As the very successful decade of the 1900s drew to a close and a number of senior players left the club for one reason or another, Celtic fans were a little apprehensive about what the future would hold. In the event, they were worrying for little reason, as Celtic continued to be the dominant side in the country, with this impressive record; don’t forget that, because of the First World War, the Scottish Cup was suspended from season 1914-15 to season 1918-19.
Decade League Scottish Cup Glasgow Cup Charity Cup
1910s 5 3 3 8
Throughout the three decades just covered, although the names of teams like Dumbarton, Queen’s Park, Renton, St Bernard’s, Hearts, Hibs and Third Lanark got an occasional appearance on the list of winners of either the Scottish League trophy or the Scottish Cup, there can little doubt that the two Glasgow giants tended to dominate the scene, particularly when the 20th century arrived. Over those 30 years, if we confine our details to those two major trophies, then the record of those two sides is as follows;
Celtic 24 Rangers 14
During this decade from 1910 to 1919, some special tournaments were organised, the proceeds of which were designed to be used for charitable purposes. The first of these took place in the latter days of 1914;-
War Fund Shield
Celtic‘s participation in this competition for wartime charities connected with the welfare of servicemen began on 10th November 1914 at Firhill against Partick Thistle. Andy MacAtee opened the scoring for Celtic but Thistle fought back before a crowd of 5,000 to snatch an equaliser and gain a replay, held on 1st December at Celtic Park. A bitter crosswind kept the crowd down to 2,000 and rather affected Celtic’s passing play. After the interval, though, Jimmy McColl opened the scoring, Andy MacAtee got a second and although the Jags did pull one back, the two goals were enough to take Celtic through to the semi-final, back at Firhill on 14th December 1914 but this time to face Rangers.
The first half saw play swing from end to end. Celtic opened the scoring from a penalty in 14 minutes but Rangers equalized just before the break. After the interval, though, all Celtic’s attacks seemed to founder on a very strong Rangers rear guard and it was the Light Blues who got the crucial goal, the 2-1 win just enough to take them through to the final, where they lost 1-2 to a strong Morton side.
Navy and Army War Fund Shield
The Navy and Army War Fund Shield had been devised to boost the funds of a charity set up to bring financial relief to Scottish League players in the services and their dependents.
Celtic were dawn against Queen’s Park in the first round and overcame their old rivals by 2 goals to one on 20th April 1918, with 12,000 watching. One week later, only 8,000 were present for the semi-final, when Celtic beat league newcomers Clydebank 2-0.
For the final at Hampden on 4th May, the weather was terrible but a crowd of 20,000 turned up to see Celtic take on Morton, victors over Rangers in the other semi-final. The Greenock side were strongly fancied but a single goal – scored by Patsy Gallacher- gave Celtic victory and their fans went home in happy mood. In those days, of course, the presentation of trophies took place in the Boardroom and the Celtic party would have gathered there in expectation. Unfortunately, no trophy was ready to be handed over; it was explained that the silverware, gifted anonymously, was not quite ready. In fact, no trophy was ever produced and as the war ended some six months later, a competition which was supposed to be an annual event was never held again.
The Victory Cup
The Victory Cup, organised by the Scottish League, was devised to commemorate the Allied victory in the First World War.
At Parkhead, in the first round, Celtic comfortably dealt with Vale of Leven on 1st March 1919, winning 2-0 in front of a crowd of 12,000, the goals coming from Andy MacAtee and Joe Cassidy.
In round two at the same venue, on 15th March 1919, Albion Rovers put on a good show before going down 1-3 to Celtic, whose goals came from MacAtee, Jimmy McColl and Patsy Gallacher. A good crowd of 25,000 was there to watch.
In the semi-final, Celtic were drawn against St Mirren, the match taking place at Love Street on 29th March. A single goal decided the encounter and it was the Buddies who scored it in the second half. The Celtic side had one of those off days, with the forwards particularly ineffective, their shooting way off target. The Celtic supporters left the ground in very disappointed mode, although their mood might have been slightly lifted later when they heard that Rangers had lost to Airdrie in the other semi-final.
In the final of the Victory Cup, St Mirren beat Hearts 3-0 after extra-time on 26th April 1919.
1 Season 1911-12 was the first one in which semi-finals of the Scottish Cup were held on neutral grounds.
2 The laws of the game were changed so that goalkeepers could only handle the ball in their own penalty area.
3 An extensive Continental tour was undertaken in 1911, visiting Dresden (6-1), Prague (3-0 and 1-1 against Deutsche FC), Budapest (Ferencsvaros 2-1 and 1-1), Vienna (2-1 v Deutsche FC) and Paris (Red Star 8-1) before returning for the Epsom Derby.
4 Celtic won four league titles in a row, from 1913-14 to 1918-19. Their record over these for seasons was;-
P W D L F A
152 119 23 10 367 79
5 Celtic travelled to Europe again in the summer of 1912, playing in Copenhagen (Boldklubben B93 3-1; Danish Olympic Squad 1-4) and then Oslo ( they beat the Norwegian Olympic team twice in two days then crushed a Drammem X1 9-0).
6 In 1912, the distance a player had to be from the ball at a free-kick was increased from 6 yards to 10 yards.
7 In the summer of 1914, Celtic travelled to Germany, where they beat Hertha Berlin 6-0 and lost 0-1 to Leipzig. They then travelled on to Budapest, where they met FA Cup Winners Burnley, the match ending in a 1-1 draw. Because of the hot weather, the players did not want extra-time, although the spectators did. Eventually, the organisers reached an understanding with the officials of both teams. They tossed to decide the winner…and Burnley won. The sponsors, however, refused to hand over their trophy until the teams met again, so the two sides went all through it again at Turf Moor on 1st September 1914, when Celtic won 2-1. Unfortunately, no trophy ever appeared and it was not until Celtic were in their Centenary Year of 1888 that officials of the Hungarian club handed over a very elaborate trophy.
Incidentally, Celtic were lucky in that year of 1914. The match against Burnley in Budapest had taken place on 27th May. Just a month later, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo and Europe was plunged into war.
8 When Celtic the Scottish Cup in 1914, it completed the club’s third League and Scottish Cup ‘double’.
9 Due to fixture congestion, Celtic were forced to play two league matches in one day on 15th April 1916, Raith Rovers at Parkhead in the afternoon (6-0) and Motherwell at Fir Park in the evening (3-1).
10 Celtic went undefeated in 62 league matches between 13th November 1915 and 21st April 1917.
11 Several Celtic players lost their lives in the First World War. Peter Johnstone (Arras 1917), Bobby Craig (1918 Boulogne), Donny MacLeod (Flanders 1917), Leighton Roose (The Somme 1916); while Willie Angus, a Lance-Corporal in the Highland Light Infantry, who had been on Celtic’s books before the war, won the VC for rescuing his Commanding Officer from no-man’s land near Givenchy in 1915.
Special Moments outside football
1910 Dr Crippen poisons his wife.
1911 Roald Amundsen becomes the first man to reach the South Pole.
1912 The Titanic sinks with the loss of over 1500 passengers on maiden voyage.
1913 Suffragette Emily Davidson killed by horse at Epsom.
1914 Germany declares war on France; Britain declares war on Germany.
1915 The liner Lusitania torpedoed by German submarine; 1198 killed.
1916 Easter Rising takes place in Dublin.
1917 British Royal family adopts the title ‘House of Windsor’.
1918 Armistice signed in Marshal Foch’s railway carriage at Compiegne, signalling the end of the war.
1919 72 German warships scuttled at Scapa Flow.