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The Dirtiest Matches of All Time (Part Three)

Continuing the series looking at some of the dirtiest matches in football history. For Part One click here, and Part Two here.

In 1967 it was the tun of Celtic from Scotland to represent Europe and Racing Club of Argentina to meet in this annual fixture.

The forerunner of the Club World Cup was the Intercontinental Cup which saw the winners of the European Cup and the Copa Liberatores meet over two legs to decide who would become the unofficial world champions.

Celtic won the first leg at home by a single goal, but it was a night littered with cynical fouls and spitting.

The return leg in Argentina ended 2 -1 to Racing, although the bad blood between the two teams continued.

In an era before the away goals rule came into force, that meant a replay, with Montevideo in Uruguay chosen as a neutral venue, although, because of its close proximity to Argentina, thousands  of Racing fans were able to make the short trip to watch the match.

Celtic did not actually want to play the match, Chairman Bob Kelly, having seen Racing in action in both legs fearing for his team’s safety, and preferring to fly home to Scotland.

However, he was persuaded by his manager Jock Stein that his team could win the match, so they reluctantly decided to go ahead.

Rodolfo Perez Osorio of Paraguay was chosen to referee the game but, almost from the first whistle, he appeared out of his depth.

Racing, in particular, were determined to settle scores from the first two legs, and soon players were coming to blows all over the pitch, the Hoops all to ready to retaliate.

In a bid to restore order, the referee called both captains together in the middle of he first half to ask them to control their sides, but it had impact and the violence continued.

30 fouls were awarded against Celtic and 21 against Racing, although the Scots were more sinned against in the eyes of most neutral observers.

In the end, the referee lost patience and began to send players off. The first to go was Bobby Lennox of Celtic, and five more men were dismissed in the second half, two from Racing and three from Celtic, although one, Bertie Auld, refused to leave the pitch.

Racing scored the only goal of the game but that was almost incidental in the context of what had gone before.

The neutral Uruguayan supporters in the stadium felt that Celtic has been hard done by and, as Racing attempted a  lap of honour, they were greeted with a  shower of missiles.  Some of the Racing players ran to the centre of the pitch to take refuge, and police had to be called to disperse the crowds that had gathered outside the dressing rooms of the Argentines and the referee.

Back in Argentina Racing fans were quick to celebrate the win but, for the rest of the way, it was  match that had blackened the name of football.

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