Celtic fans tend to look back on the decade of the 1920s with some fondness, assuming that, with players like Patsy Gallacher and Jimmy McGrory in the side, it must have been something of a golden age.
Unfortunately, matters did not work out like that. In fact, if we look at the success record of the two major Glasgow clubs during the first seven seasons of the decade, we can see how close the figures were. I have included the Glasgow Cup and Charity Cup on the list as, in the absence of European competition, they were quite important trophies at the period;-
Season League Scottish Cup Glasgow Cup Charity Cup
1920-21 Rangers Celtic Celtic
1921-22 Celtic Rangers Rangers
1922-23 Rangers Celtic Rangers Rangers
1923-24 Rangers Rangers Celtic
1924-25 Rangers Celtic Rangers Rangers
1925-26 Celtic Celtic
1926-27 Rangers Celtic Celtic
Rangers had not won the Scottish Cup since 1903 and as the initial rounds of the 1927-28 competition started, their fans in particular were desperate for their team to win the trophy. And both halves of the Old Firm got off to good starts. Celtic beat Bathgate 3-0 at home in round one ( 3,000 present); thrashed Keith up in the Highlands (6-1) in round two (5,800) ; found Alloa a tougher proposition in round three at Parkhead (2-0; 7,000); and knocked out Motherwell by the same score in the quarter-final at Fir Park (23,000).
These results put Celtic into the semi-final, held at Ibrox on this day in 1928, when a good crowd of 54,000 turned up. Celtic were at full strength – J Thomson, W McStay, McGonagle, Wilson, J McStay, McFarlane, Connolly, A Thomson, McGrory, Doyle and Mclean – and took control from the start, scoring two goals in the first half through Jimmy McGrory and Adam McLean. The Spiders did pull one back in the second half but, in truth, Celtic were always comfortable and went through 2-1.
PHOTO WILLIE MCSTAY
In the other semi-final at Tynecastle, Rangers beat Hibs 3-0, so the stage was set for another Old Firm final……and what a surprise result came up in that match!