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Celtic 6-1 China. Friendly 8th August 1979

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by packybhoy, Jul 5, 2020.

By packybhoy on Jul 5, 2020 at 7:52 PM
  1. packybhoy Administrator Administrator

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Danny McGrain
    Celtic 6-1 China

    Scorers: Provan (16) McCluskey (21,82) MacLeod (70,73,87 Pen)

    Xu Yonglai (69)

    Friendly match

    Wed 08/08/1979

    Celtic Pk.

    Kick Off 7.30pm

    Attendance: 18,000

    Programme Price: 15p


    A game that tends to come up in conversation at times is the time the China National team came calling to Glasgow’s East End. In attendance were 18,000 Celtic fans and that was a respectable turnout given the unknown quality of a part time team made up mainly of students, one teacher in the group and the oldest player at a ripe old 26 years of age.

    Blue ticks indicate starting 11.

    But Why did the hoops play China? How did it come about? The answer can be traced back to 1978 when West Bromwich Albion went on a tour of China and played against the National team. Being courteous to their hosts they invited them to a return game in England at both their convenience. The Chinese had only revived their football team in 1974 due to an 8 year ban on tournaments during the Cultural Revolution. China went on tours to soak up any knowledge on the game and to help increase its stature. This would see them tour South America, U.S.A. where they would play the famous New York Cosmos with Pele in the side. Then to Europe where they clocked up air miles visiting Italy, Austria,West Germany, Romania, France and finishing up in the U.K. where they had contacted Celtic to arrange a game.


    July and August of 1979 would see the Chinese play Middlesbrough, Chelsea, West Brom and finishing up at Celtic Park to face our beloved. The Chinese team set up in an attack minded system but didn’t really have the firepower to accompany that style. This would probably explain the chasm in quality and the 6-1 scoreline. The visitors managed to hold Celtic to 2-0 by Half time but 4 further goals came in the second half with only the one reply for China in 69 minutes and they celebrated like they had won the World Cup. Celtic’s 6 goals all came from the midfield trio of Provan (16) McCluskey (21,82) MacLeod (70,73,87 Pen). An interesting fact is that in the China squad there was no number 13 as it is seen as negative and bad luck in the country. Oh and Celtic manager Billy McNeill had a moustache.


    The match programme had articles and comments that would be more suited to an Alf Garnet 70s sitcom. Openly racist and failing miserably with cheap gags but this was nothing compared to the Evening Time match report the following day. Journalist Hugh Taylor used every Chinese takeaway cliche that he could think of and it makes for embarrassing reporting when you read it back now. “SWEET CELTS, SOUR CHINESE” was the headline banner. Have a look yourself. As for the match programme we had a ‘Your Guide To The Chinese Players’ where it kicks off with “GLASGOW has been thoroughly educated to chow mein and sundry other items of Chinese cuisine, but understandably, Celtic fans could have problems getting their tongues round some of the names of tonight’s visiting players.” Add the Welcome page with the same word highlighted like a Chinese takeaway sign in Govan. A quick mention also for the full page advertising for Kensitas Club cigarettes. Thank * we are somewhat more cultured these days. Mostly.




    Overall a good experience for the China National team who were given a very warm welcome by the Celtic faithful and applauded loudly for their goal. They also got to play the famous Celtic F.C. in Paradise. Hopefully this article will help answer of few questions about the game. Around 25 years later we would be welcoming a future China captain into the Celtic ranks in the form of Du Wei. Unfortunately for the lad his career finished in the hoops with a horror display at Clyde in the Scottish Cup but that’s another story I won’t be touching on.


    Thanks to Celtic Wiki for some guidance.

    By Packybhoy.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020