“Happy New Year, Happy New Year…” Celtic on New Year’s Day

Celtic on New Year’s Day…”Happy New Year, Happy New Year…”

As this is the first article published on the site in 2024 I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to Celtic supporters everywhere – and, in particular, to all the readers of The Celtic Star!

After Saturday’s brilliant result against theRangers, Celtic fans are assured of a very Happy New Year. But the club’s historic New Year’s Day record is much more mixed.

The Bhoys have completed 80 games on 1 January. The results probably aren’t what you might expect. Celtic have won only 27 of these fixtures, at the same time drawing 17 and losing 36. The Celts have scored 119 times but conceded 136.

The Celts were first in action on 1 January in 1890. Everton made the trip north for a friendly but were despatched 3-2. This was the only New Year’s Day win at the original Celtic Park.

At the current Celtic Park, the first ‘First Foot’ game was less successful. On 1 January 1894, Rangers came for a friendly and left 3-2 victors.

There are some NYD matches that the club especially wants to forget, including twice conceding EIGHT goals. In 1892, Dumbarton put eight past Celtic in a friendly, a game in which Duff, the Celtic goalkeeper, was accused of being drunk!

Even worse came in 1943. The Bhoys – down to nine men – were at Ibrox and lost 8-1, although fortunately WW2 league results are not counted as official fixtures.

There’s also been some controversial unfinished games. In 1898 and 1905, Celtic faced Rangers but both times the match was abandoned after extra crowds broke into the ground.

The club’s first completed competitive game – and victory – on New Year’s Day did not happen until 1900. Rangers came to Celtic Park for a league match but lost by the odd goal in five. The Celts have also had other causes to celebrate on the first day of the New Year.

Each fan will have their own choice but, for me, it’s hard to see past 2006. The Celts went to Tynecastle and were two down at half-time. In truth, it could have been more. However, three second-half goals – including a last-minute winner from Stephen McManus – turned the game on its head.

You can read about that remarkable match (and season) in Matt Corr’s brilliant new book ‘Majic, Stan and the King of Japan’, available in the Celtic Star Books winter sale.

Equally, a 2-0 ‘Old Firm’ victory in 1986 – goals from McGugan and McClair – proved a crucial moment in a season when the Celts claimed the title on the final day.

Celtic’s most recent game which welcomed the New Year was 2014. This was a true ‘Glasgow Derby’ as Partick Thistle came to Glasgow’s east end but suffered a 1-0 defeat.

Now, we just need to win tomorrow against St Mirren to make sure it’s a proper celebration.

Happy New Year!

Matthew Marr

To find out the full story of Celtic’s first League title, you can buy Matthew Marr’s debut book, ‘The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name’. It’s available now in our HALF PRICE WINTER SALE over on Celtic Star Books.

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

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.

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