If You Know The History: 29th Feb: Celtic 5 St Mirren 1

29th February Celtic 5 St Mirren 1 1960

Naturally enough, not too many Celtic matches have ever taken place on 29th February. One of the most memorable, though, was played on this day in 1960, when Celtic and St Mirren met in the 2nd replay of a 2nd round Scottish Cup tie at Parkhead.

The first game – at Love Street – had finished one-all; the first replay at Celtic Park was a high-scoring encounter, finishing four-apiece, the Bhoys’ goals coming from Neil Mochan (2) and John Divers (2).

John Divers

A toss of the coin meant that the second replay would take place at Parkhead again and 51,000 packed in hoping to see some more goals.

Neil Mochan, Extreme right, bottom row

They were not to be disappointed. Celtic ran riot, winning the match by five goals to one with all five coming from Neil Mochan, in 7, 12 (pen), 40, 54 and 81 minutes.

Jim Craig

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Celtic Photo Section blog by Jim Craig: Ibrox 1960

This photograph was taken at Ibrox on the afternoon of 20th August 1960, when the Old Firm met in a League Cup sectional match.

In those days, all the senior clubs in Scotland were drawn in groups of four, playing each other home and away, only the winner going through to the quarter-finals. Celtic had beaten Third Lanark 2-0 at home in their first match before a crowd of 25,000, then drew 1-1 with Partick Thistle at Firhill with 20,000 watching.

This Old Firm clash was each team’s third game and on that afternoon, the teams were;-

Celtic – Frank Haffey, Dunky McKay, Jim Kennedy, Pat Crerand, Billy McNeill, Bertie Peacock, Bobby Carroll, Steve Chalmers, John Hughes, John Divers, Neil Mochan.

Rangers – Billy Ritchie, Bobby Shearer, Eric Caldow, Harold Davis, Doug Baillie, Jim Baxter, Alex Scott, Sammy Baird, Jimmy Millar, Ralph Brand, Davie Wilson.

A crowd of 60,000 was at Ibrox that Saturday afternoon and they witnessed quite an eventful match. 17-year-old John Hughes, having made his debut in that match against Third Lanark, caused havoc in the Rangers defence. Big Doug Baillie – later to become sports editor of the Sunday Post – was not the most mobile of players and was given the run-around by the equally-large but much more nimble John Hughes.

Bobby Carroll gave Celtic the lead in 15 minutes; John Divers made it 2-0 ten minutes later; Jimmy Millar pulled one back for Rangers in 36 minutes; one minute before half-time John Hughes put Celtic 3-1 ahead; and Ralph Brand made it 3-2 after 61 minutes.

The photo graph shows Pat Crerand in trouble, facing his own goal just outside the 6-yard box, with Ralph Brand and Sammy Baird waiting to pounce and Frank Haffey waiting for the pass-back. Now, I do not know the precise time the photograph was taken but Haffey did fracture a toe in the first half and struggled all through the second, so that might have been a reason for Pat’s hesitation. Anyway, the match ended 3-2 in Celtic’s favour, making them the favourites to qualify from the section.

Unfortunately, after beating Third Lanark again in their fourth match – this time at Cathkin and by 3-1 – Celtic lost to Partick Thistle at home by 2 goals to one, setting up the second Old Firm clash ( Rangers had also lost twice) as the section decider. Ground advantage was with Celtic but Rangers, with a change at centre-half, came back from losing an early goal to Steve Chalmers to win 2-1 and go through to the quarter-finals.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 26th Feb: Frank McAvennie signs for second time

26th February McAvennie signs for the second time.

Frank McAvennie was born in 1959 and in his teenage years played for St Augustine’s Milton Boys’ Guild, Kilsyth St Pat’s, Kirkintilloch 200 Club and Johnstone Burgh before signing for St Mirren in 1980.

Five years later (after 135 matches; 48 goals), Frank moved south to West Ham, where he did well under the managerial control of John Lyall (85 games; 33 goals). Billy McNeill brought him back to Scotland and Celtic in October 1987, just in time to play a most effective role in the Centenary Season. After a 2-year spell at Parkhead (55 games; 27 goals), Frank moved back to West Ham in 1989 (68 matches; 16 goals). The striker was freed in May 1992, going on to have short loan spells with Aston Villa, Cliftonville and South China, all during the second half of that year.

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Frank McAvennie: Second from right, back row

At heart, though, Frank McAvennie was always a Celt and when the call came from new Boss Liam Brady, he was delighted to accept. On this day in 1993, he signed for Celtic for a second spell.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 24th Feb: Celtic 1 Rangers 0

24th February Celtic 1 Rangers 0 1890

The first-ever meeting between Celtic and Rangers took place on 27th October 1888, when the new boys from the east end of Glasgow won 6-1 in the 2nd round of that season’s Glasgow Cup competition.

Just under two years later, on this day in 1890, the two sides met in the first round of the Scottish Cup, the match played at 1st Celtic Park, with 15,000 watching. The Celtic team on the day was Jim Bell in goal; Jerry Reynolds and Mick McKeown at full back; Paddy Gallagher, Willie McCallum and Willie Maley made up the half-back line; with Barney Crossan, Peter Dowds, Willie Groves, Johnny Madden and Mick Dunbar up front.

And the guys in the green-and-white stripes certainly rose to the occasion, the winning goal coming from ex-Hibs star Willie Groves – by that time the darling of the home support – in the 15th minute of the first half.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History by Jim Craig: 22nd Feb Peter Latchford debut

22nd February Peter Latchford debut

As a young man, Peter Latchford was a basketball star but football – and goalkeeping – eventually won out and he joined West Bromwich Albion in 1969. At that point , his older brother Dave was the number one keeper for Birmingham while brother Bob, a centre-forward, was also with the Blues.
After 81 appearances for the Baggies, Peter was playing in a reserve match at Huddersfield on 17th February 1975 when he caught the eye of assistant manager Sean Fallon. Peter was signed on a loan contract that same night and 48 hours later – on this day in 1975 – he made his debut against Hibs in a league match at Easter Road.

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Over the next 12 years, Peter made 272 appearances for Celtic, with 82 shut-outs (30%), his fine play bringing him recognition from the support, who nominated him Player of the Year on 26th February 1978.

Jim Craig