This match might seem an unusual choice for a series that has the achievements of Celtic Football Club at its core but one Celtic player had an outstanding performance in the game and might – and I repeat might – have sparked off a Scottish tradition.
In the Home International Championship of 1932-33, Scotland had opened with a convincing 4-0 win over Northern Ireland in Belfast but then were then thrashed 5-2 by Wales, the match being played at Tynecastle. So, that just left the clash against the English, which was played on this day at Hampden in 1933, a record crowd (for the time) of 134,710 packing in to see the action.
Three Celts were in the Scotland line-up, Peter McGonagle at left-back, Peter Wilson at right-half and Jimmy McGrory at centre-forward; while the centre-half and captain was Bob Gillespie of Queen’s Park, the last time an amateur would lead out a Scottish side. McGrory got off to the best possible start in five minutes, throwing himself at a cross from winger ‘Dally’ Duncan of Derby County to power the ball with his head into the net.
England equalised through centre-forward Hunt and for the rest of the first half and most of the second, were the more promising side, although the goals just failed to come. Then, with only eight minutes left, came one of the most memorable moments in Scottish international football. Jimmy McGrory took a pass from inside-forward Bob McPhail of Rangers, rounded full-back Cooper and blasted the winner past the advancing goalkeeper Harry Hibbs.
The response from the crowd was extraordinary. As McGrory and McPhail celebrated in the penalty area, the crowd all round them roared its appreciation. It must have been an exceptional noise, as every paper that night and the following few days mentioned it, the sound quickly becoming known as the ‘Hampden Roar’.