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Celtic connections

31 July 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday's encounter against Celtic in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium will mark the 17th occasion we have faced the Glasgow giants in a first-team friendly. We look back on past matches against the Hoops as well as a host of playing connections between the two clubs.

Given the vast global support both Tottenham Hotspur and Glasgow Celtic enjoy, it is hardly surprising past matches between the two clubs have drawn such large crowds.

On August 4, 1967, a showpiece game between the sides at Hampden Park to celebrate the centenary of Queens Park Football Club was played in front of 91,708 people.

It was the first game Celtic played back in Scotland since their remarkable European Cup Final success in Lisbon on May 25, 1967 and our first back on British soil since winning the FA Cup the previous season.

Captains Billy McNeill and Dave Mackay exchanged rugs instead of the customary pennants prior to kick off, with Bill Nicholson selecting the same 11 that had beaten Chelsea 2-1 in the so-called ‘Cockney Cup Final’ on May 20, 1967. Jimmy Greaves gave us the lead inside the first minute, stretching in the six-yard box to turn a cross from Frank Saul past the Hoops keeper Ronnie Simpson.

Bertie Auld equalised on six minutes and midway through the first half gave Celtic the lead, finishing off a fine passing move. Scottish striker Alan Gilzean would send the two teams in the changing rooms level at half-time though, striking home from a cushioned Jimmy Robertson header. Greaves’ second of the afternoon put us back in front just four minutes after the break but Stevie Chalmers levelled on the hour mark, with the match finishing a 3-3 draw.

The 1967 match was our first with Celtic in the UK, but we had first met some ten years earlier during a tour of North America.

A Bobby Smith hat-trick, along with a further strike from Micky Dulin saw us run out 4-3 winners in a match at New York’s Triborough Stadium on May 19, 1957. We met on three more occasions that summer during our respective tours of North America, with Smith scoring twice in a 6-3 win for us in Vancouver on June 1, 1957. Alfie Stokes also scored a brace in the win that Danny Blanchflower and Johnny Brooks on the score sheet too.

Smith was the scourge of Celtic that summer, getting his second hat-trick against them as we won 3-0 in Toronto on June 8, 1957. The Scots would finally get their first win against us on June 9, 1957, as we went down to a 2-0 in Montreal.

We would again meet Celtic during our tour of North America in 1966, with the first of three clashes taking place at the University Stadium in Toronto on May 21, 1966. We lost that game 1-0 and also went down 2-1 to the Hoops at the Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on June 1, 1966, with Dave Mackay grabbing our consolation. Our only result against the Glaswegians that summer came on June 4, 1966 as Terry Venables scored in a 1-1 draw in Vancouver.

Below: Two managerial greats - our legendary double-winning boxx Bill Nicholson presents Celtic's European Cup winning manager Jock Stein with the Scottish Manager of the Year Award, August 1967


Our first visit to Celtic Park came on August 7, 1972. Tommy Callaghan’s low shot past Pat Jennings on 67 minutes gave the home side the win, with the match played in front of a crowd of over 33,000. We would return there on August 16, 1983, this time claiming a 1-1 draw thanks to Mark Falco’s goal. Another huge attendance was hand for our visit on July 25, 1998, with 53,873 on hand to see a 2-1 win for the Hoops, in which Chris Armstrong scored for us.

Celtic’s one and only visit to White Hart Lane for a first-team friendly to date came on August 7, 2002. Around 30,000 spectators, including a large travelling contingent, were inside White Hart Lane that evening for a 1-1 draw in which Steffen Iversen was on target for us. We again visited Celtic Park on August 10, 2004, going down to a 2-0 defeat before our tradition of playing the Hoops overseas continued at the Feyenoord Jubilem Tournament on August 1, 2008.

Darren Bent and David Bentley scored as we put on an excellent showing to beat Celtic 2-0 in Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium. Two days later, we beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at the same venue to win the tournament celebrating Feyenoord’s centenary. The three visiting teams that played in the pre-season competition – which also saw the hosts play Celtic and Dortmund – were the trio of clubs Feyenoord had previously beaten in major European finals.

A year later, Celtic came out on top in another four-team tournament that saw us compete with them along with Spanish giants Barcelona and Al-Ahly of Egypt. With points awards for goals scored (and deducted for goals conceded) Celtic were always in driving seat at the competition following their 5-0 win over Al-Ahly in the opening match on July 24, 2009. We drew 1-1 with Barcelona on the same day, with Jake Livermore scoring. The tournament closed with our meeting against Celtic on July 26, 2009, with the Scot’s victorious thanks to goals from Chris Killen and Georgios Samaras.

We have played a number of youth and reserve matches against Celtic over the years, with one of the most recent meetings being a ‘Spurs XI’ friendly against their Scottish counterparts on January 17, 2012. In match played behind closed doors at Spurs Lodge, we won 4-1 with Cameron Lancaster, Giovani dos Santos and John Bostock (2) scoring.

Playing connections with Celtic over the years include Robbie Keane, who was loaned from us to Celtic Park in 2010. He scored 12 goals in 16 league matches during his time there and was named the club’s player of the year. Ramon Vega also enjoyed a successful spell on loan from us to Celtic in 2000-2001. In his 18 league appearances he scored twice and won a treble of medals as the Hoops lifted the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup in 2001.

John Gorman began his career with Celtic, though only played one game – a Scottish League Cup match in 1968 – for the club. He would sign for us in 1976, going on to make 30 league appearances over a three year spell. Alfie Conn Jr is one of small number of players to have represented both sides of Glasgow’s ‘Old Firm’, turning out for Rangers from 1968 to 1974 and Celtic from 1977 to 1979. Sandwiched in between was three year stint at White Hart Lane, which saw Conn become something of a cult hero with our fans, playing 38 league matches and scoring six goals.

Striker Gary Hooper, who currently plays for Norwich City was part of our youth set-up between 1995 and 2002, but never played a first-team match for us. After a long spell playing non-league and lower division football, he moved from Scunthorpe United to Celtic in 2010 and went on to score 63 goals in 95 appearances for them in three years.

Former Scotland international Joe Jordan is another Celtic-Tottenham connection, having been a coach at both clubs in 1993 (Celtic) and 2008-2012 (Spurs) respectively.

By Andy Greeves

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