Empire Exhibition Trophy – Part 5 – 27th May 1938

The replay of the first round tie between Celtic and Sutherland in the Empire Exhibition Trophy turned out to be quite a disappointing game at Ibrox Stadium and the headlines in the sports pages of the Glasgow Herald on this day in 1938 gave a slight clue as to one of the reasons for Celtic’s success;-




Celtic Conquer Sunderland and Qualify

 For Tourney Semi-Final


 Celtic  3  Sunderland  1

A showery night had made the pitch rather spongy but it did not appear to hinder Celtic, who rose to the occasion and dominated the match, although they had to thank goalkeeper Joe Kennaway for wonderful work on several occasions. Celtic had been forced to make changes from the first game, Matt Lynch and Malcolm MacDonald replacing the right-wing combination of Jimmy Delaney and Joe Carruth.  In the midst of the wind and the rain, Sunderland made the first chance when Raich Carter blasted in an 18-yarder which Kennaway did well to knuckle over the bar. From that point on, though, Celtic took control, with inside-left John Divers showing his class on the wet surface.


Yet Sunderland opened the scoring, inside-left Saunders taking the ball along the bye-line in a wonderful run, beating three Celtic defenders and then tricking Kennaway before knocking the ball into the net. This was much against the run of play. Celtic equalised just before the interval, Johnny Crum sending in a looping shot which Mapson, in goal for Sunderland, got his hands to but could not prevent the ball from going over the line.

Celtic must have been disappointed to be level at the interval as they had had most of the play. Within 13 minutes of the second half, though, the match was over as a contest. In 48 minutes, there was a combined move between Crum and Divers and the latter scored from six yards; then in 58 minutes a pass from left-winger Frank Murphy let in Divers again, who pulled the ball on to his left before sending a fine shot into the net off the bottom of a post.

It was a comfortable win for Celtic in front of a disappointing crowd of around 20,000, the heavy rain no doubt affecting the attendance. John Divers caught the attention with his two goals and overall play but the occasional fine work by Joe Kennaway could not be overlooked, nor could the subtle skills of Malcolm MacDonald.


An indication of just how importantly the tournament was being treated was shown in these few words taken from the Glasgow Herald on this day in 1938;- ‘The British Broadcasting Corporation announced last night that the Scottish Football Association has granted permission for the broadcast of a running commentary of part of the final match of the Empire Exhibition Tournament. The second half of the game, which is to be played at Ibrox Stadium, will be fully described’.

Jim Craig


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