If You Know The History: 20th May 1953 Coronation Cup Final Celtic 2 Hibs 0

20th May 1953   Coronation Cup Final  Celtic 2 Hibs 0

107,000 were gathered at Hampden Park on this day in 1953 for the final of the Coronation Cup between Celtic and Hibs.

Manager Jimmy McGrory put out ten of the side which had beaten Manchester United in the semi-final; Charlie Tully had not managed to throw off the injury he picked up in the final minutes of the semi and was replaced by Willie Fernie. Heavy rain had fallen in the area the day before the match and that left the pitch in excellent condition for the final.

Against a very talented Hibs side, with the Famous Five forward line – Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond – Celtic rose to the challenge, each and every man playing his part. Once again, the half-back line was inspirational but goalkeeper Johnny Bonnar also chose that night to put on a wonderful show, keeping Hibs out time and time again. In fact, to many fans, the game became remembered as ‘Bonner’s Final’.

The first goal in the 2-0 win came from the trusty right foot of Neilly Mochan, who fired home a ferocious shot from quite a long way out. Neilly’s own estimate was around the 35-yard mark but as the moment recedes in time, the distance tends to increase. The second was scored by inside-left Jimmy Walsh near the end and from then on, the Celtic green-and-white colours were on display round the ground in profusion, with the disappointed Hibs supporters heading for the exits.

So, the for the second time in 15 years, Celtic had triumphed in a cross-border competition and the Coronation Cup was brought to Parkhead to join the Empire Exhibition Trophy, picked up in 1938.

Jim Craig

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