‘On this day in 1939, Celtic beat Hearts in a Scottish Cup replay, John Divers scored the winner,’ Jim Craig

On this day in 1939, Celtic beat Hearts 2-1 in the replay of a third round tie in the Scottish Cup.

In the earlier rounds, Celtic had been on a goal rampage, thrashing Burntisland 8-3 and then Montrose 7-1, both matches away from home.

Jimmy McGrory had retired towards the end of 1937, so the goals now were coming from the likes of Malcolm MacDonald, Johnny Crum, Jimmy Delaney and John Divers.

The first tie against Hearts was played at Tynecastle on 18 February 1939 in front of a huge crowd of 49,572 and finished in a 2-2 draw, Celtic’s goals scored by Delaney and MacDonald. Four days later, an estimated attendance of 80,840 packed into Celtic Park for the replay.

At the end of 90 minutes, the scores were level at 1-1 so the match went into extra-time, with both teams putting their hearts and souls into getting the winner.

And it came three minutes from the end, in a most unusual way.

A cross by Frank Murphy came into the middle, both John Divers (the first one to play for Celtic) and Jimmy Delaney went for it, Divers got there first and powered a header towards the corner of the net which the Hearts keeper got across and held.

The Celtic fans making up the vast majority of the crowd groaned in disappointment but that soon changed to roars of delight as they noticed that the referee was pointing up towards the centre circle; the ball had obviously crossed the line before the keeper had grabbed it.

After the match, as the fans made their way back into town, London Road and the Gallowgate must have been bouncing!

Although probably no one would have been aware at the time, this would turn out to be the last Scottish Cup campaign until season 1946-47, as these major competitions were abandoned for the duration of the Second World War.

You can read my preview of tonight’s game in St Petersburg from earlier this morning on The Celtic Star, HERE.

Jim Craig

Podcast Preview and Review. Yeah, some spoken word about the game below and also an interview with Megan from the Celtic Fc Foundation.

Listen below or via Itunes, ACast or MP3

About Author

Lisbon Lion and Celtic Ambassador Jim Craig provides The Celtic Star readers with a 365 day diary of all things Celtic, providing a remarkable and unique insight into our club from one of the players who won us The Celtic Star in Lisbon on 25 May 1967.

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