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.

1917

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.

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