Celtic’s first season – a first-ever Glasgow Cup-tie…then the first 7-1 win

Celtic’s first season – a first-ever Glasgow Cup-tie…then the first 7-1 win!…

Another month brought another first, as Celtic made their maiden appearance in the Glasgow Football Association Cup, better known simply as the Glasgow Cup.

For someone like myself, brought up in the 60s, when the six senior clubs in the city became five after Third Lanark’s liquidation in 1967, it is difficult to imagine a version of the Glasgow Cup where no fewer than 25 teams competed.

This was the case as the competition kicked off for the second edition, on Saturday, 15 September 1888, as Celts were travelling to Dumbarton for a friendly,  having become the only side to receive a bye in the first round. The major shock of that round would be the humiliating 6-0 defeat by holders and inaugural winners Cambuslang, at the hands of 3rd LRV (3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers – later to become Third Lanark) at First Cathkin.

Celtic would thus enter at the second round stage, scheduled for this day in 1888, Saturday, 6 October, their first involvement in the competition seeing Shettleston make the short trip to the first Celtic Park, just as they had for the new club’s initial Scottish Cup-tie the previous month, when the hosts had won 5-1.

The Bould Bhoys would more than double the pain inflicted that afternoon by scoring 11 goals to their neighbour’s 2, in front of 7,000 spectators. The contest, such as it was, was over long before the interval, by which time Celts were 8-0 ahead.

The second half would then be more even, with the young Shettleston side pulling a couple of goals back, although one would assume Celtic had taken the foot off the gas. On the same day, there would also be heavy wins for Clyde, Northern, Queen’s Park and Rangers, whilst Cowlairs, Partick Thistle and 3rd LRV enjoyed the luxury of a bye into the third round.

Two days later, Monday, 8 October 1888, the Celts were in high-scoring action again, having taken the road and the miles to Dundee to take on the local Harp, at their Athletic’s ground on East Dock Street.

The visitors were without brothers Tom and Willie Maley and Mick Dunbar, whilst Tom O’Kane was missing for the green-shirted hosts. The 4,000 crowd would witness a fine display of attacking football by the Bhoys on that autumn holiday afternoon on Tayside, Harp doing well to hold them to 2-0 at half-time.

Celtic then stepped up a gear after the break, ‘Darling Willie’ Groves involved in most of the goals as the visitors secured the first 7-1 victory in Celtic’s history. It would certainly not be the last one of those Celts would enjoy, particularly in the October sunshine.

Matt Corr

* Extract from Matt’s section within Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys where he takes us through al the action in Celtic’s first ever season. Liam Kelly tells the story of each of Celtic’s Founding Fathers and Celtic historian David Potter profiles all the early Celtic stars in this pretty special Celtic book. 

READ THIS…Celtic’s magical journey begins, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys – cherish it

About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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