Hail, Hail Glorious St Patrick Dear Saint of Our Isle

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

One of my favourite 1890s newspaper quotes refers to Celtic player Paddy Gallagher and the day:

“socks, pawn tickets and shamrocks were kicking about the Celtic’s pavilion on Saturday, in commemoration of Pat Gallagher’s day.”

Paddy Gallagher

Today is a day when a great many pubs will report higher takings than normal; many Celtic fans may help boost those profits. This might be because it is St Patrick’s Day, although other fans may simply be choosing to try and drink to forget recent performances from Celtic!

The Bhoys are not playing today, instead they were yesterday in action against St Johnstone. It was a positive result for the Celts with all three points staying at Parkhead after Celtic’s comfortable 3-1 victory.

The Celtic squad arrived at Celtic Park yesterday afternoon sporting the new Irish heritage kit…

Over the years, Celtic have been in competitive action on St Patrick’s Day on 23 occasions. Some of these have been momentous and memorable occasions, others best forgotten.

Of these 23 games, 14 have resulted in wins for the Bhoys in different competitions, alongside seven draws and two defeats. Celtic have averaged around two goals scored in each of these matches (40 goals in 23 fixtures), whilst at the same time conceding on 30 occasions.

The vast majority of these matches have been league games, but there have some cup fixtures too.

Celtic Supporters at Celtic Park yesterday with an Irish/ Palestine tribute from the Green Brigade.

This is mainly the Scottish Cup, but also the Southern League Cup (which became the Scottish League Cup after World War Two) and one European fixture.

That match – a home 1-1 draw against East German side FSV Zwickau – eventually saw Celtic exit the European Cup-Winner’s Cup following a 1-0 away defeat. This second match saw Celtic have to ‘adopt’ then 17-year old Roy Aitken so he was allowed to travel!

The club’s first St Patrick’s Day runout was a disaster. Playing in 1894 in Edinburgh against Leith Athletic, Celtic lost 5-0 in the final league game of the season. However as the green-and-white stripes had already clinched the title, it mattered little.

Although the Bhoys again played on 17 March in 1900 (an exciting 4-4 draw with Third Lanark in the Inter-City League), it took until 1917 before the now hooped Celts could celebrate a win on this day. This came in the form of a 2-1 victory when visiting Airdrie.

Perhaps the most famous and celebrated St Patrick’s Day game for the Bhoys came in 1991. Rangers came to Celtic Park in the Scottish Cup – and left two goals and three men down. You might say they were ‘massacred’.

When the Celts repeated this victory the following week with a 3-0 ‘Palm Sunday Humiliation’ league win, it was one of few highlights for the club in that era. This was in fact Celtic’s most recent St Patrick’s Day home game, more than three decades ago.

Outwith this victory over Rangers, perhaps Celtic’s other best fixtures on St Patrick’s Day have been two 6-0 victories. In both cases these games were played in Lanarkshire with Celtic winning away against Airdrie in 1954 and then at Motherwell in 1984.

Celtic’s most recent 17 March came five years ago in 2019. The Bhoys went to Dens Park and came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a very, very late Odsonne Edouard winner.

Although there’s no game for Celtic men’s team today, the Bhoys very much need the luck of the Irish if they are to get anything from the rest of the season. Remember that if you’re out celebrating today.

And keep an eye on the Celtic FC Women’s SWPL1 match against theRangers Women which kicks off at 4.10pm this afternoon. Elena Sadiku’s side can narrow the gap to just one point with a win and the Celtic manager is confident that her team will deliver some St Patrick’s Day cheer to the Celtic support on this very special day.

Hail Glorious St Patrick, dear saint of our Isle!

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 last  year and is available to order HERE for HALF PRCE 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.


  1. Rob O’Keeffe on

    Remember Amy should be playing against That Lot today.Pats’y great granddaughter.Go on Amy,stick a couple in.Cheers….