If You Know The History: 14th May 1960 Celtic 5 Sparta Rotterdam 1

14th May 1960 Celtic 5 Sparta Rotterdam 1

When the game we now know as football developed in the early 1860s, the lay-out of the pitch was very basic, the only lines being the ones used to delineate the dimensions of the playing area, which at one time could be anything from 100 to 200 yards in length, with a width of between 50 and 100 yards. The goal-posts had a tape across them to mark the height and there were usually flags in the four corners. Gradually, things changed;-

1875​ A wooden cross bar replaced the tapes.
1891​ The penalty kick was introduced
1892​ Goal nets became more common
1901​ The penalty area and six-yard area took on its present form, without the ‘arc’.
1909/10 Goalkeepers started to wear different coloured jerseys from the other players
1925​ The major change in the rules in the 20th century, the alteration to the offside law
1937​ The ‘arc’ was added outside the penalty area to make it easier for referees to see encroaching players at a penalty. They had, as now, to be 10 yards away from the ball.

One other – rather late – innovation was the numbering of jerseys, which only became a regular feature of the game just before the start of the 2nd World War in 1939. By the 1950s, every outfield player in nearly every team in Scotland wore a number on the back of his jersey for identification. The exception was Celtic, whose chairman, Bob Kelly, was adamant that the numbers would deface the distinctive hoops jersey.

However, on this day in 1960, in a friendly against Sparta ( Rotterdam) at Parkhead, the Celtic players ran out with numbers on their shorts for the first time, getting the novel idea off to the perfect start with a 5-1 win.


A Celtic side from the 1960-61 season, by then wearing the numbers on the shorts. From the left;
Back Row; McKay, Kennedy, Haffey, Crerand, McNeill, Clark
Front Row; Gallagher, Fernie, Hughes, Chalmers, Byrne.

Jim Craig


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