If You Know The History – 28th April 1965 Dunfermline 5 Celtic 1 League

On 24th April 1965, Celtic beat Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park in front of a crowd of 108,800 to win the trophy for the first time in eleven years and get the Parkhead managerial  career  of Jock Stein off to a perfect start.

Four days later, the teams met in the final league match of the season at East End Park, when the managers of both sides made changes from their cup final choices. Jock Stein put out an eleven of John Fallon, Tommy Gemmell, Willie O’Neill, John Clark, Billy McNeill, Jim Brogan, Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Murdoch, John Hughes, Hugh Maxwell and Bobby Lennox.

john clark

On paper, the selection looks a pretty strong one. On the evening of this day, though, in 1965, it received a real going-over by Dunfermline. John Clark unfortunately put the ball through his own net in 39 minutes; John Hughes equalised just on the half-time whistle; goals shortly after the interval by McLaughlin(2)  and Melrose put the Pars well ahead;  and then a striker called Alex Ferguson scored in 62 minutes to make it 5-1 for Dunfermline.

Only 10,000 were there to see the action and the score-line for Celtic could even have been worse, as the Pars missed a second-half penalty. However, even the 5-1 result lead to many a inquest about what the players had been up to in the four days following the Cup Final win?

If You Know The History – 24th April 1974 Atletico Madrid 2 Celtic 0 European Cup Semi-Final Second Leg

The first leg of this tie, held at Celtic Park on 10th April 1974, had turned into a brutal contest, the actions of the Atletico Madrid players quite inexcusable. Managed by Juan Carlos Lorenzo, himself notorious for his conduct, the visitors viciously kicked and maltreated the Celtic players, particularly Jimmy Johnstone, with the result that there was little football played and the match ended in the 0-0 draw Atletico had come for, even at the expense of three players sent off and seven booked.


On this day in 1974, the teams came out at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in front of a crowd of 64,000 for the second leg. Six Atletico players had been suspended for this match by UEFA but it seemed to make little difference to their form as it was a very competitive match. As the game progressed, however, the Spanish side appeared to become the stronger of the two and took the lead in 77 minutes when outside-left Becerra sent a simple cross into the middle and centre-forward Garate tapped the ball home from close range.

Nine minutes later, the tiring Celtic defence was caught out by a simple cross right down the middle and Gerate flicked it on to midfielder Adelardo who slammed his volley high into the net. 2-0 to Atletico Madrid on aggregate and a place in the European Cup final to face Bayern Munich. Disappointment for Celtic, the second time in three years that they had exited the European Cup at the semi-final stage.

If You Know The History – 20th April 1963 Celtic 2 Third Lanark 1 League

For Celtic Football Club, the season of 1962-63 was turning out to be one of those when the bad rather outweighed the good. The club had failed to qualify from their League Cup section; had lost in the final of the Glasgow Cup to Third Lanark; the first foray in the Fairs Cup had ended in the first round when they lost 2-4 to Valencia; and Celtic were lying in fourth place in the league table, some ten points behind leaders Rangers.

The good news was that Celtic had reached the final of the Scottish Cup, having comfortably disposed of Raith Rovers 5-2 at Ibrox in the semi-final. That match, however, was some weeks away, there were six matches left in the league campaign and on this day in 1963, the players of Third Lanark took the short journey over from Cathkin Park for the clubs second league meeting of the season, Thirds having won the first 2-0.

If things were not great for Celtic, they were worse for the Hi Hi. Off the field, the financial affairs of Third Lanark were in disarray, the subject of much discussion in the press and among the support, with the role of the directors – and particularly the Chairman – constantly under scrutiny. The very impressive side of the late 50s and early 60s had been broken up, with several players transferred to raise money to keep the club on an even keel. And, as usually happens in cases like that for clubs out-with the top rank, the players coming in are not as good as the ones who left.

Only 14,000 bothered to turn up for this match, when the Celtic side was Frank Haffey, Dunky McKay, Willie O’Neill, John McNamee, Billy McNeill, Billy Price, Steve Chalmers, Bobby Craig, John Divers, Bobby Murdoch and Frank Brogan.


Craig opened the scoring for Celtic in 25 minutes, Cunningham equalised for the visitors two minutes later and then Craig again, in the 35th minute, made it 2-1 for Celtic. And, in spite of a great deal of effort by both sides in the second half, that was also the score at the final whistle, keeping Celtic in fourth spot and Third Lanark 14th in the 18-team league.

NB Cathkin Park is still there, minus the stands and dressing rooms. The original terracings are still in situ although quite overgrown with grass, or more accurately, weeds. If you head up Cathcart Road towards Hampden, you will pass a road called Myrtle Park, then just beyond there, on the left side, there is a small group of houses and beside that, a staircase taking you up a hill. Go up the steps and once you reach the top, Cathkin is right in front of you.

If You Know The History – 16th April 1914 Celtic 4 Hibs 1 Scottish Cup Final Replay

Season 1913-14 was one of the ‘special’ seasons, when Celtic had the chance to do the ‘Double’ of League Championship/Scottish Cup. They had already won the league, not by reasons of their goal-scoring exploits – they had only scored 81 goals in 38 matches, an average of 2.1 goals per game- but more due to the parsimony of the defence, who allowed only 14 goals to be scored against the team, a quite remarkable performance. With Charlie Shaw in between the posts, 26 of the 38 matches were shut-outs!

The Cup run was not easy. Clyde in round one, a 0-0 draw followed by a 2-0 win, in front of great crowds of 46,000 (Shawfield) and 40,000 (Parkhead);  5-0 against Forfar away (6,000) in round two;  3-1 over Motherwell at Fir Park in the quarter-final (18,000); and a crowd of 50,000 turned up at Ibrox for the semi-final against Third Lanark, which Celtic won 2-0. Their opponents in the final would be Hibs, who had disposed of Morton, Rangers, Queen’s Park and St Mirren.


56,000 were at Ibrox for the big day and frankly, they left disappointed, as it became one of those matches where defences were too strong for forwards and neither side made any clear-cut chances. On this day in 1914, a Thursday evening, the replay got underway with the problem of the setting sun right into the faces of the Celtic players in the first half. It seemed to affect them for the first 20 minutes or so, then they apparently got used to it and the goals came, two from Jimmy McColl – the first a close-range flick, the second a fine shot from an acute angle – and one from John Browning.

Hibs pressed strongly from the re-start but never looked likely to penetrate Celtic’s rearguard. Browning scored another and then eventually Hibs did manage to pull one back 20 minutes from time but Celtic were always in control and picked up both their 9th Scottish Cup and 3rd League/Scottish Cup ‘double’. Celtic team; Shaw, McNair, Dodds, Young, Johnstone, McMaster, McAtee, Gallacher, McColl, McMenemy and Browning.


If You Know The History – 12th April 1972 Celtic 3 Kilmarnock 1 Scottish Cup Semi-final

On the day after this match, the report on the game in the Dundee Courier started a s follows;-

‘Celtic moved into another cup final, this time against either Rangers or Hibs at Hampden on 6th May, a lot more comfortably than even the 3-1 score would suggest.

When Celtic are in the form they showed at Hampden last night, very few teams can stand up to them. And when they do it is because they have someone special in their ranks.

And the ‘someone special’ Kilmarnock  had last night was goalkeeper Alistair Hunter. If it had not been for Hunter, Celtic could easily have doubled their score’.

The Celtic side on the night was Evan Williams, myself, Pat McCluskey, Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill, George Connelly, Jimmy Johnstone, Lou Macari, Dixie Deans, Tommy Callaghan and Bobby Lennox. And it was the ‘Wee Man’, Jimmy Johnstone, who hit top form, having a hand in all three goals, when Dixie Deans (2) and Lou Macari made the score-sheet to send the Hoops fans in the crowd of 48,398 home in the happiest of moods.


NB1 Alistair Hunter did have a wonderful match that night and all the Celtic players made a bee-line to him at the end of the game to offer our congratulations. On 24th January 1973, he was signed up for Celtic by Jock Stein and Ally went on to make 91 appearances for the club, with 43 shut-outs.

NB2 Celtic legend Patsy Gallagher had five sons, two of whom played professional football at the highest level. Willie, the eldest, an inside-forward, made 39 appearances for Celtic between 1938 and 1949 and was the father of Kevin Gallagher of Dundee United, Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers. Another son, Tommy, was a wing-half and a stalwart with Dundee for many years. He later moved into journalism and wrote the report with which I started the piece above.