A Green and White Coronation and two major honours Celtic fans must count

Coronation weekend is upon us, with none of us giving a jot about the whole charade, well us Celtic supporters anyway. Anyway Glasgow of course could of course be awash with green and white this Coronation weekend. It certainly was the last time a Coronation party was planned in Glasgow.

Said Lizzie to Phillip as they sat down to dine. “I’ve just had a note from a good friend of mine. His name is big Geordie, he’s loyal and true and his big dirty nose is a bright shade of blue. He says that the Rangers are right on their game and he asks for a trophy to add to their name.

“We’ll send them a trophy that the Rangers can win,”said lizzie to Phillip.

“Watch the Celts don’t step in” said Phillip to Lizzie.

Said lizzie to Phillip “they don’t stand a chance, I’ll send up my gunners to lead them a dance, with the Celtic defeated, the way will be clear and a trophy for Rangers in my crowning year”

But alas for their hopes for the loyal true blues the Celts beat the Arsenal and Manchester too, beat the Hibs in the final, and what a scene, sure Hampden was covered in banners of green.

Said Lizzie to Phillip when she heard the news. “A blow has been struck to our loyal true blues, so tell me dear Phillip for you ought to know, how to beat Glasgow Celtic and keep them below?”

Said Phillip to Lizzie. “there’s only one way and I’ve known the secret for many a day, to beat Glasgow Celtic, you’ll have to deport, the whole green and white army who give them support.”

The Coronation Cup was held in Glasgow in May 1953 to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Four teams from England and four teams from Scotland would compete. Arsenal, Manchester Utd, Newcastle Utd and Spurs from England, with Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, and Hibernian representing Scotland.

There was much excitement and anticipation for this competition from both players and supporters. There was no such thing as European football at that time, thus giving the players the chance to play club opposition from another country and the spectators to watch from the stands.

The Scotland England rivalry added to the excitement. Arsenal were Champions of England, Manchester Utd the Champions the previous year, Newcastle (who had a certain Ronnie Simpson in goals) were FA cup winners the previous two years, and the great Spurs side who were runners up in 51/52.

Representing Scotland were champions Rangers, Scottish Cup runners up Aberdeen, the great Hibernian side who were Champions in 1951/52 and of course Celtic who entered as they won the empire Exhibition Trophy in 1938 and were seen as unofficial reigning British champions.

There was much controversy regarding Celtic’s invitation as they had finished 8th that season and without silverware. It was said that other sides were more deserving like a good Dundee side who won the league cup the previous two seasons and East Fife who finished third that year, but as Empire Exhibition trophy winners and no doubt a bigger draw for crowds, Celtic’s place was secure.

In the first round of games Hibernian beat Spurs 2-1 at ibrox after extra time in a replay, the first game having ended in a stalemate. Newcastle trounced Aberdeen 4-0 also at ibrox, Man Utd beat Rangers 2-1 at Hampden, a sore one for the Ibrox side as they were reportedly on £100 a man to win the tournament not to mention missing out on the chance to win a trophy in celebration of their beloved Queen, Ouch.

Celtic took on a good Arsenal side at Hampden on the back of a disappointing season. There was even reports that supporters lobbied the club to withdraw from the tournament due to expected humiliation, not to mention a reported dressing room revolt due to bonus money. Confidence must have been at an all time low going into this one.

Arsenal manger Tom Whittaker even boasted to reporters about how confident his side were going into the game, and how he hadn’t even bothered to watch Celtic. The great Jimmy McGrory then Celtic manager read the paper clippings to his players in the dressing room before the game and it did the trick as Celtic won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Bobby Collins direct from a corner. Fine goalkeeping and a man of the match display by Celtic goalkeeper John Bonnar was also key to victory as Arsenal were sent homewards to think again.

In the semi finals Hibernian easily saw off Newcastle inflicting a 4-0 win over the Geordies at Ibrox. At Hampden Celtic took on Man Utd and won 2-1 thanks to goals from Bertie Peacock and Neil Mochan.

So on the 20 May 1953 Hampden would be a sea of green and white as Celtic and Hibernian battled it out for the Coronation Cup in front of 117,060 supporters. Celtic would prevail and beat a good Hibernian side 2-0 thanks to goals from Neil Mochan and Jimmy Walsh and yet another another fantastic goalkeeping display by John Bonnar.

A great achievement for a club who were ridiculed and given no chance at the start of the tournament, in an all green and white final nonetheless. Even sweeter knowing Rangers would have been fuming that they missed out in winning a cup in honour of their beloved Queen.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy

And one final point on this. The Empire Exhibition Cup in 1938 and the Coronation Cup in 1953 were both significant events and featured some of the finest teams in European football. Both were played ahead of competitive European competition for clubs getting underway.

With all this talk of counting trophy wins it is surprising that Celtic fans don’t count these two major honours in our trophy haul from our unbroken. history. Had Rangers won them you can be sure that they would have featured prominently in their wild and dishonest claims to be the most successful club in the World.

If you are counting Celtic’s trophies then start adding on these two.

About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. David Potter on

    Justanordinarybhoy is correct that we should add the Empire Exhibition Trophy and Coronation Cup to our tally of trophies, but we should also add the Coronation Cup of 1902 which consisted of Celtic, Rangers, Sunderland and Everton, and in which Celtic beat Rangers 3-2 in the final. Jimmy Quinn scored a hat-trick!
    It is sometimes called the British League Cup or the Glasgow Exhibition Cup and led to the song
    “Same say the Rangers are guid at fitba
    That Drummond and Gibson and Speedie are bra’
    But Jimmy Quinn he diddled them a’
    At the Glasgow Exhbition, oh!!

  2. Heed the breed on

    In the 90s I was attending college in bridgeton doing a course of appreciation of building and wall and flooring tiling.
    At lunch me and a few guys went upto parkhead every lunchtime this one time I noticed an elderly gentleman going into parkhead I asked him for his autograph he politely said you don’t know me son do you I said no but my grandad and great grandad would.
    I said to this gentleman did you have a nephew or grandson that played for Celtic at this point he burst out laughing.
    The gentleman was John Bonnar so humble genuine polite no air’s or grace’s.
    When all of the supporters were looking for the recent side in the 90s I was just curious as to who this man was when no one noticed him.
    This superstar and legend on the way out reminded to tell my family and just like that went on his way.
    My grandad and great grandad when they found out couldn’t believe it what made it more special they were goalies as well.
    To the coronation Celtic team thank you for will to win against the odds and feel ten foot tall but especially to Mr John Bonnar and the team rest in peace may eternal light shine upon you.