What Was On This Day? 28th May 1978 Jock Stein leaves Celtic

After spells in the hot seat at Dunfermline and Hibs, Jock Stein took over as Celtic manager in March 1965. Over the following 13 seasons, his teams won 10 League Championships, 8 Scottish Cups, 6 League Cups and a European Cup;-

League Championships 1965/66 to 1973/74 inclusive ; 1977

Scottish Cups   1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977

League Cups   1965/66 to 1969/70 inclusive; 1974/75

European Cup   1967

Jock Stein left Celtic on this day in 1978, initially accepting a position on the Board ‘with responsibility for fund-raising’. He soon realised that such a role was not for him and he resigned to take over the manager’s chair at Leeds United. Only two months later, though, he was back in Scotland as manager of the Scotland international side.

stein 28 may


This day was also a very important one in the life of another Celtic manager. Davie Hay had taken over the role in 1983, winning the Scottish Cup in 1985 and the League title in 1985/86. On this day in 1987, Davie Hay was fired by the Celtic Board after refusing to resign.

NB It is often said that Davie Hay was the first Celtic manager to be sacked. The reality was that every previous incumbent – Willie Maley, Jimmy McStay, Jimmy McGrory, Jock Stein and Billy McNeill – had been firmly steered towards the exit door under one pretext or another.

What Was On This Day? 25th May 1922 Slavia Prague 3 Celtic 2 Tour Match

In the first few years after WW1, there were some problems behind the scenes for Celtic. In June 1920, Jimmy McMenemy left the club on the grounds of ‘irreconcilible differences’. One year later, he led Partick Thistle to their one and only Scottish Cup success. In August 1920, Joe Dodds was transferred to Cowdenbeath although within one season he returned. In 1922, the Board made the fateful decision of withdrawing the Reserve Team, apparently on the grounds of cost. The predictable outcome was that the assembley-line of young talent coming into the team dried up, a very peculiar decision at a time when Rangers were going from strength to strength.

The European tours had not been neglected. A Celtic party had made a quick visit to France at the end of May 1920, where they played the ‘Lions of Flanders’ at Lille plus other matches in Paris, including one against Newcastle United. In the summer of 1922, Celtic set out for the Continent again, a tour ridden with rough play.

In their opening match, they were beaten 3-2 by SK Slavia, a team coached by the club’s former player Johnny Madden. It was, to put it mildly, a fairly torrid encounter and Celtic had Willie McStay and John Gilchrist sent off.

mcstay 25may


This was followed by a 1-2 defeat against Sparta Prague, the match played on this day in 1922, in very hot weather. Celtic then moved on to Grunewald, where they drew with a Prussian Select side. The attendances for the three matches were 52,000, 51,000 and 26,000 respectively, with admission prices ranging from one shilling (5p) to one pound.

NB Celtic had gone on that tour as League champions, picking up the 1921-22 championship with a record of P42, W27, D13, L2, F83, A20, Pts 67

What Was On This Day? 20th May 1989 Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Scottish Cup Final

In the 1989 Scottish Cup run, Celtic beat Dumbarton 2-0 in round one, Clydebank 4-1 in round two, Hearts 2-1 in the quarter-final and Hibs 3-1 in the semi-final. That put them into the final, the game played on this day in 1989, when the teams were;

Celtic – Bonner, Morris, Rogan, Aitken, McCarthy, Whyte, Grant, McStay, Miller, McGhee and Burns

Rangers – Woods, Stevens, Munro, Gough, Sterland, Butcher, Drinkell, Ferguson, McCoist, Brown, Walters.

From the start, the crowd of 72,069 watched a Celtic side – which had been dismissed before the game as having no chance – rise to the challenge, scrapping for every ball and pushing their opponents back into defence. Eventually, Rangers resorted to a long ball game which, in spite of the occasional presence of Richard Gough and Terry Butcher in the attack, was dealt with comfortably by Mick McCarthy and Derek Whyte.

fleck 20may


The outcome was settled by a single goal; it arrived in the 42nd minute, the result of a series of errors. Peter Grant lobbed a high ball into Rangers penalty area; Gough headed a poorish clearance away ; Mark McGhee and Butcher fought for the loose ball; Butcher proved the stronger and squared the ball to Gary Stevens, who attempted a pass-back.

Unfortunately for him, the attempt was short and an alert Joe Miller swooped on the ball and sent a low shot past Chris Woods into the corner of the net.

NB If we compare the winning statistics of Celtic and Rangers in the three domestic competitions for both the 1970s and 1980s, we can see a gradual shift towards the latter.

Celtic              Rangers

1970         1980          1970      1980

League                                  6              4                    3                3

Scottish Cup                       5              4                    4                1

League Cup                         1              1                    4                6

What Was On This Day? 16th May 1896 Celtic 2 Queen’s Park 1 Charity Cup Final

The season of 1895-96 was turning out to be a pretty successful one for Celtic Football Club. They had won the League Championship, with a record of P18, W15, D0, L3, F64, A25, Pts 30; and picked up the Glasgow Cup with a fine 6-3 thrashing of Queen’s Park in the final.

Alas, in the first round of the Scottish Cup, on a very heavy Parkhead pitch, the Spiders’ long ball game proved more efficient than Celtic’s short passing style, Queen’s Park winning 4-2 in front of a crowd of 26,000. Now, there was only one trophy left to compete for in the season, the Charity Cup and after Celtic had gone through to the final with a comprehensive 6-1 defeat of Rangers, they found themselves once again up against Queen’s Park.

The game was played on this day in 1896 at Ibrox, where the Celtic team was McArthur, Meechan, Doyle, McEleney, Kelly, Battles, Madden, Blessington, Martin, MacMahon and Ferguson. A crowd of 11,000 had turned up on a scorching afternoon and they would have been disappointed by the fare, both teams looking tired or perhaps just not used to playing in such torrid conditions.

macarthur 16may


At the end of normal time, the score was tied at 1-1, so the match went to extra-time, with Celtic scoring the winner in the 104th minute. They owed their victory mainly to their very sound defence, the forward line having some injury problems – Jim Blessington lame for most of the match and Johnny Madden playing with an injured shoulder. The feat of winning three trophies in a season matched that of the 1891-92 side, who had won the three cups, Scottish, Glasgow and Charity.

NB Centre-forward Alan Martin only played this one season before joining Hibs but he ran out for 17 of the 18 league matches plus that one Scottish Cup tie. In those 18 games, he scored 18 goals.

What Was On This Day? 12th May 1971 Celtic 2 Rangers 1 Scottish Cup Final Replay

In the first match of the final between the old rivals, held the previous Saturday, a crowd of 120,092 had turned up and they were rewarded by a real end-to-end encounter, where Celtic made the better chances but Rangers fought all the way, the game ending in a 1-1 draw.

On the evening of this day in 1971, 103,332 were present for the replay, when the teams were;-

Celtic; Williams, Craig, Brogan, Connelly, McNeill, Hay, Johnstone, Macari, Hood, Callaghan, Lennox.

Rangers; McCloy, Denny, Mathieson, Greig, McKinnon, Jackson, Henderson, Penman, Stein, MacDonald, Johnston.

Celtic were the quicker and sharper side in the first half, getting goals from Lou Macari in 24 minutes and a Harry Hood penalty one minute later.



Rangers were better after the interval and pulled one back in 58 minutes. In most reports, this is credited to me as an own goal but I can state with complete honesty that, as I tried to clear a viciously spinning ball in the six yard box, I missed it completely and it rotated into the corner of the net!. Fortunately, we managed to hold out till the end and sent our fans home in a happy mood. It was Celtic’s 21st Scottish Cup success.

NB  That attendance of 103,332 was the 3rd last occasion when a six-figure crowd turned up for a Scottish Cup final or replay. The following season, 106,102 were there for Celtic meeting Hibs; and one year later, 122,714 crowded in for the clash between Celtic and Rangers.