The Tottenham Mysteries returns with a look at an oddity that had puzzled me for a long time, just why Spurs and Celtic exchanged rugs instead of the traditional pennant before their pre-season meeting August 1967. Even the clubs website in 2014, before the two clubs meeting in Finland described that day said ‘exchanged rugs instead of the customary pennants.’ The Tottenham Mysteries decided to dig deeper.
Rummaging through endless newspaper archives and various match reports failed to produce any clarification. In the end an approach to the Scottish club would unlock the information (1).
The rugs were in fact exchanged by the two sides before the game as part of a merchandising enterprise. The rugs presentation was followed by the exchange of the more traditional pennant and if you look at the top image featuring Dave Mackay you can see one rolled up in Billy McNeill’s left hand. It was however the rugs that grabbed the attention as journalists scribbled their notes on to a pad. The rugs were then displayed to the massive crowd,
The Axminster rugs, 51ins X 27ins in size, were available to the public for the grand sum of five pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence; post free within the UK from the Pictorial Rug Company of Glasgow.
An attempt to locate this company has since proved unsuccessful so we can only wonder how popular they became.
As for the match itself, Glasgow Celtic entertained Spurs at Hampden Park on 4th August 1967 as part of the celebrations to commemorate the Queens Park club’s centenary.
It was the first game for Celtic since they had famously won the European Cup in Lisbon the previous summer and Spurs headed north as FA Cup holders.
91,708 Scots turned out to welcome their heroes home. They were then treated to a match that has often been described as a great showpiece of football in Britain.
During the trip Bill Nicholson presented Celtic manager Jock Stein with the Scottish manager of the year award.
Left - Pat Jennings clears a Celtic attack.
Right - Gilzean's goal, some reports claim this was a header.
Spurs actually took the lead in the first minute through Jimmy Greaves getting on to the end of a Frank Saul cross. Celtic leveled a few minutes later and then they took the lead nearing the half hour (both from Bertie Auld). Two of our own Scots combined when Jimmy Robinson set up Alan Gilzean to make it 2-2 at the break.
Spurs fielding the same side as the FA Cup Final then went ahead early in the second half with Greaves getting his second before Chambers leveling the score at 3-3 on the hour.
Tottenham were involved in another 3-3 draw the following weekend when we shared the Charity Shield with Manchester United.
Some earlier meetings with Glasgow Celtic are remembered in our Connections- Scotland series and Touring America – Fifties style, articles.
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Notes – 1 – Sincere thanks to Glasgow Celtic for their help and to several of their supporters, in particular Patrick Woods and James Brown, for not just the information but the tremulous efforts they made to track down the detail. Thanks also to an old buddy who prefers to remain in the shadows but provided the Tottenham rug.
Previous Mysteries can be found @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-lilywhite-files
Flying Down to Rio
History of T.H.F.C.
Tribute to Bill Nicholson
The Road to Turin
Most Read Articles
The 100 Year War
Interview with Marina Sirtis
A Long Dark Shadow
By Royal Appointment
School Report: An Insight into the Younger Eric Dier
All Change At Spurs
History Of THFC: Part 1
Passage to India: Rohan Rickets
Thanks For The Memories
Our Tommy Carroll
The AVB Files: Part1
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The Hand Of Hugo
Connection - Argentina
Creating a Reputation
Flying Down To Rio