In season 1929/30, Celtic had finished 4th in the league, 11 points behind Rangers, with a record of P38, W22, D5, L11, F88, A46, Pts49. From these figures it is easy to work out where Celtic’s Achilles Heel lay. 46 goals is a lot to lose in 38 Matches; by contrast, champions Rangers lost 32.
To say the team was inconsistent in its form is putting it mildly. Certainly, the loss of John Thomson for 9 matches did not help, the keeper – in a game against Aberdeen – breaking his collar-bone, his lower jaw, one rib and two teeth. However, constant changes in other areas, like 6 right-backs (Geatons, McCallum, Hughes, Barrie, Wilson and Cook) or 4 outside-lefts ( Kavanagh, Napier, Connolly, Hughes) did not help either.
The one certainty was Jimmy McGrory’s goal touch. Although missing 10 matches, he scored 33 goals, including 5 hat-tricks. Celtic’s ‘bogey’ teams were Aberdeen, Motherwell and Rangers, all three of which they lost to twice.
On this day in 1930, there was better news for the Celtic support. After having beaten Inverness Caledonian 6-0 away from home in the first round of the Scottish Cup, their heroes ran out at Parkhead to face Arbroath in round two. A crowd of 6,500 had turned up and got their moneys worth as Celtic scored five, two from McGrory, one each from the two Thomsons, Bert and Alec, with Peter Scarff also getting his name on the score sheet.
NB Unfortunately, only two weeks later, in a round three clash with St Mirren at Celtic Park, an encounter which attracted a crowd of 32,000, Celtic lost 3-1.
NB2 The perception among many fans is that the period from seasons 1920/21 to 1929/30 was some kind of Golden Age. The stats would suggest otherwise. As usual the two major Glasgow sides dominated the two national competitions – the Scottish League and Scottish Cup – plus those two important local ones, the Glasgow and Charity Cups; and if we compare the success rate of the two teams, it works out as follows;
League 2 8
Scottish Cup 3 2
Glasgow Cup 4 5
Charity Cup 3 6