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  • Forrest to the fore in fantastic four-goal feasts

    Forrest to the fore in fantastic four-goal feasts

    By: Joe Sullivan on 08 Oct, 2018 11:52

  • JAMES Forrest’s first-half four-goal haul in Sunday’s 6-0 win over St Johnstone was a timely reminder that these goals bursts don’t happen very often.

    Indeed, it’s the first time in 62 years that a Celtic player has scored four goals in the first-half of a match, with John Higgins the last to do so in 1956.

    Here we take a look at some other four-goal scoring achievements from Celtic’s history down through the decades.


    Clyde (H) Scottish Cup round five

    December 8, 1888

    Willie Groves

    The first recorded instance of a Celt netting four goals in one game was in the club’s very first season as the Bhoys took part in the Scottish Cup of 1888/89. The Celts kicked off with a 5-1 win over Shettleston, but the scorers from that game weren’t recorded for posterity. In the next round, an 8-0 win over Cowlairs saw Mick Dunbar become the first Celt to net a hat-trick in a competitive game. It was two games later, though, against Clyde at Celtic Park that Willie Groves battered in four in a 9-2 win in front of 8,000 fans with Tom Maley netting a hat-trick and the other goals coming from Jimmy McLaren and Neilly McCallum. With 10 goals scored in Celtic’s eight Scottish Cup games that term, Groves was the club’s first ever top scorer for a season.


    Abercorn (A)

    October 25, 1890

    Peter Dowds

    Celtic had recorded wins of 5-0 (Hearts) and 5-2 (Cambuslang) in their first ever league games before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Third Lanark. However, in their next game, they were back on the fives on a trip to Paisley to take on Abercorn and it was Peter Dowds to the fore with the first ever four-goal spree for a Celtic player in the league. Dowds took the honours in the game with Paddy Gallagher netting the other in a 5-0 win for the Celts. Dowds was the club’s first top scorer in the league with 15 goals in the 18 games played and he also notched two in the Scottish Cup that term to take his tally to 17.


    Various teams

    April 1, 1925 – December 19, 1931

    Jimmy McGrory

    Jimmy McGrory, of course, was no stranger to hat-tricks and he also scored FIVE goals on four occasions as well as his famous EIGHT against Dunfermline on January 14, 1928. Limiting him to four-goal hauls, however, Celtic’s top striker managed that on no fewer than 12 occasions. The first coming in a 6-1 home win over Falkirk on April Fools’ Day, 1925 and the last arriving in a 6-0 home league win over Leith Athletic in the last game before Christmas, 1931. The calendar year of 1931 was also his best for four-goal games with four of them that year – but spare a thought for Cowdenbeath who lost 6-0 and 7-0 to Celtic that year with McGrory scoring four each time.


    Airdrie (A) league

    December 22, 1956

    John Higgins

    James Forrest, of course, fired in his four goals against St Johnstone in the first half and that hasn’t been achieved by a Celt for an amazing 62 years since John Higgins managed it in league game against Airdrie at Broomfield in 1956. And it’s just as well he did as the home side scored three times in the first-half and it seemed that every time they scored, Higgins would equalize – or, even better, put the Hoops ahead. The score at half-time was Airdrie 3 John Higgins 4. After the break, a Vince Ryan goal and a double from Willie Fernie, all three goals coming in a six-minute period, gave Celtic a 7-3 win in a 10-goal thriller.


    Partizan Belgrade (H) European Cup-Winners’ Cup

    September 27, 1989

    Dariusz Dziekanowski

    This one wrote itself into the annals of the club when the Celts, 2-1 down to Partizan from the first leg, tore into the visitors from the off, and it was Polish striker Jacki Dziekanowski who was to the fore in an astounding European tie – but it was the away side who scored first. It was 1-1 at half-time thanks to the Pole’s goal and he hit a second-half hat-trick with Andy Walker also scoring, but Partizan were no slouches in front of goal either. With nine minutes of the game left, Celtic were leading 5-3 and ahead 6-5 on aggregate. However, with just two minutes remaining, Partizan scored again and the 6-6 aggregate score saw them go through on away goals – so Dziekanowski scored four goals and still lost out.


    Dunfermline (A) league

    February 19, 2006

    Maciej Zurawski

    He was known by the fans as ‘Magic’, and Maciej Zurawski conjured up a foursome on this league trip to Dunfermline 12 years ago and, prior to James Forrest at the weekend, that was the last time a Celt scored four goals in an away match. It was 2-1 to the Celts when the Pole started his goal haul and, thanks to him, it was 4-1 at half-time, and by the time he netted his fourth in the 88th minute, it was 8-1 to the Celts as well. Amazingly, he had to share the headlines, though, as Neill Lennon scored one of his rare goals that day, and what a goal it was.


    Hearts (H) league

    May 13, 2012

    Gary Hooper

    Cheating here, slightly, as Gary Hooper knocked in FIVE goals in this 5-0 win over Hearts on the day the Celts were presented with the SPL trophy for what would become the first of the current seven-in-a-row. It was, however, technically that last time a Celt scored four times in Paradise. The English striker netted a first-half hat-trick and made it 4-0 in the 66th minute. With just three minutes left on the clock, Hooper hit his fifth and paved the way for a memorable trophy presentation.

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