What Was On This Day? 29th March 1947 Kilmarnock 1 Celtic 2 League

This season of 1946/47 was the first official league season after World War Two and as April’s Fools Day approached, Celtic were lying 7th in the table – behind Rangers, Hibs, Aberdeen, Hearts, Partick Thistle and Morton – with a record of P26, W11, D10, F48 and A50.

When a team is losing more goals than it is scoring it never makes for an easy time and this was also reflected in the two major cup competitions. Celtic failed to qualify from their League Cup section comprising Hibs, Hamilton and Third Lanark; and went out of the Scottish Cup to Dundee of B Division at Dens Park, losing 1-2.

On this day in 1947, a Celtic side ran out at Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock in the club’s fourth last league match of the season. The team was Willie Miller, Bobby Hogg, Jimmy Mallan, Rab Quinn, Willie Corbett, Roy Milne, Frank Quinn, Gerry MacAloon, Tommy Kiernan, Bobby Evans and George Hazlett.

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Kilmarnock were in second bottom place in the table and heading for relegation but they competed well that afternoon. Still, Celtic made more chances and took two of them, through Tommy Kiernan in four minutes and Gerry MacAloon halfway through the first half. The Ayrshire side did pull one back in the second period but at the end, the two points went to Celtic to maintain their position in the table with Kilmarncok edging ever closer to Division B.

PS Celtic also lost out in the final of the Charity Cup, going down 0-1 to Rangers; while in the Glasgow Cup, they were beaten 0-2 by Clyde in round one. However, two friendlies turned out to be more successful, Celtic beating Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park and Leeds United 3-1 at Elland Road.

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What Was On This Day? 26th March 1927 Celtic 1 Falkirk 0 Scottish Cup Semi-final

Celtic had won the Scottish Cup in 1923 and 1925; now, in season1926-27, they were having another good run. They had beaten Queen of the South 4-1 after a replay in Round One; Brechin City 6-3 in Round Two; Dundee 4-2 in Round Three; and Bo’ness 5-2 in the quarter-finals. The semi-final draw paired them with Falkirk, the match was played on this day in 1927 and a crowd of 73,000 had gathered at Ibrox to witness the occasion.

The Celtic side was J Thomson, W McStay, Hilley, Wilson, J McStay, McFarlane, Connelly, A Thomson, McGrory, McInally and McLean. Willie Maley would have been a little apprehensive before the match as, frankly, his defence had been leaking too many goals in the earlier rounds. However, on that afternoon, the whole team played much better.

That is not to say that Falkirk did not rise to the challenge. They did and their defence, in particular, made life difficult for Celtic. But the forwards, controlled and urged on by the great ex-Celt Patsy Gallacher, just could not make the breakthrough and in the end, a single goal by outside-left Adam McLean put Celtic into the final.

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ADAM MCLEAN

PS This season of 1926-27 was the one during which a new Celtic star became a regular in the side. After Charlie vacated the goalkeeping position in October 1925, Peter Shevlin came in and took over. He lasted until February 1927, when John Thomson replaced him, making the first of his 188 appearances at Dens Park

What Was On This Day? 18th March 1905 Scotland 4 Ireland 0 Home International Championship

After a few  trophy-less years at the start of the 20th century, Willie Maley put together a very fine side which won the Scottish Cup in 1904 and the League title in 1905. Naturally, fine players catch the eye of international selectors and this happened to a few of the Celtic lads from the side of these years.

The only internationals played at that time were against the other sides in the British Isles, the so-called Home International Championship. In season 1904-05, Scotland’s first match had been against Wales at Wrexham, where the visitors had received a 1-3 drubbing. This had prompted the selection committee to make some changes for the second match in the tournament, which was played against the Irish at Celtic Park on this day in 1905, when 35,000 gathered for the occasion.

A number of new names were brought in for their first international, including 5 Celts. The full side was Howden ( Partick Thistle), McLeod (Celtic), McIntosh (Partick Thistle), Gibson ( Partick Thistle), Thomson (Hearts), Hay (Celtic), McMenemy (Celtic), Walker (Hearts), Quinn (Celtic), Somers (Celtic) and Wilson (Hearts).

QUINN

QUINN

Charlie Thomson of Hearts opened the scoring for Scotland in 14 minutes, with Bobby Walker of Hearts getting a second before the interval. After the break, Jimmy Quinn got a third in 50 minutes and Charlie Thomson netted again ten minutes later, giving Scotland a comfortable 4-0 victory.

PS With only three internationals played each year at that time, players did not rack up a great tally of ‘caps’. Over their careers, for instance, Donny MacLeod got 4, Jim Hay 11, Jimmy McMenemy 12, Jimmy Quinn 11 and Peter Somers 4.

What Was On This Day? 22nd March 1972 Celtic 1 Ujpest Dosza 1 European Cup Quarter-final 2nd Leg

After having knocked out BK 1903 Copenhagen in Round One of the European Cup in season 1917-72 and Sliema Wanderers in Round Two, Celtic were drawn against Ujpest Dosza of Hungary in the quarter-finals.

The first leg was away and a youngish side gave an excellent performance, coming home with a 2-1 lead. The return was played on this day in 1972 and the side that night was Williams, McGrain, Brogan, Murdoch, McNeill, Connelly, Hood, Hay, Dalglish, Macari and Lennox. It had been assumed that the Magyar side had under-performed in the first leg and they certainly looked the part in the opening half of the return, taking the lead in 5 minutes and giving Celtic a very difficult time.

No doubt some choice words were uttered by the manager at the break and it was definitely a more focused Celtic who took to the field for the second half and took the game to the Hungarians. However, it was still pretty even, although the equaliser by Lou Macari in the 64th minute helped to defray the nerves of the Celtic support in the crowd of 75,000.

MACARI

LOU MACARI

Ujpest should have perhaps scored another eleven minutes from time when Bene was put through he shot beyond the far post and at the final whistle, it was Celtic who went through 3-2 on aggregate.

PS Only three days later, at Firhill against Partick Thistle, Danny McGrain fractured his skull in a collision with Doug Sumner

What Was On This Day? 14th March 1936 Celtic 5 Motherwell 0 League

On this day, in 1936, at Celtic Park, eleven players wearing the green-and-white hoops of  Celtic came down the tunnel and on to the pitch to face Motherwell in a league match. Their names were Kennaway, Hogg, Morrison, Geatons, Lyon, Paterson, Delaney, Buchan, McGrory, Crum and Murphy.

The match was not expected to be a pushover for Celtic. The Steelmen were lying in 4th place in the league table, although there was a considerable difference in points between the two; and in their first league meeting of the season, Celtic had managed a narrow 2-1 victory at Fir Park.

This time round, though, in spite of comments in the press that Motherwell would be up for the challenge, it turned out to be very different, as Celtic won 5-0, the goals coming from Jimmy Delaney, Willie Buchan and Jimmy McGrory, who scored three.

MCGRORY

MCGRORY

Now, a hat-trick is a special event no matter the occasion or the standard of football but this one was extra-special, as the three goals were scored within three minutes. Not that anything about McGrory should have surprised the Celtic support by that time. When he eventually retired in the autumn of 1937, he has scored an astonishing 54 hat-tricks if we include Glasgow and Charity Cup ties!.

PS The term ‘hat-trick’ originally came from the game of cricket in Victorian times, when an amateur player – one not allowed to receive money for participating – would be given a new hat if he took three wickets.