This time we remember some of our meetings and other links with Glasgow Celtic including when they were European Champions. There are some very early links with north of the boarder and a few more recent ones with another Glasgow club. We also look at two Tottenham players who turned out for their country.
Tottenham had actually met Glasgow Celtic seven times in North America before we ever clashed in the UK (1). When we finally met in August 1967 it was at Hampden Park rather than at their own ground.
Not surprisingly maybe when the friendly fixture drew a crowd of 91,708. Glasgow Celtic had become European Champions in the May and it was their first game back in Scotland. The same month that Tottenham won the FA Cup. Once again the press dubbed this meeting a clash of Titans and the Championship of Britain. The match was part of the Queens Park Club’s centenary celebrations. In what was an exciting match, described in one report ‘as not so much a friendly more of a classic.’ the scores finished level 3-3. Tottenham opened the scoring after just thirty seconds with Jimmy Greaves (top), so often called the hammer of the Scots, on target. In a match that contained “classic cultured football” Celtic had scored twice by the 20th minute. Scot Alan Gilzean pulled us level just before the break. Four minutes after Greaves again gave us the lead with the press called a brilliant effort squeezing the ball between the post and goalie before Celtic gained a well earned draw. Another report claimed it was ‘magnificent football brimming over with entertainment and loaded with individual genius.’ The game even attracted the attention of the cartoonists (4). For those who like a little trivia instead of pennants before the game the clubs exchanged rugs!
The seventies and eighties saw us make five more trips to play at Celtic, and one game at WHL. Then in 2008 we met in Rotterdam for the Feyenoord Centenary Jubileee trophy when we won 2-0 with goals from Bent and Bentley. The press had fun with that. We beat Borussia Dortmund the following day to win the trophy.
The Scots did not have to wait long for revenge beating us the following pre-season at Wembley. The last meeting came in the summer of 2014 when we travelled to Finland (the sixth country in which we have met) and beat an under strength Celtic side 6-1.
The clubs have met in reserve and youth games, often behind closed doors in pre-season. There are not too many links at player level, Robbie Keane being the latest when we loaned him north in 2010. Before that Ramon Vega was also loaned to them whilst John Gorman our former defender played one game for them early in his career. Schoolboy Gary Hooper (now at Norwich) left us to sign for them.
One link of note was Alfie Conn. Alfie (right) managed the rare feat of playing for both Glasgow clubs. After leaving Rangers to become Bill Nicholson’s last signing he would return north to Celtic.
Whenever he was asked Rangers or Celtic he always answered Tottenham.
Alfie would later coach an amateur side to the Scottish Amateur Cup.Another trivia point is that Dave Mackay also played alongside his father (also Alfie) earlier in his career.
Alfie junior played two full international whilst a Spur, both in May 1975 one V England. He played 43 games for us with seven goals, which included a hat trick.
Tottenham’s games with links to Scotland can be traced back to the 1800’s some of the teams they played in their early days were with various army units based in and around London from Scottish regiments. March 1892 saw us play the Scots Guards at home, the result of that match is unknown but we lost away to them at the end of the year. We also met sides such as Highland Light Infantry and the Coldstream Guards.
We have mentioned Partick several times in this series. We also played them in 1955 before the ‘Anglo-Scottish Cup’ competition (2) when we travelled to Firhill for their first game under their new floodlights. Tottenham lost by the only goal in front of 14,000 (3). The Glasgow Herald wasn’t too impressed as there felt there was ‘too much ballooning of the ball which the players seemed to have difficulty in seeing in the lights.’ There did however single out Blanchflower noting he had ‘dexterous ball control and passing.’ We have met them once since the Floodlight competition and that was when they travelled to White Hart Lane in 1958 and we beat them 4-1.
Another player to feature for the national team whilst at Tottenham was Alan Brazil. Alan made two appearances for his country whilst at Spurs one V England and scoring V Wales. Both games were in the summer of 1983. Alan played just 38 games for us with 13 goals.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes - 1 – The tours of 1957 and 1966 will be covered in a different article.
2 – Hotspur Towers – The Anglo-Scottish Floodlight Cup.
3 - Different sources supply different figures.
4 – Hotspur Towers – What the Papers Drew
Thanks – Andy Greaves, Bob Goodwin, THFC.
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