The season of 1910-11 had been a poor one in the league by Celtic’s standards, the club finishing 5th in the table, 9 points behind Rangers, with Aberdeen 2nd , Falkirk 3rd and Partick Thistle 4th. There had also been a loss to Rangers in the final of the Glasgow Cup, held in October 1910, so the two competitions in which Celtic was still participating, the Scottish and Charity Cups, now were of crucial importance.
In the Scottish Cup, Celtic made steady progress, beating St Mirren ( 2-0 ; 15,000) in round one; Galston ( 1-0 ; 5,000) in round two; Clyde ( 1-0 ; 5,000) in the quarter-final; and Aberdeen (1-0 ; 48,000) in the semi-final, all these matches being played at Celtic Park. Neutral grounds for semi-finals did not come in till season 1911-12.
Celtic’s opponents in the final would be Hamilton, whose presence at that stage surprised more than a few in Scottish football, as they had finished third bottom of the table in the league. However, they were certainly in the final on merit, as they had knocked out Third Lanark ( 1-0 ), Johnstone ( 3-1 after a replay), Motherwell (2-1 ) and Dundee ( 3-2) on their way to the final stage.
The final was played on this day in 1911, when Willie Maley put out an eleven of Adams, McNair, Dodds, Young, MacAteer, Hay, Kivlichan, McMenemy, Quinn, Hastie and Hamilton. On paper, it might have looked a strong side but on the afternoon, they gave a below-par performance, which was a real disappointment to the Celtic fans making up the majority of the crowd of 45,000 at Ibrox. Fortunately, Hamilton lacked the quality necessary to take advantage of the Celtic’s poor form and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
For the replay, at Ibrox seven days later, an exasperated Willie Maley re-shuffled his team, moving Jim Hay to fullback and bringing Joe Dodds forward to wing-half, switching Willie Kivlichan to inside-left at the expense of John Hastie and putting in Andy MacAtee at outside-right. Conditions for the replay could not have been worse, heavy wind and rain making for a very slippery pitch. Celtic had the elements against them in the first half but the defence held out and the teams went in at half-time on level terms.
After the break, with the wind now behind them, Celtic took control, even though the forwards, with the exception of Willie Kivlichan, were not at their best. However, with the defence again coping with the occasional foray forward by Hamilton, Celtic’s pressure eventually told, goals by Jimmy Quinn and Andy MacAtee giving Celtic a 2-0 win.
NB Unfortunately, after a good 5-2 win over Third Lanark in the semi-final of the Charity Cup, Celtic lost 1-2 to Rangers in the final