Final Facts Not Fiction – Celtic’s 36th League Cup Final and a second one for the Rangers

When Celtic take the field at Hampden Park this Sunday, it will be the Bhoys’ 36th League Cup Final.

To date, Celtic have won 20 of these matches, whilst losing out on 15 occasions. As current holders, Celtic’s most recent success came in 2021; the Bhoys’ last final defeat was in 2012.

The first League Cup Final took place in 1947, but it took nine years for Celtic to play in such a game. In 1956, the Hoops claimed victory after a replay, winning 3-0 against Partick Thistle.

Since then, Celtic’s record in this competition has been mixed. The Bhoys’ current record of six consecutive victories in finals reached is the best they have ever achieved.

Equally, between 1970-71 and 1990-91, Celtic appeared in 13 finals, losing all but two of these matches, including four-in-a-row defeats between 1970-71 and 1973-74.

In total, Celtic have faced 11 different opponents in the League Cup’s most important match. During this time, there have been 70 Celtic goals scored, with 41 conceded.

Murdo and Wim with the League Cup in 1997 after a 3-0 win over Dundee Utd in the final held at Ibrox

St Johnstone, Motherwell, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers have been the Bhoys’ opponents on one occasion; Raith Rovers remain the only club Celtic have not beaten when playing in a League Cup Final.

On two occasions, Glasgow’s green-and-white men have met Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock, Dundee and Dundee United. With the exception of Dundee United (beaten twice), it’s been a win and a defeat for Celtic in these games.

Hibs and Aberdeen have both faced Celtic on four occasions in the final. For both teams, the record reads three Celtic wins and one defeat. Hibs matches have been especially high scoring, with Celtic twice grabbing six goals.

04/12/82 LEAGUE CUP FINAL CELTIC V RANGERS (2-1)  Charlie Nicholas (right) celebrates his goal.

However – perhaps unsurprisingly – the Celts’ most common final opponent has been Rangers (both versions).

15 times Celtic have lined up against an Ibrox side in the League Cup Final. Celtic have won on six occasions but lost out nine times. Of course the Bhoys’ first victory in these matches remains the club’s most famous domestic cup triumph: Celtic 7, Rangers 1. (David Potter’s feature on that game is coming up this morning on The Celtic Star). Please note that theRangers have never won the League Cup in their 11 year history.

Whilst the old Rangers may have won most finals versus Celtic, there are much more upbeat facts. Despite the (now liquidated) Light Blues better win record, Celtic have scored 24 times in such games, with only 20 conceded in return.

And of course, the first time and last time that Celtic met theRangers in the League Cup Final, it ended with green-and-white ribbons on the trophy.

As long as this statement remains true by the end of this weekend, it will be a Beautiful Sunday all round.

Matthew Marr

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

Matthew Marr’s Debut Celtic book – The BOULD BHOYS – ‘Glory to their name’ tells the story of Celtic’s first ever title win. It will be published in this April on Celtic Star Books and will be available on highest quality hardback and also on Amazon Kindle. It is absolutely superb. 

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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