On this day in 1901, Celtic and Rangers met in the final of the Glasgow Charity Cup.
It had been a poor season for Celtic. They had finished second in the league campaign, 6 points behind Rangers, with 20 games played; and they had also lost to the Light Blues in the first round of the Glasgow Cup. In the first round of the Scottish Cup, though, when the main Glasgow rivals met at Celtic Park, an excellent crowd of 28,000 was present to see the Bhoys win by a single goal, the work of the speedy Willie McOustra.
That set the Celts off on a good Cup run, during which they disposed of Kilmarnock in round two, Dundee in the quarter-final and St Mirren in the semi-final. Unfortunately, in the final at Ibrox, with only 16,000 present, the normally reliable keeper Dan McArthur chose to have an off day, a rare event which Hearts took full advantage of to win 4-3, taking the Scottish Cup back to Tynecastle for the third time.
That just left the Charity Cup final mentioned above, a game played on the pitch for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901, situated just to the west of the main tower of Glasgow University. Both teams were at full strength and as the ground capacity was relatively small, the atmosphere would have been electric.
At the end of 90 minutes, though, no goals had been scored, so a replay was ordered, played on the following night at the same venue. This time there was a goal to decide the tie but, to the sorrow of the Celtic fans, it was Rangers who got it and they went forward to meet – and lose to – Third Lanark in the final.
The Celtic support would have been quite happy about that but they were more disappointed with the performance of their own side over the season. A lack of success was something they were not used to; in fact, this was the first season in Celtic’s history that the club did not have a trophy to show for their efforts.