This photograph shows Celtic Park on the afternoon of 7th April 1900, when there was a crowd of 63,000 packed in to see Scotland beat England 4-1 in the British International Championship. The Queen’s Park centre-forward, R. S. McColl – in later years better known for the string of shops named after him – got a hat-trick and Celtic’s outside-left Jack Bell got the other.
The match was known as the ‘Rosebery International’ because Lord Rosebery paid some sponsorship money to have the team kitted out in his racing colours of yellow and purple (example below). He addressed the crowd at the end of the match, praising the Scottish team but also stressing that ‘there would be no greater civil war than football’ between these nations in future.
At Celtic Park in those days, the players changed in the pavilion, to the extreme left of the picture. To the right of that is the North Stand, made of wood with a galvanised roof, which could hold 3,500. And opposite that, on the south side, is the Grant Stand, a very imposing edifice named after the man who put up the money for it, James Grant, a director originally from Northern Ireland.
This stand was two-tiered and had tip-up seats as well as a glass frontage designed to protect the paying customer. Unfortunately, the stand was not popular, partly because the spectators felt that the stairs were too steep and partly because the architect had not allowed for condensation, so the glass steamed up, making vision impossible. Eventually, the glass was removed but the unpopularity of the stand remained.