Celtic travelled to Lochgelly in Fife for their first tie in the Scottish Cup of 1923 with their fans feeling pretty apprehensive. The club had not won the competition since 1914 and to see what the Celtic fans regarded as ‘lesser’ sides like Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Morton getting their names on the famous trophy in recent years was quite disconcerting. They wanted the Cup back at Parkhead…..and quickly!
Lochgelly were disposed of by 3-2 in front of 9,000; then Hurlford were beaten 4-0 at Celtic Park in round two with 5,000 watching; East Fife also came to Glasgow for round three and narrowly lost 2-1 before a crowd of 8,000. The star in all these games was centre-forward Joe Cassidy, who scored all the goals in the three matches.
In the quarter-final tie, Raith Rovers were the visitors to Parkhead, when 30,000 watched the 1-0 win for Celtic; and 71,500 gathered at Ibrox for the semi-final, when Motherwell went down 2-0, with Joe Cassidy again scoring.
And that put Celtic into the final at Hampden, which took place on this day in 1923, with Hibs as the visitors. In truth, the Battle of the Greens turned out to be rather a dour affair for the 82,000 present, the only goal coming in the second half, when a fairly harmless lob forward by Celtic left- half John McFarlane caught out the Hibs keeper Willie Harper and Joe Cassidy nodded home, his 11th goal of the campaign.
My Dad, at that time a 13-year-old boy living in Great Junction Street in Leith, was very disappointed when his Mum, my Gran, would not let him go to the 1923 final. My Grandpa was willing to take him but Gran said no!, her reasons being that with Celtic being the opposition, there would be a big crowd present and she was worried about his safety.
A year later, Hibs reached the final again, where this time Airdrie would be their opponents. As Grandma did not expect a big crowd to turn up for that game – in fact, only 59,218 did – she allowed Dad to accompany his father to the match…which Hibs lost 1-0!