In season 1899-1900, Celtic’s league form was inconsistent, although the team did eventually finish second to Rangers. However, a comparison of the respective stats shows Celtic’s weaknesses quite clearly;-
P W D L F A Pts
Rangers 18 15 2 1 69 27 32
Celtic 18 9 7 2 46 27 25
Obviously, the defence was doing its job but not enough goals were being scored.
Ironically, in the opening rounds of the Scottish Cup, the goals rained in. Celtic rattled 7 in against Bo’ness in round one and then 5 against Port Glasgow Athletic in round two. On this day in 1900, a crowd of around 8,000 was at Celtic Park for the visit of Kilmarnock in round three. In the two meetings between the sides in the league campaign, there had been two draws, 3-3 (Rugby Park) and 2-2 (Parkhead) but on this occasion, Celtic took control of the play and scored four times without replay, the goals coming from John Bell, John Divers, Sandy MacMahon and Pat Gilhooley.
Team of the period. John Divers is seated left in the front row, with Sandy MacMahon in the centre of the front row.
NB The final few years leading up to the 20th century were not particularly good ones for Celtic Football Club. Eventually, a string of poor performances sparked an outburst from chairman J. H. McLaughlin, who declared that it was ‘enough to make the directors inclined to clear the whole crowd of players out if they could get an entirely fresh lot to represent the green-and-white’. (Glasgow Examiner 23rd December 1899)