The first season of the 20th century – 1900/1901- had not gone well for Celtic. They had been pipped by Rangers in the race for the League title; lost 3-4 to the Light Blues in the first round of the Glasgow Cup; and were defeated 3-4 again, this time by Hearts, in the final of the Scottish Cup. Ironically, Celtic had beaten Rangers 1-0 in the first round of the competition, the crowd of 28,000 – compared to the 16,000 at Hampden for the final – showing the drawing power of the two Glasgow clubs even at that time.
On this day in 1901, Celtic met Rangers for the fifth time that season, this match being in the first round of the Charity Cup. To be truthful, it was not much of a contest, it ended 0-0 and even the players seemed quite pleased to hear the final whistle. What made the contest unusual, though, was the venue.
The First Glasgow International Exhibition had been held in the spring and summer of 1888, a showcase of the city’s industry and commerce. The site of the Exhibition was just below the tower of Glasgow University, in and around Kelvingrove Park, where various ‘pavilions’ were set up to display the wares of countries throughout the world. It included a football tournament, which Celtic took part in, the matches played on a specially-prepared pitch just to the west of the main university building. Another similar exhibition was held in 1901……..
….and that first round tie in the 1901 Charity Cup was played on the Exhibition football pitch.