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.
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.