If You Know The History – 28th April 1909 Queen’s Park 0 Celtic 5 League

Towards the closing stages of season 1908/09, Celtic were well behind the other teams challenging for the league title in terms of matches played. This had been caused by the club’s involvement in the Glasgow Cup, whose organisers insisted that all matches be played on a Saturday to attract the best attendances. As the Glasgow FA was older than the Scottish FA, they were not slow in pushing their case for precedence.

In the Glasgow Cup of that season, in fact, Celtic had rather stuttered their way through the competition, needing replays to beat Queen’s Park in round one and also Rangers in the quarter-final. Then, in the semi-final against Third Lanark, a second replay was required before Celtic went down 0-4 to the Hi Hi.

In the Scottish Cup Final, held on 10th April 1909, Celtic and Rangers drew 2-2 with a crowd of 70,000 watching at Hampden. A week later, at the same venue, 60,000 were present for the replay, which ended in another draw, this time 1-1. After the final whistle, though, a number of players lingered on the pitch, obviously unsure about the possibility of extra-time. After a few minutes, they started to head towards the dressing-rooms but the crowd, sensing that they were to be deprived of further action, erupted in anger. This soon turned into a rampant display of hooliganism, during which those working inside the stadium were attacked, parts of the stadium were badly damaged and some even set on fire. When police and firemen were called in to help with the problem, they were also attacked.

The football authorities were not amused. The SFA abandoned the tie and withheld the trophy. They also contributed £500 to Queen’s Park for the damage to the stadium and ordered both Celtic and Rangers to pay the sum of £150.

The withholding of the trophy was regarded by Celtic with mixed views. On one hand, it prevented the club winning the trophy for the third year in a row (see NB below); at the same time, it took a load off the club, who still had to play 8 matches in 11 days to complete the league programme! At that point in the 34-game campaign, Celtic had played 26 matches and had 39 points; leaders Dundee had 48 points from 33 games. So, assuming that the Dark Blues would pick up another two points from their final match, giving them a total of 50, Celtic would have to collect 12 points from their last 8 matches to win the title – all by the end of April.

They started well enough, beating Hearts 2-1 at Tynecastle (19th) and this was followed by a run of four home games, Hamilton ( 1-1; 21st), Morton (5-1; 22nd), Airdrie (0-0; 24th) and Motherwell (4-0; 26th). That gave them 8 points but Dundee did indeed win their final match, so another three were needed. They got two of them on this day in 1909, against Queen’s Park at Cathkin, when a hat-trick by Jimmy Quinn and a double by Davie Mclean, gave Celtic a 5-0 win.

Quinn 1913-1914@200%

The following evening – the 29th April – the team travelled through to Easter Road, where Hibs scored an early goal which turned to be the only one of the game. The players would have been quite tired at this point but they had to raise their game for one last effort, which was against Hamilton again, this time at Douglas Park, on the evening of the 30th April 1909. Jimmy Quinn scored Celtic’s opener before being injured and moving out to the left wing; Jimmy McMenemy got the second and Celtic seemed to be coasting but a goal for Hamilton near the end meant a period of anguish for the visiting supporters, who had to witness the unusual sight of one of the best defences in the club’s history repeatedly booting the ball up the park until the referee blew the final whistle. Celtic’s 5th consecutive championship had been secured!

NB. As mentioned above, after Scottish Cup victories in 1907 and 1908, the Hampden Riot spoiled a chance for Celtic to win three consecutive trophies in the competition. This is a feat that the club has never achieved; Celtic have won 2-in-a-row in 1899/1900, 1907/1908, 1911/1912, 1971/1972, 1974/1975, 1988/1989, 2004/2005. Three consecutive Scottish Cup victories have been achieved by Queen’s Park, Vale of Leven, Rangers and Aberdeen.

If You Know The History – 24th April 1954 Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1 Scottish Cup Final

Three years after winning Celtic’s first Scottish Cup since 1937, the team reached the final again, after beating Falkirk ( A; 2-1; 20,000); Stirling Albion ( A; 4-3; 26,300); Hamilton (A; 2-1: 22,000); Motherwell ( Hampden; SF; 2-2; 104,424) and Motherwell in the replay (Hampden; 3-1; 96,200).

In the final, held on this day in 1954, Celtic fielded an eleven of John Bonnar, Mike Haughney, Frank Meechan, Bobby Evans, Jock Stein, Bertie Peacock, John Higgins, Willie Fernie, Sean Fallon, Charlie Tully and Neil Mochan. It was an eagerly anticipated match, as Aberdeen had beaten Rangers 6-0 in the other semi-final and were regarded as worthy opponents.


Celtic opened brightly, won corner after corner but the Aberdeen defence held firm and at half-time, there was still no scoring. Early in the second-half, Celtic went ahead when a fierce cross-cum-shot from Neilly Mochan was deflected into his own net by Dons centre- half Young. Shortly afterwards, Buckley equalised for Aberdeen but as the battle continued, Celtic became the stronger side. The winner came from a classic and typical run by Willie Fernie, who received the ball from a throw-in, swerved his way along the goal line past several defenders before rolling the ball back into the path of Sean Fallon, who tapped it into the net for the winner.


NB1.  IT was the 4th ‘Double’ of League Championship and Scottish Cup in Celtic’s history, the others having been won in 1906/07, 1907/08 and 1913/14. Celtic did have the chance of winning three doubles in a row in season 1908/09, but the Hampden Riot which followed a drawn replay against Rangers in the Scottish Cup final led to the trophy being withheld for that season.

NB2.  Seven of the players in that Scottish Cup-winning side – Bonnar, Haughney, Evans, Stein, Peacock, Fernie and Mochan – had been in the team which won the Coronation Cup only eleven months previously.

NB3. A grateful Board of Directors showed their appreciation of the side’s efforts by taking them to Switzerland to see the World Cup Finals, eventually won by West Germany.

If You Know The History – 21st April 1917 Celtic 0 Kilmarnock 2 League

Celtic did well during the years of the First World War, although the authorities did make some changes to the rules and regulations.

As soon as war had been declared in 1914, the FA and the SFA agreed to abandon international matches; the SFA also decided to scrap the Scottish Cup competition. Players’ wages were initially reduced by 25% and later fixed at £1 per week. No wages were paid during the close season and footballers were expected to take their place alongside other workers in the munition factories and shipyards. League matches were confined to Saturdays and holidays, while players could only take part if they had worked the rest of the week.

The war was horrendous and took an enormous toll of men but ironically, during this period, Celtic played some lovely football and set some records, like scoring 116 goals in season 1915/16 or losing only 14 in the league campaign of 1913/14.

On 13th November 1915, Celtic lost 0-2 to Hearts at Tynecastle. They then went on a run of 62 league matches unbeaten, a run which came to an end on this day in 1917, when Celtic again lost 0-2, this time to Kilmarnock at Celtic Park.

NB Celtic also played their part in the promotion of the war effort. Appeals were made at half-time during matches for recruits; the club sent footballs to army recruits in training and soldiers at the front; and matches for War Relief Funds, initially for Belgian refugees, were played at Hampden Park in 1915, 1916 and 1917, when Celtic, as League Champions, played against a select team representing the Rest of the League before large crowds.


Celtic, like many other families, had their share of war dead. Peter Johnstone ( Arras 1917), Donny McLeod (Flanders 1917), Bobby Craig (Boulogne 1918) and Leighton Roose ( The Somme 1916) all gave their lives for their country; while Willie Angus, a Lance-Corporal in the Highland Light Infantry, who had been on Celtic’s books before the war, won the Victoria Cross for rescuing his Commanding Officer from no-man’s-land near Givenchy.

If You Know The History – 18th April 1936 Celtic 6 Ayr United 0 League

Thanks to Celtic winning the all-British tournament – the Empire Exhibition Trophy – in 1938, supporters tend to over-glamorise the successes of the club in the 1930s. The truth of the matter is that, like the decade of the 1920s, Celtic once again played second fiddle to Rangers, the overall tally being;

League; Celtic 2 Rangers 6 Scottish Cup ; Celtic 3 Rangers 4

Glasgow Cup; Celtic 2 Rangers 7 Charity Cup ; Celtic 3 Rangers 6

One of those League Championship wins came in season 1935/36, when centre-forward Jimmy McGrory was on the rampage. By the middle of April, he had scored 47 goals in the league, with two games left. On this day in 1936, relegation-haunted Ayr United arrived at Celtic Park for the penultimate match of the season and found Celtic in irrepressible form, with McGrory knocking in a hat-trick – his 7th of the season – to give him a tally of 50 for the season.


Unfortunately, McGrory also picked up a nasty knee injury, which kept him out of the final match of the season, against Partick Thistle. This meant that he missed the chance to equal, or even overtake, the Scottish record of 52 goals in a league season, scored by Willie McFadyen of Motherwell when the Steelmen won the First Division title in 1931/32.

NB1. In that Ayr match, Celtic were also awarded a penalty, which McGrory stepped forward to take and, in the words of Willie Maley, “almost hit the corner flag with it”.

NB2. The league title of 1935/36 was Celtic’s first of the decade, the previous ones being won by Motherwell (1) and Rangers (4). Now, all through these years Jimmy McGrory had been knocking in the goals, so what had made the difference in season 1935/36?

The answer lay in the defence. After the alteration of the offside law in 1925, most sides had changed the role of the centre-half from the attacker in the ‘2-3-5’ formation, to the ‘stopper’ of the new ‘W/M’ system. Celtic, though, had been reluctant to change with the rest, which meant that they were losing too many goals.


In April 1945, Willie Maley signed a true ‘stopper’ centre-half, Willie Lyon, from Queen’s Park. He proved to be just what the team needed, giving them a stability at the back and organising the rest of the defence accordingly. The result was clear the following season; in winning the league, Celtic scored 115 goals in 38 matches while losing only 33.

If You Know The History – 15th April 1911 Celtic 2 Hamilton 0 Scottish Cup Final Replay

In the early days of the 20th century, the Scottish Cup was the competition most appreciated by supporters, so when Celtic reached the final again in 1911 – after having won the trophy in 1904, 1907 and 1908 – their fans were really pleased. The road to the final had not been too comfortable, with few goals scored, even though all the matches were at home; St Mirren (2-0; 5,000), Galston (1-0; 5,000), Clyde in the quarter-final ( 1-0; 5,000) and Aberdeen in the semi-final (1-0; 48,000).

45,000 turned up for the final, held at Ibrox on 8th April 1911, when the Celtic team was Adams, McNair, Dodds, Young, McAteer, Hay, Kivlichan, McMenemy, Quinn, Hastie and Hamilton. On a dry afternoon and a hard pitch, Celtic gave an insipid display, with the crowd probably happy to hear the final whistle. As the underdogs, Hamilton were quite pleased with the 0-0 draw, knowing that they would get another chance in the replay, with also more money coming their way.

That replay, which took place on this day in 1911, a Wednesday, could not have been played in worse conditions, a strong wind and heavy rain making for a very slippery pitch and cutting the attendance to 25,000. Manager Willie Maley had re-shuffled his forward line, dropping John Hastie, moving Willie Kivlichan to inside-right and bringing in Andy McAtee on the right wing.

Losing the toss, Celtic started against the elements and immediately came under severe pressure from the Accies but the defence coped well and Davie Adams only had a couple of saves to make. In the second half, with the wind now behind them, Celtic began to take control, although the forwards, apart from Willie Kivlichan, were not at their best. However, the repeated pressure told on the Hamilton defence, the chances arrived and Celtic scored from two of them – thanks to centre-forward Jimmy Quinn and centre-half Tommy McAtee – to take the Scottish Cup back to Celtic Park for the 7th time.



NB1. Willie Kivlichan had played for Rangers from 1905 until 1907 before moving across the city to Celtic Park, where his career covered the years from 1907 to 1911 – with 22 goals in 92 appearances – before he went south to Bradford. Willie also graduated M.B. CH.B. in 1917, later in the 1920s becoming Celtic’s club doctor; he was in attendance on that tragic day of 5th September 1931 when John Thomson had his fatal accident.

NB2. The small village of Croy in central Scotland fairly played its part that afternoon, as three of the winning Celtic team – Jimmy Quinn, Tommy McAteer and Andy McAtee – all lived there.