If You Know The History – 31st August 1938 Glasgow Cup First Round Replay Celtic 8 Third Lanark 1

Before the days of teams meeting their European counterparts, the two Glasgow competitions, the Glasgow and Charity Cups, were popular with the fans, mainly because there was always the possibility of a clash between the big two, Celtic and Rangers.

Celtic had won the first Glasgow Cup of the 1930s but Rangers picked up six of the next seven, several times overcoming Celtic in the process. In the first round of the 1938/39 Glasgow Cup, Celtic started with a 1-1 draw against Third Lanark at Cathkin Park. That meant a replay back at Celtic Park, held on this day in 1938, when Celtic ran riot, winning 8-1, with inside-left John Divers scoring four.



Inside-forwards in those days could be of two types. There was the deep-lying one, the purveyor of passes, intent on supplying the wingers and centre-forward; and there was the inside-forward who played a little further forward, becoming almost an auxiliary centre-forward. In 197 appearances for Celtic, John Divers scored 92 goals, so one can easily surmise that he played just off the centre-forward.

John left Celtic in 1945 and moved to Morton. Eleven years later, his son John joined Celtic from Glentyan Thistle and went on to score 102 goals in 232 games, which would suggest that he, too, played just behind the centre-forward.

If You Know The History – 27th August 1955 Rangers 1 Celtic 4 League Cup

This was a brilliant display by Celtic at Ibrox, in front of a crowd of some 75,000.


Billy McPhail scored the first goal in 16 minutes, turning round Rangers left back Eric Caldow and sending a fierce shot over the head of George Niven in goal. Twelve minutes later, Eric Smith made it two when he scored from a Neil Mochan pass. Ten minutes from the interval, Rangers got one back through an O.G. by left-back Sean Fallon but four minutes from the break, Eric Smith knocked in his second with another powerful strike.


3-1 then at half-time for the Hoops and that was raised to four in 52 minutes through a bullet-like screamer from Mochan. Celtic held out comfortably till the end and took the two points to lead the league cup section ( Falkirk and Queen of the South were the others) but with the infuriating inconsistency that really rankled with the fans of the time, four days later, in the second Old Firm clash in the section, Celtic lost 0-4 at Parkhead and Rangers went through to the quarter-finals.

If You Know The History: 18th August 1934 Hearts 0 Celtic 0 Delaney debut

18th August 1934 Hearts 0 Celtic 0 Delaney debut

When Celtic met Hearts at Tynecastle on this day 1934 in a league match, it turned out to be a rather disappointing affair with a 0-0 scoreline, the only redeeming feature the promising play of Celtic’s outside-right, one Jimmy Delaney, making his first-team debut. Almost from that point on, Jimmy was a regular in the side, not only providing goal-scoring opportunities for Jimmy McGrory at centre-forward but scoring frequently himself, notching a hat-trick as Celtic won the Charity Cup by beating Rangers 4-2 in the final in 1936.

On successive Saturdays in 1937, Delaney played before nearly 300,000 spectators at Hampden, firstly in the Scotland/ England encounter, when the crowd was over 149, and then a week later, when a reputed 147,365 were there to see Celtic beat Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup Final.


One year on, Jimmy again starred as Celtic picked up the Empire Exhibition Trophy at Ibrox by beating Everton 1-0.

A dreadful injury to his shoulder kept Jimmy out of the game for nearly two years and he returned in the midst of World War 2, when football was of secondary importance. He kept playing, however for both Celtic and Scotland and was the one shining light for the fans in those tough years.

So, you could imagine their astonishment, horror and disgust when it was announced on 8th February 1946 that Jimmy Delaney was being transferred to Manchester United.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History: 13th August 1938 Celtic 9 Kilmarnock 1

13th August 1938 Celtic 9 Kilmarnock 1

On this day, in 1938, Celtic played host to Kilmarnock at Parkhead. It was the first league match of the new season but the sporting press of the day made it out to be a clash of the managers.
In one corner was Willie Maley, by then manager of Celtic for 41 years, with numerous trophies under his belt. In the other corner was Jimmy McGrory, the best -known and most successful Celtic player between the two World Wars but now manager of Kilmarnock, his first post in the profession. On this occasion, it was a no-contest, Celtic winning 9-1, with the goals coming from a variety of sources.


Outside-right Jimmy Delaney was right in form and notched up two, a tally matched by Johnny Divers from the inside-left berth; right half Chic Geatons scored one of only two in his Celtic career; the versatile Malcolm MacDonald, on that day at inside-right also got on the score sheet; as did outside-left Frank Murphy, the first of what would be 13 in that season.


Centre-half Willie Lyon -in his final season with the club before going off to war – and centre-forward Johnny Crum both scored from penalties, the final score leaving the home support with the conviction that it would be a good season.

Jim Craig

4th August The Public Trials

For many years, almost from the early days until the mid-1960s, the first match of the season for Celtic players was the Public Trial match. This was designed to let the fans see how the regular players were looking after their summer break and also gave them a chance to look at any new boys that the club had brought on to the books.

If my experience was anything to go by, then it much easier being a younger player. I played in the Public Trial before the start of the 1961/62 season, in the centre-half berth, and was up against a guy called Steve Chalmers. I was trying my damndest; he was more interested in making sure he did not get injured. And all through the years, I suppose it was always thus, the new boy desperate to show what he could do and the older star merely going through the motions.

The photo below was taken just hours before the Public Trial of 1962 and you will recognise quite a few of the faces;


Back Row, left to right; Curley, Veitch, Symington, F Brogan, Jeffrey, Madden, Haffey, Fallon, J Rankin, Price, Jackson, P Rankin, McCarron

Centre row, left to right, John Higgins, Alec Boden, Hughes, Byrne, Chalmers, Young, Parks, Gemmell, Divers, O’Neill, Kennedy, Cushley, McNamee, Gowans, Lawson, Brasy, Asst. Trainer Jimmy Gribben

Front Row, left to right, Jimmy McGrory, Brown, Smith, Lennox, Murdoch, Gallagher, McNeill, Clark, Crerand, Rooney, McKay, Johnstone, Sean Fallon and trainer Bob Rooney