Invective, 1924 style – A perfect description of Scotland’s Shame


There is nothing new or surprising about Celtic supporters criticising Rangers and their supporters. One doubts however whether anyone could have put it quite so well as The Glasgow Observer does on November 1 1924.

Rarely can one have read such a sustained piece of invective written in such a brilliant style as this journalist does. He was perhaps hurt and upset because Rangers had been rather lucky to beat Celtic 1-0 at Parkhead the previous Saturday ( 25 October, there’s no report or any details at all about this match on The Celtic Wiki which is most unusual).

That was bad enough but it was what he saw and heard from the Rangers end of the ground which really upset him…

“Rangers have probably the biggest club following in Britain, and the number doubtless contains many respectable, fair minded and well conducted people. But there are others. On the terracing at the Dalmarnock end on Saturday there was congregated a gang, thousands strong, including the dregs and scouring of filthy slumdom, unwashed yahoos, jailbirds, night hawks, won’t works, buroo barnacles and pavement pirates, all, or nearly all, in the scarecrow stage of verminous trampdom.

“This ragged army of insanitary pests was lavishly provided with orange and blue remnants, and these were flaunted in challenge as the football tide flowed this way or that. Practically without cessation for ninety minutes or more, the vagabond scum kept up a strident howl of the Boyne Water chorus.

“Nothing so designedly provoking, so maliciously insulting or so bestially ignorant has ever been witnessed even in the wildest exhibitions of Glasgow Orange bigotry. Blatantly filthy language of the lowest criminal type assailed the shocked ears of decent onlookers.

“There was no getting away from it, chanted as it was by thousands of voices in bedlamite yells. The stentorian use of filthy language is a crime against the law of the land. Policemen lined the track and listened to the hooligan uproar, yet nothing was done to stop it.

“The scandal was renewed with increased violence in London Road after the match. Is it possible the blue mob can do just anything and get away with it?”

Aye, they certainly did not pull any punches in 1924, did they?

David Potter

Here are a few photographs of their support who transferred over to the new club in July 2012, at their most recent visit to Celtic Park in May this year…Scotland’s Shame indeed.

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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