In the days before the start of the 21st Century, the League Cup final was held before the Festive Season every year and in 1997, on this day, a crowd of 49,305 was packed into Ibrox for the occasion, as Hampden was under re-construction.
The decade of the 1990s had not been a very fruitful one for Celtic up to that point. In fact, they had won only the one trophy – the Scottish Cup in 1995 – and to say that the support was disillusioned, to say the least, was an under-statement. In the League Cup run that season, Celtic had beaten Berwick Rangers 7-0, St Johnstone 1-0 (aet), Motherwell 1-0 in the quarter-final and Dunfermline 1-0 in the semi-final.
In the final, manager Wim Jansen sent out a team of Gould, Boyd, Mahe, McNamara, Rieper, Stubbs, Larsson, Burley, Thom, Wieghorst and Blinker. Celtic got the breakthrough in 20 minutes when Marc Rieper got on the end of a Morten Wieghorst cross to head home; four minutes later, Henrik Larsson intercepted a pass in midfield and raced towards the box, his shot from 20 yards or so deflecting into the net for number two. And in the 59th minute, Regi Blinker showed some nice skills out on the left flank, beating two men before sending a fine cross into the middle where Craig Burley headed home.
So, a 3-0 victory for Celtic and a League Cup won without conceding a goal in four matches. Morten Wieghorst was named Man of the Match; it was a first trophy for manager Wim Jansen; and the victory doubled the number of trophies Celtic had won during the 1990s.
On this day in 1964, although they did know it at the time, a Celtic eleven travelled across the city to Cathkin for the last-ever league meeting against Third Lanark at that ground.
Cathkin had hosted two Scottish Cup finals (1882, 1886) and it had been a good venue for Celtic in the past. Two Glasgow Cup victories (1891, 7-1 v Clyde; 1894, 2-0 v Rangers ); a Charity Cup win (1895, 4-0 v Rangers); and the Glasgow Exhibition Trophy success ( 3-2 v Rangers 1902) were all played at the ground just along the road from Hampden Park.
On that day in 1964, the Third Lanark players – and their dedicated fans – must have been quite apprehensive as their side was down at the foot of the table, scoring an average of a goal every two games while losing four every match. And they did not get any comfort from the play that day, either, as Celtic won 3-0. The side was Simpson, Young, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Kennedy, Johnstone, Gallagher, Hughes, Maxwell and Lennox.
Between the posts for the Hi Hi that day was Evan Williams, who later in his career took over from Ronnie Simpson in the Celtic goal.
Three-up from the first leg at Parkhead, Celtic travelled to Portugal in fairly confident mood to face Benfica in the return leg of their European Cup 2nd round tie
Only 37,000 were in the Stadium of Light to see the Portuguese champions pull two goals back just before the interval and then kept the pressure on for the whole of second half, equalising in the final minute and then being the better side in extra-time
It finished as a tie over two legs , though, and by the laws of the time, that meant the winner would be decided by the toss of the coin, to be done behind closed doors
As the tired Celtic players tried to come to terms with losing three goals on the night, manager Jock Stein was told how the toss would be performed and he then summoned Billy McNeill to go with him to some room in the bowels of the stadium.
The rest of us were left in the dressing-room, tired, apprehensive about the outcome of the coin toss and well aware that we were in for a roasting, not only from the manager but also from the Scottish press on the following day.
Then, came shouts from outside the door of the dressing room and Billy McNeill raced in to give us the good news. We were through to the next round, although not by a way we wanted. The Celtic Board also felt the same way and made recommendations to EUFA which prompted the governing body to replace the coin toss with the penalty shoot-out.
Celtic were lying in second place in the league table – just behind Aberdeen – when a side consisting of Bonner, McGrain, Aitken, McAdam, MacLeod, P McStay, McClair, Burns, Provan, Johnston and McGarvey ran out at Parkhead on this day in 1984 to face fourth-placed St Mirren.
For a match between two teams in the top four, an attendance of 16,148 was very poor but those who did turn up certainly got their money’s worth as Celtic hit top form, even though the Buddies got the first goal in 11 minutes. Paul McStay opened the Celtic account in 20 minutes, Frank McGarvey made it two after 47, Tommy Burns got the third in 50 minutes, Davie Provan made it four five minutes later, McGarvey got two more in the 60th and 72nd minute and Brian McClair made it 7-1 nine minutes from the end.
It was an excellent win and a memorable day for one Celtic star, Frank McGarvey becoming the first player to score 100 goals in the Scottish Premier League.
22nd November 1902 Celtic 3 Post Glasgow Athletic o
There’s a name we haven’t mentioned in these articles before – Port Glasgow Athletic. Now, for those of you who are not too well acquainted with Scotland, if you left Glasgow and headed west along the M8, on the south bank of the Clyde, it would take you past Erskine, Bishopton and Langbank before reaching Port Glasgow. The next stops would be Greenock and then Gourock.
Port Glasgow Athletic were founded in 1893 and between 1902 and 1910 had eight consecutive seasons in the first division, although only in the second of them were they entirely free from relegation trouble. On this day in 1902, they made their first visit to Celtic Park on league business, having already lost twice to Celtic in the Scottish Cup, firstly in season 1898/99 ( semi-final; 4-2) and again in 1899/1900 (5-1).
Celtic had won six, drawn five and lost one (Queen’s Park; 1-2) of their first twelve matches and Willie Maley had obviously decided that some new blood was required. Accordingly, he gave a first team debut to a 22-year old inside-forward called Jimmy McMenemy, who had only joined the club from Rutherglen Glencairn in June of that year.
Jimmy McMenemy: 2nd left front row
As one could work out from the results, Celtic were going through a transitional stage but on that day, the players performed well, winning the match 3-0 to take the two points and new boy McMenemy scoring one of the goals.