Empire Exhibition Trophy – Part 1 – 23rd May 1938

Season 1937/38 was one of the better ones for Celtic in the decade of the 1930s. They won the league title for the second time in the decade ( the other one was in season 1935/36) with a record of P38, W27, D7, L4, F114, A42, a tally which put them three points clear of the rest.

It was Jimmy McGrory’s final season and indeed, he only played a handful of matches before going on to manage Kilmarnock. Even so, he still managed five goals, that total of 114 coming from a variety of sources; Willie Buchan (12), Johnny Crum (24), Joe Carruth (16), Jimmy Delaney (7), Malcolm MacDonald (12), John Divers (20) and Frank Murphy (10), with a few others making up the rest.

Unfortunately, Celtic made a surprise exit from the Scottish Cup at Parkhead at the hands of that same Kilmarnock and also went out of the Glasgow Cup at Ibrox, when Rangers won 2-1. It was a different story in the Charity Cup final, however, played at Hampden on 14th May 1938.

In front of a crowd of 40,000, Rangers never looked like scoring. Their attack lacked imagination and inspiration and was easily held by a Celtic defence superbly marshalled by centre-half Willie Lyon. The first goal came in 8 minutes, when Rangers left-back Cheyne failed to control the ball, John Divers latched on to it, took it to the bye-line and cut it back for Jimmy Delaney to score. After 19 minutes, Celtic went two-up, a corner kick by Frank Murphy being met at the far post by Divers for what proved to be the winning goal.


Normally, that match on the 14th May would have been the final one of the season but not this year. A special competition had been arranged for teams from both Scotland and England and Celtic were involved. So, instead of heading off on holiday, the players were still reporting for training; after all, there was a special place in the Celtic Park Boardroom for the trophy and they could not let the fans down!


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