Celtic’s Away Venues: We’re on the road again – Copeland Park

Celtic’s seventh away ground saw them once more cross into Glasgow’s southside. This took them close to a venue to which they would be regular visitors in the years ahead.

The match was held at Copeland Park, located only two minutes from Ibrox train station. This was home to various clubs across the years, including Pilgrims and South Western. On Monday 3 September 1888, the Celts played an evening friendly game against Whitefield. At this time, the Govan side played in hoops (blue and white), which the Celts would not do for another 15 years.

There was one other connection between the Celts and Whitefield. Arguably the latter team’s most famous player was Charlie Gorevin, who played in the first ever Celtic team. Whitefield – formed in 1877 – managed to survive until 1892, but struggled due to their proximity to Ibrox. In fact, in the Celtic game, one Whitefield player was Eaglesham, guesting from Rangers.

Copeland Park, Govan (general area) (Whitefield 1-5 Celtic)

1000 fans were attracted to watch the game, a big turnout by the standards of the time, and considering that Celtic were still a relatively new club. It was the home supporters that first had cause to cheer. Within eight minutes, their side had taken the lead thanks to a shot from Houston.

However the Bhoys did not let this put them off. Within ten minutes the tie was once more level, and by half-time it was 3-1 to the east end men. When the second half took place, it was described as “not so interesting” by one report. This was partly due to the night’s growing darkness making it difficult to see as full-time approached.

There was only one further goal, with Celtic extending their advantage and making it 4-1. The Bhoys’ hero of the day was the ‘Ould Giniral’, Jimmy McLaren, who had a hat-trick credited to him.

McLaren was an important player for Celtic but made his name elsewhere too, including scoring against England for Scotland, and being part of Hibs’ 1887 Scottish Cup-winning team.

Neil McCallum

Celtic’s other strike came from Neil McCallum. Various Celts were praised by journalists for their performances, including the scorers and also captain James Kelly and defender Mick McKeown.

Matthew Marr

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

Click on cover to order hardback copy.

Matthew’s debut Celtic book titled ‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ was published by Celtic Star Books earlier this year and is available to order HERE for HALF PRCE in our winter sale, or alternatively you can pick up a copy at any official Celtic store. This brilliant book is also available on Amazon Kindle for just £3.49 and includes all photo sections that appear in the hardback edition.

About Author

Matthew Marr first started going to see Celtic in the 1980s and has had a season ticket since 1992. His main Celtic interest is the club's history, especially the early years. In 2023, Matthew published his first Celtic book, telling the story of the Bhoys' first league title. He also runs Celtic history walking tours.

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