When Bobby Charlton's Preston North End beat the mighty Celtic

Preston’s mouth-watering pre-season friendly clash at Celtic this summer has evoked memories of a previous meeting between the two clubs way back in the 1970s.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:45 pm

The two clubs faced-off at the start of the 1974/75 season at Parkhead where leading the line for The Bhoys was a certain Kenny Dalglish, while the legendary Bobby Charlton hit the winning goal as North End ran out 2-1 winners.

England World Cup-winning hero Charlton was the Lilywhites’ player-manager and had taken his team north of the border to play friendlies against the Hoops, Raith Rovers and Dundee.

It is believed the Scottish giants had agreed to the friendly request after Charlton had appeared for the Hoops against Liverpool for Ron Yeats’ testimonial match the previous year.

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Bobby Charlton played for Preston against Celtic (photo:Roy Payne)

It was also a chance for Celtic’s supporters to see the former Manchester United great in action, especially as he was nearing the end of his stellar playing career, and a crowd of 11,000 benefited from reduced admission prices.

Charlton led PNE on to the pitch, with the home side – containing players such as Scottish international Danny McGrain – giving him a guard of honour.

Curiously, the Hoops were due to face arch rivals Rangers the next day at Hampden Park in the final of the Dryburgh Cup – an annual pre-season tournament held in Scotland which featured the top-four scoring teams in Divisions One and Two.

Celtic went on to beat Rangers 4-2 on penalties in the final after a 2-2 draw, but they were on the losing side the day before against a North End side which contained John McMahon, David Sadler and Mike Elwiss.

Dalglish – who had appeared in that summer’s World Cup in West Germany along with McGrain – was the star attraction for the home side as he played a 30-minute cameo role.

It was Jock Stein’s men who opened the scoring in the first minute when Andy Lynch headed past John Brown in the North End goal.

The visitors levelled soon after when Alex Lamb’s long throw from the right-hand side was met by the head of ex-Manchester United defender Francis Burns, who powered the ball past Celtic’s young goalkeeper George Barclay.

Fittingly, it was Charlton who struck the winner 20 minutes from time when he latched on to a through-ball from Lamb, rounded Barclay, before slotting home.

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