30th August Celtic 3 Rangers 1
The Lisbon team took to the field on this day in 1967 for a crucial league Cup tie against Rangers but with 12 minutes left, thanks to a goal by Willie Henderson, Celtic were 1-0 down. Then more calamity, a penalty to Rangers for a foul by John Clark.
Right –back Kai Johansen stepped forward, struck a fierce shot which flashed past keeper Ronnie Simpson, the ball then hitting the cross-bar and rebounding to Johanson, who knocked it into the empty net. And that, of course, is a foul, as the Celtic players were quick to point out, the ball needing to be played by someone other than the kicker. It was a real break by Celtic and they took advantage of it.
From the free-kick, taken quickly by McNeill, the ball was passed upfield and Willie Wallace got the equaliser with a header. Five minutes later, Bobby Murdoch sent an unstoppable shot past Rangers keeper Eric Sorenson to give Celtic the lead and right on the final whistle, Bobby Lennox darted through a Rangers defence in disarray to make the final score 3-1 to Celtic.
28th August 1935 McGrory’s 50th hat-trick
The statistics of Jimmy McGrory’s career with Celtic are almost mind-boggling, such as 472 goals in 445 matches, an average of more than a goal a game, an incredible tally that was rewarded with a meagre total of 7 Scottish caps.
On this day in 1935, Jimmy McGrory ran out at Parkhead for Celtic’s fourth league match of the season, a local derby against Third Lanark, which Celtic won comfortably by 6 goals to nil. Willie Buchan got a double from the inside-right position; inside-left Johnny Crum also made the score sheet ; and McGrory scored the other three. It was the 50th hat-trick of his Celtic career.
By the time he retired two years later, McGrory had raised the final total to 55 hat-tricks in a Celtic career, way ahead of Jimmy Quinn in second place with 20, followed by Henrik Larsson and Bobby Lennox on 15.
26th August 1908 Peter Somers Benefit
Peter Somers was an inside-forward, a hard-working player who, along with Jimmy McMenemy, became the brains of the great 6-in-a-row team from 1905 to 1910.
It was a wonderful period for all the players of that time. In addition to the six titles, Scottish Cups were won in 1904, when Jimmy Quinn thrived on the service from Somers to score a hat-trick and again in 1907, when Peter Somers scored two of the three goals which beat Hearts and was awarded the match ball afterwards.
Peter was also in the team which won the Cup again in 1908 and played in both matches in the 1909 final, when the trophy was withheld after crowd trouble in the Celtic – Rangers clash, the so-called ‘Hampden Riot’.
Like most senior players at that period, Peter was eventually granted a benefit match, played on this day in 1908, with Rangers, as usual, the choice of opponents. Celtic won 3-1 and Peter enjoyed another year with the club before departing for Hamilton in 1910, where he eventually became a director.
Tragically, due to an infection, he had to have part of his leg amputated in 1914. Gangrene set in and he died on 27th November 1914 at the age of 36.
24th August 1983 McClair debut
When Brian McClair ran out for his Celtic debut on this day in 1983 – for a league cup tie at Glebe Park, the ground of Brechin City – only 3,000 people were in the stadium to see Celtic win 1-0.
Brian had had a successful spell with Motherwell for two seasons and was brought into Celtic Park in January 1983 by Billy McNeill ostensibly to replace Charlie Nicholas. Unfortunately, Billy soon departed for Manchester City and Charlie to Arsenal but his successor Davie Hay was initially more than satisfied with Brian’s goal scoring capabilities and the player thrived, playing his part in the Scottish Cup win of 1985 and the League Championship victory the following season, opening the scoring in the 6th minute at Love Street in the match which clinched the title for Celtic.
Brain was Scotland’s Player of the Year in 1987 but did not always feel wanted at Celtic Park and eventually moved to Manchester United for a fee of £850,000 in July 1987. For a player with a record of 120 goals in 199 appearances, it was almost daylight robbery and Alex Ferguson was well pleased with this particular piece of business.
22nd August Charlie Gallagher Debut
On this day in 1959, in a league cup tie at Celtic Park against Raith Rovers, inside-forward Charlie Gallagher made his first-team debut.
It was a time of transition at Parkhead. Bobby Evans was at centre-half, in the last season of his Celtic tenure; Bertie Peacock, at left half, was also in the final throes of his club career. Most of the side, though, was made up of young guys, like Frank Haffey in goal, in only his second season or Billy McNeill, in the unaccustomed position that day of right –back.
Dunky McKay, better known as a right-back, was sent out at right-half ; the all-action Dan O’Hara had a midfield role; Jim Conway led the line ; Matt McVittie was on the right wing, with a 21-year-old called Bertie Auld on the left ; leaving debutant Charlie Gallagher to provide the ammunition, which he did very effectively as Celtic recorded a 1-0 victory.