NEXT Sunday will be the 22nd time that Celtic and Hearts have crossed swords in the Scottish League Cup.
It will, of course be the first time that they have played at Murrayfield. Indeed they have only played at Hampden once, and that was in 1976/77 when Celtic beat them 2-1 in the semi-final before losing tragically to Aberdeen in the final.
To date, the two clubs have never met in the League Cup final. In all, Celtic have played 21 games against Hearts and have won 14 times (and that includes twice when a knock-out tie went to extra time, and one of these two games went to penalties. That was is in 1989/90 when Celtic won 3-1 on penalties).
Of the 11 games at Celtic Park, Celtic have won 7 and of the 9 games at Tynecastle, Celtic have won 6.
One can of course argue what was Celtic’s best League Cup win over Hearts. The last two in 2014/5 and 2015/6 remain fresh in my mind – the 2015/6 one being shamefully ignored by TV companies and compelling us many ticketless ones to listen to in on the radio – but my particular favourite was the one at Tynecastle on Wednesday 12 August 1964.
Bobby Murdoch scored twice (one was a penalty) and Steve Chalmers once as Celtic picked themselves up from a fecklessly disappointing 0-0 draw with Partick Thistle to turn on the class and spark off a good run of form which only came to grief in the heartbreaking League Cup final defeat to Rangers.
Bizarrely, Celtic’s Manager Jimmy McGrory was not there. He and Spanish-speaking reserve centre half John Cushley had gone to Spain to try to sign Alfredo di Stefano!
On the downside, there can be little doubt that two dreadful defeats in the 2000s at Celtic Park caused more than a little angst to the support, and those of us who were alive in 1962/63 recall with particular pain the last day of the section on 1 September when Charlie Gallagher got the ball over the line but the goal wasn’t given, the game at Tannadice ended 0-0 and in the meantime Hearts beat Dundee to qualify.
Celtic have won the trophy 17 times, as distinct from Hearts 4 – all of Hearts triumphs coming between 1954 and 1962 when Hearts had a decent team – Willie Bauld, Dave MacKay, Jim Cruickshank et al. – and a support which was not characterised by the bitterness about Celtic that is so prevalent today.
Aye, Albert Kidd, they still remember you!
The games were as follows (Celtic score given first and until 1975/6, Celtic always played Hearts in a sectional, rather than a straight knock out format).
1954/5 Parkhead 1-2, Tynecastle 2-3
1962/3 Parkhead 3-1, Tynecastle 2-3
1964/5 Tynecastle 3-0, Parkhead 6-1
1966/7 Tynecastle 2-0, Parkhead 3-0
1970/1 Tynecastle 2-1, Parkhead 4-2
1975/6 Tynecastle 0-2, Parkhead 3-1
1976/7 Hampden (semi-final) 2-1
1989/90 Tynecastle 2-2 aet 3-1 on penalties
1992/3 Tynecastle 2-1
1996/7 Tynecastle 0-1 aet
2000/1 Tynecastle 5-2 aet
2007/8 Parkhead 0-2
2009/10 Parkhead 0-1
2014/5 Parkhead 3-0
2015/6 Tynecastle 2-1
*David uses Parkhead rather than Celtic Park, it’s his own preference!
**Have you tried David Potter’s League Cup Quiz yet? 17 questions multiple choice, bet you can’t get them all right! Go on try it now…over 2500 have tried so far!
David’s latest book is Celtic – How the League was Won 49 Times…