Celtic 4-0 Rangers – A Semi-Final Skelping and “The Wearing O’The Green”


Celtic Park in 1900

Celtic: – McArthur, Davidson, Battles, Russell, Marshall, Orr, Hodge, Campbell, Divers, McMahon, Bell

Rangers: – Dickie, Smith, Drummond, Gibson, Neil, Robertson, Graham, Wilkie, Hamilton, McPherson, Smith.

Referee: Mr Tom Robertson
Attendance: 35,000

No-one really saw this one coming, and there was no apparent reason for it. Rangers were already the League Champions (as they had been the previous year as well) and really did not look as if they had many weaknesses.

But the first game had been at Ibrox, and Celtic had done well, leading 2-1 until a very late stage when Rangers equalised. As was the way of the world in 1900, eyebrows were raised at this, and newspapers hinted that the good crowd that turned up to see the replay would provide the real reason why the game ended up in a draw.

But those who did not enjoy conspiracy theories noticed that Celtic had been a little unlucky at Ibrox, and Manager Maley felt confident as he went round his players before the game, encouraging and giving advice.

Barney Battles

A lot depended on the controversial Barney Battles. He could be a hero or a villain, but the main thing now was that he was back. He had fallen out with the club in 1896 and his departure had done neither Celtic nor Battles any good. But he needed gentle handling.

Sandy McMahon – ‘The Duke’

The forwards were no real problem for they were well marshalled by the man that they called “The Duke” namely Sandy McMahon, a hard working, honest and superbly talented player, and now that Johnny Campbell was back, the two old comrades could team up together, Johnny Campbell being one of the very few men who possessed both an English and a Scottish Cup medal, for he had been with Aston Villa when they triumphed in England in 1897 Yet Maley was aware that current form still favoured the Light Blues, managed by his old friend William Wilton.

Willie Orr in his time at Preston NE

The day was reasonably dry, but rather windy, and Rangers had the benefit of the breeze in the first half, But this was the day that the Celtic half back line of Russell, Marshall and Orr earned their spurs. Willie Orr in particular was inspirational, and the much vaunted Rangers forward line never really got going, and if they did get past the half back line, there was Barney Battles waiting for them.

Even playing against the wind, Celtic were strong. Johnny Hodge was not properly marked when the ball came across and he headed Celtic in front. Before half time Celtic won a corner, and Sandy McMahon was there to hammer home Jack Bell’s cross.

The 35,000 crowd could scarcely believe their eyes in the second half at the way that Rangers were put to the sword by a rampant Celtic side. The fightback never came, and further goals by Sandy McMahon and Jack Bell ensured that “The Wearing O’The Green” and “God Save Ireland” reverberated around Celtic Park in triumph that sunny spring afternoon, as Celtic earned their right to play Queen’s Park in the Scottish Cup final.

David Potter

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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