29th November 1921 Celtic 2 Third Lanark 1 Unemployment Cup

After the First World War finished in 1918, many families found it hard to make ends meet, with jobs scarce and prices rising. To help them, Glasgow Corporation, in conjunction with the SFA, began a competition called the Unemployment Cup, the proceeds of which would go to the poor of the city.

On this day in 1921, with 3,000 watching, Celtic played their third match in the tournament, when Third Lanark were the visitors to Parkhead. In 15 minutes, inside-left Tommy Craig slid a nice pass into the path of Tommy McInally, who scored Celtic’s first. Thirds then equalised but in 40 minutes, McInally scored again, with outside-left Andrew Miller the supplier of the crucial pass.

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The great Jimmy Brownlie, with 16 caps for Scotland, was in goal for Thirds that day and played his part in keeping the score down, making two good saves from Joe Cassidy as Celtic raised their game and kept the pressure on but the game finished 2-1 and captain Willie Cringan was a happy man as he led his players off the field.

Jim Craig

What A Difference!

WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

What a difference a day makes! (now, isn’t that a wonderful title for a song – someone should write about that?). On Saturday evening, even at my son James’ wedding to the lovely Amanda, we were all talking about Celtic being only four points behind Rangers, albeit the latter had a game in hand. Then, 24 hours later, after the Light Blues have capitulated to Kilmarnock, the gap was still four points. Cheers!

It is very much a case now of the momentum being with the Hoops and the players must keep that drive going, starting with the Europa League match against Atletico Madrid at Parkhead on Wednesday. The Spaniards not only lost the Madrid battle with Real at the weekend by 4-1, they suffered the loss of their keeper Courtois to a red card in 21 minutes and Godin to another ten minutes from time. Atletico had certainly started the match looking sharp and determined but once they had an extra player on the pitch, Real took control and won comfortably. We will see on Wednesday whether Atletico will suffer a reaction to their loss, made even more damaging to morale when it is a local derby.

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Atletico Madrid lie in 9th place in La Liga table, already, after only 13 matches, 18 points behind leaders Real Madrid. Jose Marino’s side now have a 6-point lead over Barcelona, having scored 46 goals to the Catalans’ 38. Can the champions recover?

The list of goalscorers also makes interesting reading. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with 16, followed by Barca’s Lionel Messi on 15; two of the next three are from Real Madrid – Higuain (12) and Benzema (7) – and we have to down the list a bit more to find more Barca names, Fabregas (5), Villa (4) and Xavi (4).

From those stats, it looks like Barca rely heavily on Messi, who looked completely out of sorts on Saturday evening against Getafe, so it was no surprise that the Catalans went down by a single goal. What I find equally surprising is the poor return from David Villa; now I know why he seems to be the most likely of the forwards to be substituted.

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Celtic’s other Europa League opponents are doing equally well in their domestic leagues. Udinese lie near the top of Serie A, along with Juventus, Lazio and AC Milan; while Rennes are in 5th place in League 1, four points behind leaders Paris St Germain.

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Back in Scotland, there are a few teams in difficult positions at the foot of the SPL table. All of them have a similar problem; they do not score enough goals and they let in too many, so goal differences are in the ‘minus’ category. Aberdeen (11th place) have a workable figure of -4; on the other hand, Hibs (9th; -10), Dunfermline (10th ; -15) and Inverness ( 12th ; -12) all look as though they are in for a long, hard winter. Celtic’s opponents next Saturday – Dundee United – also have a minus goal difference ( -5), while the Hoops figure of +20 is second only to that of Rangers.

Jim Craig

All to play for – but I’d rather be in their shoes than ours

1 Rangers 16  23  39

2 Celtic     16  20  35

I probably should sit down and think this through. I probably should take my time over the following little diatribe but I just don’t have that luxury. I would just like to get a few thoughts down on paper.

After the draw at Hibs we were 10 points behind Rangers. Most of us thought the season was gone at that point with no real hope of getting back into contention. Now, here we are almost a calendar month later and that gap is down to 4 points.

Optimism is high. In my opinion just a little bit too high.

Why am I giving it the ‘Scrouge’ attitude? It’s quite simple. Rangers are still 4 points ahead.
They have won the title for the last three seasons in a row.

It was Martin O’Neill who once described Rangers as the ‘benchmark’ – before his team set a whole new standard. We need to acknowledge again that they are indeed the benchmark.

Why? Simply put nothing has been won as yet. For the last ‘decade’ I have heard each Ranger’s team described as ‘the worst Ranger’s team in living memory’ and yet here we are….languishing 4 points behind and in danger of going to 4-in-a-row? Is that unpalatable enough for you? Good. Because here is my point.

As well as things have gone in the past month, there is nothing to say that next month won’t be a disaster. The only way to prevent that is to work hard (Hibs game as an example of where we did not), keep your mouth shut (no silly statements in front of the press please)
and concern yourself only with what’s going on in your own house.

If anything we can take a leaf out of Ranger’s performances from the last three seasons.
When everyone else has written you off you work your bloody socks off, fight the opposition to a stand still and then let the talent shine through.

We have the talent. We just need the bloody-mindedness to go with it.

Stiofain.

Sweenster’s Player Ratings v St Mirren

Internet feed was even good on Saturday

Forster 6
Not a lot for the big fella to do

Matthews 7
He is a decent player for us now, good signing for free. Looks and plays like Mark Wilson I think.

Loovens 6
Didn’t see much of him, which is a good sign

DM 7
Doing okay of late

Ledley 7
Another great signing for free, has shown he can fit in anywhere for us, will be hard to leave him out when we have a fully fit squad.

Forrest 8
He is playing great at the minute, seems to have the knack of turning up in the right places too, unusual quality for a winger.

Kayal 7
Improved on Wednesday night, solid nothing exceptional, probably exactly what we need from him. We haven’t lost since he signed his new contract apparently.

Wanyama 7
Another good game from him. Looks like a certain starter these days. Strong and can play.

Samaras 7
Big lad done well, lets hope this is the confidence boost he needs

Stokes 8
Did everything but score, thought he was a constant threat

Hooper 9
Great to see him performing the way we know he can, looks to have turned the corner after an average season so far.

Subs

McGeough
What a goal from McGeough capped off a great afternoon. Looks plenty selfish which shows he is confident if nothing else.

McCourt
Sparked off a great singsong in the stands more than anything else

Bangura
Didn’t really get into it

Sweenster’s Match Ratings v Dunfermline

My view on a dodgy internet feed

Forster 7
Couple important saves, couple of dreadful kicked clearances

Matthews 6
Did ok, nothing exceptional

Wanyama 7
Like the ICT game the big fella is composed and very strong on the ball

DM 6
Solid

Ledley 7
Was great going forward

Forrest 8
Had a great game, caused them a lot of problems

Kayal 6
Lacked the leadership we needed in last 20 minutes to stamp his authority on the game, may miss out when others return to fitness.

Ki 5
I though he was giding, lost an extra point for penalty miss

Commons 7
Looked very lively, lacking a little confidence, but still kepp shooting

Hooper 8
Best performance of the season for him, a return to form

Stokes 7
Some lovely bits of play, all that was missing was a goal

Subs (only MCCourt had long enough involvement for comment)
McCourt 6
Perhaps we expect too much from him, but he didn’t really get going last night.