The 1890s, the opening decade of Celtic’s existence had been most promising. The next one was equally impressive;-
Decade League Scottish Cup Glasgow Cup Charity Cup
1900s 6 3 5 3
Those league wins were consecutive, a record for Scottish football and one which lasted until the 1960s, when another Celtic side went one better.
By the time of Celtic’s first of the 6-in-a-row league wins, in 1904/05, 14 clubs were involved; when it came to the last, in 1909/10, that figure had risen to 18. The Scottish Cup wins came against Rangers in 1904 (3-2), Hearts in 1907 (3-0) and St Mirren in 1908 (5-1).
Glasgow Exhibition Trophy
During this decade, in 1902, Celtic also picked up the first of the club’s ‘one-of’ cup triumphs, the Glasgow Exhibition Trophy of 1902. This had originally been won by Rangers at the 2nd Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901, when Scotland’s eight leading teams had been invited to take part in the football competition. Celtic had beaten Hibs 1-0 in round one and Hearts 2-1 in the semi-final, thus going through to the final, where Rangers would be the opponents.
The match was played at Glasgow University’s Recreation Ground in Kelvingrove Park and Celtic took the lead in 15 minutes with a shot from John Campbell. Rangers equalized only a few minutes later but unfortunately, the game then became tousy and the atmosphere ugly. The Light Blues went 2-1 up after 15 minutes of the second half and, their confidence growing, added a third seven minutes from time to take the Glasgow Exhibition Trophy back to Ibrox, insuring it for the massive sum – in those days – of £100.
The following year, the Rangers ground was awarded the prestigious honour of hosting the Scotland versus England clash in the Home International Championship. Ibrox had only recently been overhauled but tragically, in the 51st minutes of the match, a section of the newly-built West Tribune Stand collapsed, causing the deaths of 25 spectators with over 500 injured.
Rangers immediately set up a special fund to aid the victims and as probably the most eye-catching event, organised a football tournament, the field comprising the league champions and runners-up in both Scotland and England, namely Rangers, Celtic, Sunderland and Everton.
Celtic beat Sunderland 5-1 at Celtic Park on 30th April 1902. Rangers needed a replay before overcoming Everton 3-2 again at Celtic Park on 3rd June 1902. Four days later, at Cathkin Park, the home of Third Lanark, the winning teams ran out in front of a crowd of 7,000 to contest the final.
Rangers were favourites but the match turned into the usual competitive encounter between these sides and at the end of 90 minutes they were deadlocked at 2-2. Two minutes from the end of extra-time, though, young Jimmy Quinn used the shoulders of team-mate Tommy McDermott to hoist himself into the air and head home a corner for the winner.
Some controversy broke out after the match. Apparently, Rangers had expected to get the trophy back at the end of the tournament and were not pleased when Celtic refused to do so. This argument refused to go away and was the source of some friction between the clubs for years afterwards.
1 Immediately after the Scottish Cup Final of 1904, when Celtic beat Rangers 3-2, Celtic set off for the club’s first tour of the Continent, playing matches in Vienna and Prague. While they were abroad, a fire broke out which destroyed the North Stand and most of Pavilion. The former, which had seating for 3,500, made of wood with a galvanized iron roof, was completely destroyed. The Pavilion, which was to the west of the North Stand, suffered damage which could be repaired while the Grant Stand, on the south side, although torched, was saved. To replace the North Stand, a covered enclosure was built, 300 feet in length, 36 feet deep and 40 feet high, terraced to accommodate a few thousand spectators. In later years, this was to become immortalized as ‘The Jungle’.
2 FIFA was founded in Paris on 21st May 1904. The countries involved were France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
3 Third Lanark won the Scottish League in 1903-04, the last time a team other than Celtic and Rangers would win the title until 1932.
4 Scotland’s 2-1 victory over England at Hampden Park on 7th April 1906 was the first time an attendance for an international had exceeded 100,000. (Official 102,471)
5 In total, during the six-in-a-row years of 1904-05 to 1909-10, the playing record for Celtic in league matches read;-
P W D L F A
192 136 33 23 444 153
6 In season 1906-07, the numbering of players’ shirts was suggested but the idea was rejected.
7 In the final of the Glasgow Cup in 1907, it took three games to decide the tie between Celtic and Rangers. The first match ended in a 2-2 draw; the first replay finished 0-0; and in the 2nd replay, Celtic beat Rangers 2-1 on 26th October 1907 in front of a crowd of 56,000.
8 Although Celtic won the League title in 1907-08, runners-up Falkirk became the first team to score more than 100 goals in a league season, eventually reaching a total of 102.
9 When the Celtic players ran out at Hampden on 17th April 1909 to contest the Scottish Cup final replay against Rangers, they were on the verge of winning the trophy for the third consecutive time. 60,000 were in the ground to see the action but by the end of the 90 minutes, the teams were locked on 1-1. After the final whistle, several players lingered on the pitch, obviously unsure about the prospect of extra-time. After some delay, they moved towards the pavilion but the crowd, feeling that they were to be deprived of further action, erupted in anger. This ire soon turned into a rampant display of hooliganism, when parts of the stadium were set on fire and fights broke out. Police and firemen were injured, while the stadium itself was badly damaged.
The football authorities were not amused. The SFA abandoned the tie and contributed £500 to Queen’s Park for damage to their ground; both clubs were ordered to pay £150 to Queen’s Park; and extra-time was advised in future Old Firm finals. That would not be an immediate problem, as the next one would not occur until 1928.
10 In season 1909-10, Scottish goalkeepers were told to wear a different coloured jersey from the rest of the players
Special Non-Football Moments During the decade of the 1900s;
1901 First Picasso exhibition in Paris
1902 The first Cadillac is produced
1903 A new bicycle race is announced – the Tour de France
The Wright Brothers make their first flight in North Carolina
1904 In the USA, the ‘Daily Illustrated Mirror’ prints the first-ever colour photos in a newspaper.
1905 Albert Einstein proposes his ‘Theory of Relativity’.
1906 Eruption of Vesuvius in Italy kills hundreds
San Francisco earthquake; 500 dead
1907 On 6th July, in London, Tom Reece finishes a billiards break of 499,135. He had begun the break on 3rd June
1908 Child Emperor Pu Yi ascends the Chinese throne at the age of 2
1910 Louis Bleriot make the first flight across the English Channel.