The night Roy Aitken became Celtic’s youngest ever player

Roy Aitken became Celtic’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut on 10 September 1975, aged just 16 years and 290 days.

The teenager’s introduction was a low-key Wednesday night affair at Ochilview, where Celtic travelled to face Stenhousemuir in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.

Seán Fallon was looking after the Celtic side in the absence of Jock Stein, who was recuperating following a serious road accident during pre-season. Celtic were also without Billy McNeill and Jimmy Johnstone, who, following Celtic’s failure to win their tenth league title in succession, had retired and been freed respectively.

As interim manager for the season, renowned talent-spotter Seán grasped the opportunity to introduce some of Parkhead’s young prospects into the fray, and handed debuts throughout the campaign to Roy Aitken, George McCluskey and Jim Casey.

Scotland manager, Willie Ormond, looked on from the stand of his first senior club as Celtic ran out 2-0 winners against their plucky Second Division opponents. On the score-sheet for Celtic were the last remaining Lisbon Lion, Bobby Lennox, and Quality Street Kid, Kenny Dalglish, who both scored second-half goals.

Dalglish shared a pitch that night with four others who represented Celtic seven years earlier in the under-21 tournament, ‘Europeo Juniores Di Calcia Caligaris Torneo XII’ in Casale Monferrato, Italy. The other players were Danny McGrain, George Connelly, Paul Wilson and Stenhousemuir’s Billy Murdoch, who is the younger brother of Celtic’s iconic European Cup winner, Bobby.

Roy’s first experience of senior football lasted 13 minutes, after he replaced man-of-the-match, Jóhannes (Shuggie) Eðvaldsson.

Here’s how the teams lined up:

Raymond Dunlop, Colin McCullie, Archie Rose, Billy Murdoch, Billy Gordon, Sid Sage, Jackie Sinclair, Ian Scott (Jim McPaul), Jim Wight, Russell Halliday, Alan Simpson. Unused Sub: David Scott.

Peter Latchford, Danny McGrain, Andy Lynch, Jackie McNamara, George Connelly, Jóhannes Eðvaldsson (Roy Aitken, 77), Ronnie Glavin, Paul Wilson, Kenny Dalglish, Tommy Callaghan, (Harry Hood),Bobby Lennox.
Scorers : Lennox (56), Dalglish (80)

Referee: W Anderson, East Kilbride.
Attendance: 4,701

Roy Aitken’s first term in Celtic’s senior side ended trophyless. They were runners-up to Rangers in the first-ever Premier Division campaign, and the Ibrox side rubbed salt in the wounds by completing a domestic clean sweep, as Celtic floundered without Jock Stein at the helm.

The European Cup Winners’ Cup run was halted at the quarter-final stage by East Germans Sachsenring Zwickau, ending a sequence of 12 seasons where Celtic progressed to at least the quarter-final stage of European competition on no fewer than nine occasions. We were never again to be regarded as a European superpower.


Partick Thistle boss Bertie Auld made free agent, Jimmy Johnstone, an offer to join him at Firhill. Jinky had spent the summer months in the NASL with San Jose Earthquakes, but had returned to offers in Scotland from Thistle and Hamilton Accies, who offered a £6,000 signing-on fee plus £300 a game. Bertie, meanwhile, wanted to do a deal for his ex-team-mate before The Jags faced Willie Fernie’s Kilmarnock that weekend, but it was not to be.

Rod Stewart was at #1 in the UK Singles Chart with ‘Sailing’, taken from his sixth solo LP ‘Atlantic Crossing’, which was also at #1 in the UK Albums Chart. Meanwhile, honorary Celtic fans Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were planning to wed for a second time (they had divorced since partying with Celtic fans in Budapest in 1972). One month after Roy Aitken made his Celtic debut, the pair secretly got married in Africa.


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