During the first half of the 20th century, when European football was yet to take its place on the football calendar, the Charity and Glasgow Cups were important tournaments, not least because they promised the prospect of a clash between Celtic and Rangers.
Between 1900 and 1920, both halves of the Old Firm won 8 Glasgow Cups; of the 20 Charity Cups up for grabs, Celtic had won 11, Rangers 6.
During the decade of the 1920s, however, Rangers’ overall dominance began to show, the Ibrox club picking up 5 Glasgow Cups to Celtic’s 4 and heading the Charity Cup list with 6, as opposed to the 3 of the Hoops.
So, when the two Glasgow giants met in the first Glasgow Cup final of the decade of the 1930s, on this day in 1930, it was an important occasion, not only the trophy but prestige being at stake. A crowd of 71,800 turned up at Hampden and before the match, there was a tribute to the 48 people who had died in the R101 Airship Disaster, only six days before. Unfortunately, according to many reports, that was the most memorable thing about the afternoon.
Rangers had the better of the out-field play but the finishing of their forwards was deplorably weak; Celtic, on the other hand, relied on doggedness and pluck, although a touch of good fortune was also theirs. Charlie Napier opened the scoring for Celtic in five minutes; Jimmy McGrory made it two seven minutes after the interval. Rangers centre-forward Jimmy Smith pulled one back eighteen minutes from time but even though Celtic right-winger Bertie Thomson was ordered off near the end, Celtic held on to take the trophy for the 16th time.