10th March 1900 Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Nowadays, the league is the most important of the domestic trophies, where success can provide access to one of the European competitions. Back at the turn of the 20th century, though, the fans preferred the excitement of the Scottish Cup.
Celtic had won this trophy in 1899, beating Rangers 2-0 in the final at Hampden, their second success in the competition, so one can just imagine the enthusiasm of the support when the two Glasgow rivals were paired at the semi-final stage of the 1900 Scottish Cup.
Celtic had already seen off Bo’ness (7-1), Port Glasgow Athletic (5-1) and Kilmarnock (4-0); Rangers had beaten Morton (4-2), Maybole (12-0) and Partick Thistle (6-1). On a Saturday afternoon at Ibrox on 24th February 1900, a crowd of 30,000 had gathered for the semi-final tie. It was the usual tense affair and at half-time, the game was still goalless. In the second half, though, both sides scored twice – Celtic through John Bell and John Campbell, the latter from the penalty spot– so the teams went through to a replay, held at Celtic Park on this day in 1900 before a crowd of 32,000.
CELTIC PARK IN 1900. TO THE LEFT, THE PAVILION AND THE NORTH STAND; ON THE RIGHT, THE GRANT STAND
And it proved to be a wonderful afternoon for the home support. Celtic were two-up at the interval and finished comfortable winners by 4-0, the goals coming from Sandy MacMahon, John Hodge and John Bell.
NB. That penalty given to Celtic in the first semi-final match was also the first the club had been awarded during that 1899/1900 season. Now, before anyone starts complaining about referee bias, could I point out that penalties – which had been introduced as recently as 1891 – were only awarded in those days for serious offences, like blatant handball or ferocious tackling.