BATTLE OF THE HOOPS – PART 1…
Tomorrow afternoon, it won’t just be Celtic supporters who will proudly wear green-and-white hoops – the away section will be full of the tops too! Yes, the Bhoys take on Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup, with the Highland League side having the same home colours as their more famous Glasgow opponents.
Celtic switched to hoops in 1903. Buckie did this in 1908, with one local legend saying it was a donation of strips from the Celts that led to the north Scotland team’s new look. Since then, Celtic have played against ‘The Jags’ on five occasions, although Sunday will be the first competitive meeting as well as Thistle’s first Glasgow trip.
The Bhoys’ earliest Buckie excursion came in April 1913. The Glasgow team took part in a north of Scotland tour, including a friendly game in Inverness between Celtic and Rangers, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Following this, Celtic went to Thistle’s Victoria Park ground where they overcame their hosts by 3-2. Newspapers described a “strenuous exhibition game” which saw special trains bringing hundreds of fans from across the region.
Eight years later and Celtic were again back in Buckie to play a friendly, one stage of another north of Scotland tour. Yet again, Victoria Park was the match’s venue. Celtic started with the benefit of a strong wind, the result of which helped the Bhoys build a 3-0 half-time lead. Although the second half was more even, the match still finished 4-1 to the Celts.
As further evidence of the excitement that Celtic’s visits brought, there was other entertainment put on for fans. This included the town band who played music throughout the game.
It was almost three decades before Celtic again met a Buckie team. In April 1949, Celtic toured Scotland’s north-east, playing a succession of combined local teams. The Bhoys beat a Peterhead/Fraserburgh side 2-1 and then Deveronvale/Huntly went down 3-1.
The final match brought them back to Victoria Park, where a Buckie Thistle and Keith select welcomed their Glasgow guests. As with the previous match, Celtic claimed a 3-1 win.
Charity brought the Celts north once more in 1981. A game was held to help raise funds for a local Catholic church that needed roof improvements. In a reminder of changing football prices, adults were charged 70p for entry, with concessions available for 40p. Despite the home men scoring two penalties, Celtic still secured a 3-2 victory.
Until this Sunday’s match takes place, the most recent meeting between Celtic and Buckie Thistle came in 1989. This time the Celts’ presence was to celebrate Thistle’s centenary. Around 2500 fans were in Victoria Park to watch the Scottish Cup holders take on the local team. Two goals from Tommy Burns (who also missed a penalty) and one from Derek Whyte ensured it was an easy 3-0 win for the Celts.
Celtic’s record versus Buckie Thistle is as you would expect. In the five games the clubs have played, Celtic have won all of them, scoring 16 whilst conceding six. The Bhoys are huge favourites for tomorrow’s game, and rightly so. But a professional performance is needed to ensure there are no slip ups.
Just before the 1989 game against Buckie Thistle, Celtic beat Inverness Thistle 3-0 (with Dariusz Dziekanowski scoring his first goal in Scotland). A few years later, this Inverness team merged with Inverness Caledonian to create a new team.
And Celtic know only too well the dangers that north of Scotland teams can pose in the Scottish Cup!
Later today, you can read about other teams that the Celts have faced who also wear green-and-white hoops.