politicians. History won’t remember many too fondly. Scotland’s beautiful game was butchered in plain sight.

The weans froze as the queues at the Food Banks grew. – The deceitful, potbellied suits, selfishly continued to fill their mucky brogues.

Nobody was ever held to account. Nobody responsible. The thieves plundered like rabid dogs, with ravenous impunity. Camouflaged by the Union Jack, the Sash and meaningless secret oaths.

‘The poor will pay the bill.They always do.’

The BBC and STV talked about the weather or a Royal Visit. Anything but the truth.

That’s how things are done in Scotland.

Oh and :

“God Save the King – We are the People!”

– Aye Right :

The problem is that the Orange tradition is built on a betrayal. A betrayal of those sacred, irrevocable Covenants made with God and the blood of Covenantors.

The Reformed Scottish Presbyterian Church are very clear in their assessment :

“The nation itself rejected the Stuart kings in 1688, but Covenanters saw the ‘Glorious Revolution’ as anything but. The Revolution church was built on compromise, allowed State control over the church and ignored the Covenants.”

Scotland kept her shameful betrayal secret.

The purity of Knox’s teaching.The Wigtown Martyrs, Greyfriars Kirkyard the prisoners of the doomed coffin ship, the Crown of London.

In total 18,000 Covenantor dead.

All betrayed.

Betrayed by landed classes, the Loyal Orders and Masonic Lodges.

You see, those Covenants, agreed by Charles I. Signed by the Scottish nation, Westminster and Charles II are irrevocable. They were made, with God, in perpetuity. Their betrayal can’t be undone.

They’ve betrayed their own and their solemn oath. Every triumphant beat of the Lambeg drum is a painful reminder of the suffering of the Covenantors.

Or put in more straightforward terms :

If you break a Covenant with God –

I’m afraid the writing’s on the wall.

That’s where the real issue is. The betrayal of their own.

When that betrayal is understood, the rest is just history repeating itself.

Like the revisionism of the Liquidation saga, the destruction of the Covenantors was quietly shunted out of sight.

Nothing’s changed.

Vatican greed or sleaze or Ibrox greed or sleaze, it’s the same thing, simply veneered by a slightly different mask.



A shower of cheating bassas.

Always were , always will. It’s their nature and they need constant watching.


Excellent stuff Jimbo67.
Like pretty much every Celtic fan my take on those matches was that we were assaulted at every turn. Interesting to see events analysed years later with mindsets at a lower temperature.
Wonder how the big cup semi final v Athletico Madrid would stand up to a similar review.

Big Audio Dynamite

Thanks again, Jimbo.

You know things have taken a strange turn when, after being sent off, you need to be escorted from the field by a soldier (?) armed with a sabre. 😕 I still believe that we were the best team on the planet at this time.

We literally changed the way the game was played!




An excellent series of articles,very much appreciated. I think it’s fair to say-with the benefit of hindsight!-that Celtic should never have agreed to this series of games without FIFA approval,though it is doubtful that Racing would have been the slightest bit bothered about FIFA sanctions.

The second leg,in Buenos Aires,should have seen us on the next plane home.Yes,we were already halfway around the world so there was little inconvenience on staying for another few days to “finish the job.” But I think the prospect of another payday swayed the argument,certainly for Des White. The reputation of the club,the safety of the players,these wouldn’t have been allowed to get in the way of a nice little earner. The £3000 or so levied in fines against the players would have made his eyes light up in joy.

I’ve only attended one match against South American opposition,I think. Penarol,at the start of the 76/77 season. I think we won 3-0 and there were a few tasty tackles flying in then too.


Thanks for comments re articles. I spoke with my uncle last night and mentioned the articles and he did say that the spitting- still unacceptable- and the other off the ball things – jersey pulling and handshakes that turned into slaps- were something that we’d never seen in Scotland. Celtic was possibly a bit naive in thinking teams were not so cynical- but we certainly got cynical quite quickly without ever plumbing the depths Racing and Atletico did. I think the big difference between Racing and Atletico was that when they played properly Racing was a good team- Atletico was not.

I think its also worth pointing out that Man U and AC Milan had similar issues with other Argentinean teams in the next 2 years – Feijenoord possibly too in 1970

I saw us play Nacional of Montevideo in 1971 and they had a bad enough reputation for Ajax to refuse to play them. We gubbed the Uruguayans 3-0 and they were good as gold although Penarol whom I saw in 1973 and 76 were a bit rougher.


Big Audio Dynamite

Happy birthday to our no7 who’s 27 today.
Hope he is still at Celtic park celebrating his 28th.

Big Audio Dynamite

Never mind the world cup, it’s time for the Hoops again!

It’s being suggested that Ange may use tomorrow’s match (v Rennes) to include Kobayashi as a trialist.

He still can’t be registered for a couple of weeks, but nothing to stop him playing in friendlies.

Looks like Callum is close to returning also …will he get in the team!? 😋

Kick-off – 10am Celtic park time.

16 roads

That was a class read, thanks Jimbo67.

Fine margins in football – really their should be a world club championship and three European cups in the Celtic trophy room.

What conclusion did I draw from the splendid trilogy of articles?

That John Stein is without doubt the greatest manager in the history of football, that’s what.

God bless the Celtic of Glasgow.




Great read again – excellent three part article.

Some excellent comments today, the BDO report bringing back some unwelcome memories, the aberration that is Continuity Rangers…

Routing for Croatia today, hope Juranavic does his country proud

Hail Hail



Many thanks for the time and effort that you put into, what is, an outstanding trilogy. You may want to check out:

And You’ll Never Walk Alone

By Gerry McNee published in 1972. The book is an account of the adventures of Celtic supporters from 1966-1972. There is a chapter entirely devoted to the three games against Racing, which the author attended. I can only find one copy online. A hardcover copy available from


Some brilliant posts today.

Hail Hail.


Tough as teak, seasoned professionals of Criatia will be hard nut for Brazil to crack. Notice Jura is sticking closely to Vinicius and showing him the outside. They don’t want him to cut inside.


Don’t know how double post happened.


Shoulda been red card for that challenge on Jura.


Jura just missed being seriously injured there. Ref Oliver bottled it.


Jura being given lots of cover when Vinicius goes inside.


Jura playing really well.

bada bing1

Juranovic best man on the park

The Leopard’s Rimshot

Incredible we only paid 2 million for JJ, he’s involved in everything here.

Easily looks a 20 million player.


Modric not far behind!


Intense game but virtually no goalmouth action.


Danger here for Croats.


Comfortable save from Neymar, despite deflection.


Ridiculous of Oliver to stop play there.


It’s anybody’s guess who’s going to win this. Neither team dominating. Very even.

The Star Above The Crest

Juranovic playing well here. If he is to depart, hopefully this performance pushes his fee higher.

The Leopard’s Rimshot

He got away with one there, could’ve been given as it did catch his hand.


Accidental handball on Jura. Certain penalty if he was in Hoops shirt.


Is this first corner?


More goalmouth activity in first 5 minutes than in entire first half.


Could end up penalties here. Teams essentially neutralizing each other so far. But you can never tell with Brazil. One flash of genius may do it.

The Leopard’s Rimshot

No doubt, Iniquitous.


Modric like an orchestra conductor at the fulcrum of everything. Never wastes a pass.


Jura’s direct opponent subbed.


Nobody has got by Jura yet.


Looks like Croatia may have shot their bolt in the first half.

The Star Above The Crest

The Croatian keeper is having a good game too.

27 years old currently playing for Dinamo Zagreb.

Could be a good acquisition for us maybe?


Brozovic and Kovacic look as if they could handle themselves very well in a wee scuffle.


Blatant dive. Brazilian shoulda been booked for unsportsmanlike conduct.


Croatian keeper doesn’t mess around. If he doesn’t have an easy pass, he blooters it.


Kentucky Fried Chicken?


Brazil pressing more urgently now. The speed of the players of both teams, ( even 37 year old Modric ) is something else.


Yes they tweeted about Juranovic


Wee bit of panic in Brazil goalmouth there. Provides springboard for breakaway.

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