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  • 1892 Scottish Cup triumph ... the first of 105 trophies for Celtic

    1892 Scottish Cup triumph ... the first of 105 trophies for Celtic

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 09 Apr, 2019 12:01

  • CELTIC’S total of major domestic honours currently stands at an impressive 105 after capturing the League Cup this season – and the Hoops are also hoping to add the league and the Scottish Cup to that tally this season.

    Today, April 9, marks the 127th anniversary of Celtic’s first major trophy, winning the Scottish Cup in only the fourth year of the club’s existence with a 5-1 replay victory over Queen’s Park.

    Back in 1892, the Scottish Cup was the country's most prestigious competition, far outweighing the fledgling championship in terms of importance and the new club's already faithful following craved success.

    The first Brake Clubs (forerunners of supporters’ clubs) had already been formed and, while the Irish immigrants following Celtic were still considered to be second-class citizens by many of the indigenous Scottish population, there was a growing respect for their team.

    The faithfulness of the support wasn't going unnoticed either. A correspondent for the Scottish Referee, in September 1891, felt compelled to remark: 'The Celtic are blessed with a following that simply defy the elements, whose enthusiasm for their club is never lukewarm.'

    These supporters had already tasted defeat in a Scottish Cup final when, in 1889, their team fell victim to a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Third Lanark.

    But, in a season when they had already won both the Glasgow Cup by beating Clyde and the Charity Cup by turning over Rangers, confidence was high within the Celtic squad that there would be no repeat of that heartache.

    Nevertheless, standing in Celtic's way were Queen's Park, the established and undisputed force in Scottish football at the time. This was also a time of transition for Celtic who, earlier in the year, had parted company with Brother Walfrid, one of the most influential figures in their early years.

    They had also quit the site of their original stadium and moved across Janefield Street to set up home where Celtic Park stands today. However, having disposed of Partick Thistle 8-0 in the quarter-finals and Rangers 5-3 in a thrilling semi-final, there was widespread optimism that the cup would soon be arriving at their new ground.

    The Scottish Sport set the scene, hailing the Spiders as 'the premier club in Scotland' and describing Celtic as 'the best combination of Irishmen that has ever been raised in Scotland, knitted together by an unquenchable desire to do honour to the Emerald Isle.'

    The two were originally scheduled to do battle on March 12 and, despite an overnight snowstorm, thousands upon thousands of Celts headed for Ibrox to see their heroes contest the cup. So great was the interest in fact that mounted police were unable to control the unprecedented number of people desperate to gain entry.

    Before long, the Ibrox gates were breached and, with the crowd far exceeding the stadium's 36,000 capacity, there were pitch invasions before, during and after the match.

    Celtic won 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal scored by Johnny Campbell on the hour mark and, since the trophy was traditionally presented inside the pavilion, most of the 40,000 spectators left Ibrox assuming that the Bhoys had won the cup. However, Celtic united with Queen's Park to make a joint protest insisting the match be replayed, a move which was upheld by the SFA.

    A Scottish Sport correspondent summed up the mood at the time, describing the now null and void match as: 'the most remarkable event that has ever happened in the history of the Association game'.  

    The final was duly rescheduled for April 9 and, as a means of controlling crowd numbers - without harming profits - the admission price was doubled to two shillings (10 pence).

    Sure enough a smaller crowd of 23,000 turned up and saw Queen's Park, with a strong wind at their backs, take a 1-0 lead into the break. However, with James Kelly outstanding at centre-half, Celtic came storming back in the second half, taking a firm grip on proceedings.

    The Spiders couldn't stem the tide and, six minutes after the restart, the equaliser arrived when Sandy McMahon netted a spectacular overhead shot. McMahon, rated as Celtic's most outstanding player of that era, had earned the title 'Prince of Dribblers', and he would go on to become the star as Celtic went about securing the trophy.

    Not long after scoring the first, he set up left-wing partner Johnny Campbell to fire home the second and send the crowd into delirium. McMahon would go on to seal the match in Celtic's favour with a brilliant individual goal that saw him ghost past several defenders before converting.

    Two further strikes would be added, one from McMahon to complete his hat-trick and the other a deflected free-kick from James Kelly.

    Celtic's victory had been as emphatic as it was significant but this was not reflected in the press of the time, betraying a wider unease at the emergence of this new force. The Scottish Referee, for example, sniffed at: '... pretty much a Phyrric victory. The Queens had but a skeleton team...'

    Nevertheless, that mattered not to Scotland's Irish community. They rejoiced, bands paraded and many a drink was had as Celtic - and the club's first major success - were celebrated. And, just for the record, the Bhoys finished top of the Scottish League for the first time the following season - edging out Rangers by one point!

    1892 Scottish Cup-winning Celtic team: Cullen, Reynolds, Doyle, W Maley, Kelly, Gallagher, McCallum, Brady, Dowds, McMahon, Campbell.

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