Tom Campbell with A Celtic State of Mind – Tierney has joined Delaney, Dalglish & McClair in an exclusive players club

Kieran Tierney is not the only one!

There always was a glory attached to winning the Cup that the satisfaction of finishing first in the league simply could not match. Today, the league championship is a club’s chief ambition; apart from the prestige it is the gateway to the riches of the Champions League. As a consequence, the FA Cup and the Scottish Cup have lost some of their traditional lustre; that was not the case for decades up until recent times.

Players, however, cherished that winning cup medal more than any other, and a select few have won those medals both north and south of the border. Celtic, record winners of the Scottish Cup, have provided thirteen of those privileged men, including the latest – Kieran Tierney.

Let us go through them, in a loose chronological order:

Celtic first won the Scottish Cup by beating the powerful Queen’s Park at Ibrox Park in 1892 and two members of the side ended up as possessors of both medals: Alec Brady and Johnny Campbell. Brady was one of the first ‘professionals’, being paid illegally (at least for a time in his early career). He was an outstanding inside-forward, mainly on the right, and had a relatively short Celtic career before departing for Sheffield Wednesday with whom he won the FA Cup in 1896. Campbell, who scored twice in Celtic’s 5-1 win over Queen’s Park, played on the left wing and, when with Celtic, formed a famous partnership with ‘Sandy’ McMahon. He went on to win three cup medals during his two spells at Celtic Park, and also won the English Cup with Aston Villa in 1897. His was a remarkably successful career as he won ‘cup-and-league doubles’ with both Celtic and Villa, and a further league badge with Third Lanark in the twilight of his career.

Jim Welford is recognised as the first Englishman to win both cup medals, and he came to Celtic as a veteran right-back in 1898, having won his English medal with Aston Villa in 1895. Apparently he was a feisty character, fully prepared to argue with his colleagues on occasion and most famously with the great Dan Doyle. He was also noted as a cricketer with Durham and Warwickshire.

Willie Cook, born in Coleraine, was a hard-tackling right-back and joined Celtic from Port Glasgow Juniors but he was also skilled enough to win 15 ‘caps’ for Northern Ireland. He won his Scottish Cup medal in 1931 in a 4-2 win over Motherwell, but transferred to Everton in 1932, with whom he won the English Cup in 1933. Ironically, he played for the Liverpool side against Celtic in the Empire Exhibition cup final in 1938.

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Hugh O’Donnell was an under-rated left-winger who made 75 appearances for Celtic, before leaving for Preston North End. He had played for Celtic against Motherwell in 1933 in a 1-0 win, and gained his English medal in 1938 by helping PNE defeat Huddersfield Town. He also won a Wartime Cup medal for Preston against Arsenal in 1941.

Jimmy Delaney seemed to make a career out of winning cup medals, but the most important were the Scottish and English; he won with Celtic in 1937 against Aberdeen in a match watched by a record crowd for a Scottish Cup final, and with Manchester United against Blackpool (and Stanley Matthews) in 1948. He was, accordingly, a valued member of two famous forward lines: Delaney, MacDonald, Crum, Divers and Murphy … and Delaney, Morris, Rowley, Pearson and Mitten.

Ronnie Simpson probably had the most interesting career of any footballer. Having joined Newcastle United from Third Lanark, he won two cup medals with ‘the Magpies’ in 1952 and 1955. Twelve years later he was at Hampden Park shutting out Aberdeen to win the Scottish Cup for Celtic, a couple of weeks before setting off for Lisbon and further glory.

Lou Macari perhaps is unique in that he scored in both of his winning cup finals: in 1972 he alertly swept in a corner kick to give Celtic a lead against Rangers in an eventual 2-1 win … and in 1977 he was credited with the winning goal for Manchester United, a shot deflected past Liverpool’s keeper by a defender.

Kenny Dalglish had already won four Scottish Cup medals with Celtic (1972, 1974, 1975, 1977) before departing for Liverpool. In 1986 he helped Liverpool to a 3-1 win over Everton in a most emotional cup final, and thus had competed in cup finals in both Scotland and England between the fiercest of inter-city rivals.

Brian McClair was occasionally under-rated by some supporters, but never by his managers (Alex Ferguson in particular). Celtic’s manager (David Hay) called upon him as a substitute for a struggling Paul McStay in the closing stages of the 1985 final against Dundee United – and Celtic eventually won by 2-1. In the 1994 FA Cup final against Chelsea, he was again employed as a substitute, and scored the fourth United goal in injury time; back in 1990 he had been a starter against Crystal Palace.

And, of course, the latest ‘double-winner’, Kieran Tierney. This young full-back had already won twice with Celtic (2017 and 2018) before moving south to join Arsenal. In 2017 against Aberdeen (2-1) he received a bad facial injury, but left hospital in time to receive his medal at Hampden Park; against Motherwell (2-0) in 2018 he finished the game; in 2020 he was substituted in the last minute (when the match was won by Arsenal 2-1 against a nine-man Chelsea).

Two other Celtic players have won medals in perhaps ‘tainted’ circumstances: Gary Caldwell won with Celtic in 2007, and picked up another medal when he was an unused ‘sub’ with Wigan Athletic in 2013; similarly Dedryck Boyata (2017 and 2018) was ‘unused’ by Manchester City in 2011.

Spare a thought for Jimmy Walsh who played in two such finals but unfortunately ended up on the losing side each time. He scored Celtic’s goal in the 1-1 draw against Clyde in 1955 and captained Leicester City in a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in 1961.

Footnote: Much of the factual material in this article was obtained from information published by Andy Mitchell (who has blossomed as an outstanding sports historian since leaving his previous occupation as Public Relations officer with the SFA).

Tom Campbell

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