In the first full season after the 2nd World War – that of 1946/47 – a new trophy was put up for competition by the Scottish League. The Scottish League Cup was open to all clubs in Divisions One and Two and these sides were drawn into sections of four, from where the winner progressed through to a two-legged quarter-final, then semi-final and final.
For the remaining seasons of the decade of the 1940s – 46/47, 47/48, 48/49 and 49/50 – Celtic failed to qualify each year from their section. Matters were slightly better in the first few years of the 1950s, with Celtic reaching the quarter-final stage in 50/51 and the semi-finals in 51/52. After that, though, they disappointed their fans again in seasons 52/53, 53/54, 54/55 and 55/56, each time failing to get through their section.
With that record, it would have come as no surprise that the Celtic support was not particularly enamoured with this particular trophy and had little enthusiasm for the tournament as it got underway again at the start of season 1956/57. Much to everyone’s surprise, though, Celtic reached the final. They overcame Aberdeen, East Fife and Rangers in their section, comfortably disposed of Dunfermline 6-3 in the quarter-final, then beat Clyde 2-0 in the semi-final to reach the final, where they would meet Partick Thistle.
On 27th October 1956, a crowd of 56,794 at Hampden saw Celtic give a poor performance, even when the Jags had to play the whole of extra-time with only 10 men due to injury. In fact, if keeper Dick Beattie had not pulled off two wonderful saves, the afternoon could have been a most embarrassing one for Celtic.
On the evening of this day in 1956, 31,156 were present for the replay, when the Celtic side was Beattie, Haughney, Fallon, Evans, Jack, Peacock, Tully, Collins, B McPhail, Fernie and Mochan. This time Celtic did rise to the challenge and won convincingly. New signing Billy McPhail from Clyde hooked the ball over Thistle’s goalkeeper Ledgerwood for the first in 49 minutes….
…then, three minutes later, good work by Neilly Mochan out on the left allowed him to square the ball for McPhail to get his second; and in 61 minutes, a pass from Bobby Evans let Bobby Collins race through the Jags defence to send a low shot out of Ledgerwood’s reach. 3-0 to Celtic and the League Cup went back to Celtic Park for the first time.
NB Centre-half John Jack – born Jonas Kaduskeviechi – joined Celtic from junior club Stonehouse Violet in 1950 and made 68 appearances over the following 9 years before leaving for Morton.