On this day in 1963, a crowd of 129,527 had packed into Hampden to watch the Scottish Cup Final. It was a large crowd but then, it was a most unusual occasion, the first time that Celtic and Rangers had met at that stage of the competition since 1928.
Considering that, between 1928 and 1963, Rangers had won the Scottish Cup 12 times and Celtic on five occasions, it does seem remarkable that the two teams had never met at the final stage. However, while such details might have been of interest to football statisticians, the dedicated supporter of both sides was just desperate for a win to put one over the old enemy.
The teams on the day were;-
Celtic – Haffey, McKay, Kennedy, McNamee, McNeill, Price, Johnstone, Murdoch, Hughes, Divers, Brogan.
Rangers – Ritchie, Shearer, Provan, Greig, McKinnon, Baxter, Henderson, McLean, Miller, Brand, Wilson.
On a rainy and windy afternoon, both teams gave their all but what most supporters later remembered about the match was the performance of Frank Haffey in Celtic’s goal. Time and again he thwarted the Rangers forwards, his second half diversion of a fierce shot by Ralph Brand possibly the best of the many he made.
Both goals came just before the interval, Brand for Rangers in the 43rd minute and Bobby Murdoch for Celtic just on the half-time whistle. However, while the game finished in a draw, most reports in the press suggested that Rangers were the better-moving side and might be a good bet for the replay 10 days hence.
NB The ‘Brogan’ at outside-left for Celtic was Frank Brogan, the older brother of Jim, who was also at Celtic Park at this time. Frank was at Celtic Park from 1960 to 1964, scoring 17 goals in 48 appearances. One of the goals put him into the Celtic history books, Frank scoring the club’s 5000th league goal.