Coronation Cup a major honour Celtic should be counting

What always surprises me is that when, as is the fashion these days, major honours won are added up, Celtic don’t count both the Empire Exhibition Cup of 1938 and the Coronation Cup on this day back in 1953 in our total.

These were major competitions before the advent of European football and you can better your bottom dollar that had the old Ibrox club won these trophies – and they so wanted to do so – then both would have taken pride of place in their ‘most successful club in the world’ (sic) haul.

Celtic has won more than our few share of prestigious honours in our illustrious history, from twice nine in a row champions, a quadruple treble, and of course the European Cup. Honours that are unsurpassed and will never be beaten in the Scottish game.

Another such trophy that sits proudly in the trophy cabinet is the Coronation Cup, which was won on this day in 1953.

A competition in honour of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II. The competition was made up of eight sides, four from Scotland and four from England. All sides were deemed to be the best in their respective countries.

Of the eight sides Celtic were the rank outsiders, with some suggesting at the time the only reason that Celtic got an invitation was because of the size of the Celtic support. The high profile and prestigious competition was held in Glasgow, the second city of the Empire, because London was too busy with the Coronation itself.

Celtic however were in something of dire straits at the time and finished in 8th place that campaign and failed to win any of the domestic cups. That’s why there was much controversy over the decision to include Celtic ahead of other sides who were doing much better at that time, but lacked the support that Celtic had.

However Celtic were picked on the basis of being unofficial ‘British champions’ after winning the Empire Exhibition Cup fifteen years earlier.

Unsurprisingly we were rank outsiders for the trophy, even some Celtic supporters were very vocal in their criticism of the side taking part during to our woeful form and one or two would undoubtedly have taken issue with participating in a competition associated with the British monarchy.

With sides such as newly crowned English champions Arsenal, plus brilliant Spurs, Newcastle and Man United sides and a fantastic Hibs side in the competition, Celtic’s chances of winning were very slim indeed.

There was also the fact that our bitter rivals Rangers were determined to win the trophy, with their players reported to be on massive bonuses to lift the trophy in honour of their beloved Elizabeth, the Princess becoming the Queen.

But against all odds Jimmy McGrory’s men swept aside English giants Arsenal and Manchester United before beating Hibs in the final at Ibrox in front of a sea of green and white.

Rangers exited at the first hurdle losing to Manchester United. They must have been seething as the hoops paraded the trophy that was in honour of their beloved Queen.

So if you beat the English Champions Arsenal and Manchester United who beat Rangers then go on to win the final against the greatest Hibs side of all time then that is quite an achievement.

So for anyone reading this who is going to join in the friendly going for 55 and most successful club in Scotland over the next year, let’s start including the Empire Exhibition Cup and the Coronation Cup won by Celtic on this day in 1953.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy


About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. A bit ironic that Celtic of all clubs won a trophy celebrating the British monarchy, and also another one celebrating the British Empire!