Celtic have an enviable record in winning unique tournaments. Many older supporters such as Pat Woods can still rhyme off the names of the players who won the 1938 Empire Exhibition Trophy; Pat once had a vested interest in that feat of memory as, when he was a youngster, he used to be rewarded with a sixpence for doing so at family gatherings.
Still, it is a source of pride for all supporters in considering those trophies: the Victory-in-Europe Cup (1945), the St Mungo Cup (1951), the Coronation Cup (1953) …
But who remembers the trophy won on October 20th 1954? And where is it now?Listen to ROGER MITCHELL with A Celtic State of Mind here:
It’s been a long time since 1954, but I’m reasonably certain that the ‘friendly’ between Clyde and Celtic at Shawfield Stadium was the first floodlit match I attended. The fixture was billed as being for ‘the Championship of the East End’, and it attracted a crowd announced as 20,000. The ‘local’ aspect of the match was further exemplified by the choice of referee, Mr J. A. Mowat from neighbouring Burnside.
Both clubs fielded full-strength sides (although Celtic had to play a ‘Newman’ in goal but he was quickly identified as Dick Beattie, recently signed from Duntocher Hibs).
Clyde: Wilson; A Murphy, Haddock; Granville, Gallacher, Laing; Hill, Robertson; Buchanan; Carmichael, Ring.
Celtic: ‘Newman’; Haughney, Fallon; Evans, Stein, Peacock; Higgins, Tully; Walsh; Fernie, Mochan.
Cyril Horne covered the match for the Glasgow Herald and he was obviously impressed by the novelty of the floodlights, commenting “the illusion of speed that floodlighting gives tended to cause the impression that the pace was terrific” but admitted readily enough that the crowd had been mightily entertained “by the delightful football of the first half and the cup-tie atmosphere of the second.”
The outstanding player on view was Charlie Tully (who contributed to all three Celtic goals). The Herald’s correspondent (and he was often not the easiest to impress) waxed lyrically: “Tully gave a superb display of ball-control and passing in the first half; in days of paucity of talent in the inside-forward positions in Scotland it is a pity that he is not a Scot.”
Higgins scored with typical alertness in 12 minutes, quick to position himself for Tully’s through pass, but Clyde equalized within a minute when Celtic’s trialist keeper lost his footing in going for a high ball; the Glasgow Herald was sympathetic: “…he played impressively, especially after an early mistake which would have unnerved many older players … the young goalkeeper, sound in the air and on the ground, thereafter proved that he has the necessary temperament.”
Celtic went ahead in 30 minutes from a penalty kick awarded when Tully was fouled in the box; Haughney converted it with his usual full-blooded drive. Clyde, who would win the Scottish Cup twice in the 1950s, were a formidable side with players like Albert Murphy, Harry Haddock, Archie Robertson and Tommy Ring. They fought back tenaciously and fully deserved their equalizer which came through Ring in 79 minutes. And this was against the Celtic side, champions and Scottish Cup holders, in first place in the league!
That second half was hard-fought, and became towsy after Fernie was fouled and injured badly enough to be left a passenger on the wing. Both Jock Stein and Sean Fallon were warned by the referee for their attempts at vigilante justice on the guilty Clyde player.
Clyde were finishing the stronger side but Celtic snatched an injury-time winner when Jimmy Walsh (suspiciously close to offside) finished off another clever Higgins-Tully move.
And so another unique trophy made its way into Celtic’s cabinet … at least for a short time.