If You Know The History – 30th December 1905 Hibs 0 Celtic 1

In season 1904-05, Celtic had won the league title (after winning the play-off match against Rangers) with both teams finishing on 41 points. Hibs had finished 5th, albeit 15 points behind, their record of 39 goals for and 39 against much inferior to Celtic’s 68 for and 31 against.

On this day in 1905, in the following season, the teams in green met at Easter Road for the second time in the campaign, Celtic having won the first match at Parkhead in early September. Willie Maley had chosen a side of Adams, McLeod, Orr, Young, Loney, Hay, Bennett, McMenemy, Quinn, Somers and Hamilton, an eleven that came as no surprise to the fans. Celtic were heading towards their second consecutive championship – a run which eventually result in six consecutive titles – and the names mentioned above tripped off the fans’ tongues as readily as would those of the Lisbon Lions some years in the future.

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PHOTO: JIM HAY

After 18 league matches thus far, Celtic had won 15, drawn one and lost two (0-1 Port Glasgow Athletic (H); 2-3 Rangers (A)) and were very much in the driving seat towards the title. On that afternoon in 1905, Hibs gave their all but a solitary goal by Jimmy Quinn proved to be crucial and the two points went to Celtic.

NB It was to be a good New Year for the Celtic fans. On Ne’erday, their heroes beat Rangers 1-0; and on the following day, they beat Kilmarnock 2-0.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 28th December 1940 Celtic 5 QP 1 Southern Division

28th December 1940 Celtic 5 QP 1 Southern Division

For the first season during WW2, Celtic were in the Scottish League Western Division.
By the following season, they were in the Southern Division, in which, on this day in 1940, they faced Queen’s Park at Parkhead. The war had broken up the team of 1939.

George Johnstone was now the regular goalkeeper, Roy Milne was holding down the left-back spot,
Willie Waddell had replaced Willie Lyon at centre-half, Matt Lynch had taken over at outside-right
and George Gillan was the new inside-left, with John Divers moving to the right.

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Above: John Divers

On that afternoon, at least, those players gelled well and Celtic won comfortably by 5 goals to 1.
The experienced Johnny Crum, by then 28 years of age, scoring two.

George Gillan also got a double with another pre-war star, Frank Murphy, also putting his name on the score sheet. It was Celtic’s third win in a row, during which time they had scored 10 goals.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 26th December 1994 Aberdeen 0 Celtic 0

26th December 1994 Aberdeen 0 Celtic 0

A number of memorable Celtic moments have occurred on Boxing Day through the years. Famous stars were born on this day, like Alec McNair (604 appearances) in 1883 and Steve Chalmers ( 405 appearances ) in 1936. There were some good victories too, like the 7-1 win over Clyde at Shawfield in the league in 1953; the 3-0 victory over a talented Morton side in another league game in 1970 at Cappielow or the 5-3 triumph against Rangers in the replayed final of the Glasgow Cup at Hampden in 1955.

After those special days, the 0-0 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on this day in 1994 would seem relatively insignificant yet it was a historic moment in the club’s history. The men who took to the field that day in the north-east of Scotland were Pat Bonner, Tom Boyd, Tosh McKinlay, Tony Mowbray, Brian O’Neill, Peter Grant, Brian McLaughlin, Paul McStay, Chris Hay, Andy Walker and John Collins.

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PHOTO: PETER GRANT

From the press reports, it was not the most exciting of afternoons, with the vast majority of the crowd pleased to hear the final whistle. And the Celtic fans would not have been aware that they were watching a ‘first’ in the annals of the club. The draw that afternoon meant that Celtic had gone 11 consecutive league matches without a win, something they had managed to avoid since the leagues started in 1890/91.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 25th December 1937 A Bad Day for a Legend

25th December 1937 A Bad Day for a Legend

Christmas Day. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved the events surrounding this particular day. Everyone seems to be in a good mood, I receive nice presents, I am wined and dined like no other day in the calendar year and I am even asked to sing, something else which seldom happens! It reminds me of all the good moments in my life, none better than the day in this photograph, taken in 1969.

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PHOTO: ELISABETH AND I

To be honest, every time I look at it, I can see why she fell for me! Seriously, though, Elisabeth has always been everything you could ask for in a wife, she’s still my best paI, I am still nuts about her and very pleased that she is still by my side after all this time. So, firstly, on behalf of Elisabeth and myself, could I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope that you all have as nice a time as we normally have.

Now, after a build-up like that, you would expect that I would be relating some very pleasant story about something that occurred on this day either to Celtic or some employee of the club. Well, you are right in thinking that a Celtic personality was involved – in fact this man could very definitely be described as a legend – but it concerns a moment, on Christmas Day of all days, when he was quite badly treated by the club he loved.

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PHOTO: JIMMY MCGRORY AS PLAYER

On 18th December 1937, Jimmy McGrory became manager of Kilmarnock, on a weekly wage of £17 10s. Seven days later, on Christmas Day, he took his new side back to Celtic Park, of all places, for a league match. As he took his seat in the ‘away’ directors’ box, he received a tremendous cheer from the Celtic support in the crowd of around 8,000, a tribute he apparently felt a little uncomfortable about.

45 minutes later, Jimmy McGrory had even more reason to feel uncomfortable, as his new side were by that time 0-6 down. As he tried to raise the morale of players whom he had only known for a few days, his former manager Willie Maley, in his 50th year as Boss, was apparently telling the Celtic team to go out and give more of the same. This they did and the final score was a humiliating 8-0 defeat for Kilmarnock. It must have been truly hard for the manager, the players and the fans of the Ayrshire club to drum up any Christmas spirit that night.

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PHOTO: MCGRORY, QUINN, MALEY AND GALLACHER

Not all Celtic fans were happy with the result. More than a few were displeased that Celtic, or more particularly Willie Maley, should have been so merciless in their treatment of a former Celtic legend, although McGrory distanced himself from such thoughts. He concentrated on trying to improve the play of his new charges and brought in a couple of new players. Revenge, though, was just round the corner.

In the early rounds of the Scottish Cup, in the first months of 1938, Kilmarnock beat Third Lanark 2-1 (A) and Nithsdale Wanderers 5-0 (H) before being drawn against Celtic in the third round, again at Parkhead. This time Kilmarnock rose to the challenge and won 2-1 but once again, McGrory was badly treated by his former side.

After the match, Maley refused to shake hands with his former star and even when McGrory went along to his office to say farewell after the game, Maley did not look up from his desk, apparently dealing with paperwork. It was a shameful act of bad grace on the part of the Celtic manager and McGrory merely closed the door and took his side away.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 24th December 1977 Celtic 1 Dundee United 0

24th December 1977 Celtic 1 Dundee United 0

The season of 1976/77 had proved to be a very successful one for Celtic, when the team won the ‘double’ of League Championship and Scottish Cup for the 10th time in the club’s history. Unfortunately, the following one of 1977/78 did not match up to expectations.

By the third week of December 1977, Celtic were lying in 5th place in the league table, behind Rangers, Aberdeen, Partick Thistle and Dundee United. So, when the Terrors came down to Parkhead on this day in 1977, it was a chance for the Hoops to move up the table. The team on the day was Latchford, Fillipi, Lynch, Aitken, MacDonald, Dowie, Doyle, Edvaldsson, McAdam, Craig and Conn.

The crowd was a poor one of 21,000 – although in the days of pay at the gate, even fervent fans could be sidetracked from their beloved football on the eve of Christmas – and they only witnessed the one goal. That came in the 82nd minute and was scored by Celtic’s first Icelandic player, Johannes Edvaldsson.

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PHOTO: JOHANNES EDVALDSSON

It was not a gripping show but a win was a win and the fans went home in a relatively happy mood, ready to celebrate the following day in the usual manner. However, dark days were ahead; Celtic went on to lose their next five league matches, to Ayr United (A), Motherwell (H), Rangers (A), Aberdeen (A) and St Mirren (H).

Jim Craig