Celtic versus the Inverness clubs in the Scottish Cup – The Story So Far


Rightly did we rejoiced on Sunday. It was a good win. There have been those who have belittled the achievement by saying that we did not play as well as we could have, that it was a poor game etc. but I think we can accept these minor criticisms and move on. Let us now turn out attention to our opponents in the final on Saturday 3rd – Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

They are a team whom one really has to admire. It is also one of the most successful amalgamations of all time, for prior to 1994, there were two teams – Inverness Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, both of whose supporters expressed undying hatred for each other, but in 1994, they got together, claymores were buried, and Inverness never looked back.

Their League history was been mixed, – normally near the top of the second tier or near the bottom of the first tier is a fair summary of their League status – and they have won the Scottish Cup once, in 2015 when they beat Falkirk in the final, having got the better of Celtic in the semi-final – and we are coming to that! But it is a nice place to go to, maybe a little too far way, but a drive up the A9 on a fine day is a pleasant experience.

In the Scottish Cup Celtic and a team from Inverness have locked horns on 9 occasions as follows, with the balance being 6-3 in favour of Celtic. As yet there have been no draws, no penalty shoot-outs, and on only one occasion (the semi-final of 2015) has a game gone to extra time.

18 January 1930 – Inverness Caledonian 0 Celtic 6 at Telford Street, Inverness

Jimmy McGrory scored a hat-trick against Inverness Caledonian 

This was Celtic’s first ever visit to Inverness on official business. (They had been there on tour before because Maley encouraged this sort of thing). On a mild but dull day 7,000 saw an easy victory for Celtic with a hat trick from Jimmy McGrory, and one each from Charlie Napier, Paddy Connolly and Peter Wilson. One of McGrory’s goals was a magnificent bullet header from a Connolly cross.

16 February 1985 – Celtic 6 Inverness Thistle 0 at Celtic Park

Paul McStay scored a hat-trick 

A rather jolly occasion at Celtic Park when with Celtic 6-0 up (Paul McStay 3, Mo Johnston, Frank McGarvey, Murdo Macleod) and the transistor radios telling everyone that Rangers were getting beat from Dundee, the Jungle decided that these nice chaps from the North deserved a goal and began to cheer on Inverness. 14,927 tried to get then a goal but Peter Latchford and Danny McGrain denied them, and the referee refused to give them a penalty!

8 February 2000 – Celtic 1 Inverness CT 3 at Celtic Park

A collector’s item in the long and lamentable collection of Celtic horror stories, but possibly it had to happen so that John Barnes (a great player for Liverpool and England, but no manager at all) could be sacked. Fingers now pointed at men like Eyal Berkovic, Oliver Tebily, Regi Blinker and in particular Mark Viduka (who refused to turn out in the second half after a dressing room spat.) Too many men who did not care about Celtic, and it showed! Mark Burchill scored for Celtic, but Inverness deserved their victory. It was the night which gave us the “SupercaleygoballisticCelticareatrocious” headline. Fortunately the axe fell quickly.

23 March 2003 – Inverness CT 1 Celtic 0 at Caledonian Stadium

Has to go down as one of Martin O’Neill’s few mistakes. With the eye totally off the ball following the defeat of Liverpool, O’Neill picked a strange team and could not equalise in the second half after Wyness out Inverness ahead. A distressing occasion coming a week after the loss of the League Cup final to Rangers. One of the casualties of the journey to Seville in 2003 was that we did not do so well in the Scottish competitions.

25 February 2007 – Inverness CT 1 Celtic 2 at Caledonian Stadium

Steven Pressley scored

A dreadful performance with Celtic lucky to avoid defeat and indebted to Steven Pressley and Kenny Miller for two late goals to see Celtic through. Celtic were in the throes of a European tie with AC Milan, and once again the eye was taken off the ball for domestic games. This time however, two ex-Rangers men came to the rescue of Celtic. A draw might have been a fairer result.

16 March 2011 – Inverness CT 1 Celtic 2 at Caledonian Stadium

Joe Ledley scored twice

An unconvincing win for Celtic, but two goals from Joe Ledley were enough to win the game for Celtic. The game was played on a Wednesday night, having been postponed at the weekend, and television was not there.

4 February 2012 – Inverness CT 0 Celtic 2 at Caledonian Stadium

Scott Brown scored

A win for Celtic that should have been a lot more with a goal from Georgios Samaras in the first half, and a penalty in the second half from Scott Brown. Celtic fans were in buoyant mood with the imminence of Rangers’ going into administration, and singing songs about jelly and ice cream.

19 April 2015 – Inverness CT 3 Celtic 2 after extra time at Hampden in Semi Final
This clear and deliberate handball prevented Celtic going 2-0 in front of Inverness in the Scottish Cup semi-final in 2015. No penalty was awarded by this guy…

A very unlucky defeat for Celtic. Celtic were 1-0 ahead and it should have been 2-0 if they had been given a penalty for a blatant hand ball. But that wasn’t the game changer. The game changer was the sending off of Craig Gordon for bringing down an Inverness player and Inverness scored the resultant penalty. Defensive errors gave Inverness a win, and even though Celtic had a lot going against them, quite a few players looked leaden footed and not really interested.

11 February 2017 – Celtic 6 Inverness CT 0 at Celtic Park

Moussa Dembele scored a hat-trick

A regulation victory for Celtic in their “Invincible” season with some superb football and fine goals. Moussa Dembele scored a hat-trick, and the other goals came from Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig.

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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