Kenny Archer from Irish News reviews David Potter’s latest book (which was actually delayed from May to await the Scottish Cup Final) which is titled The Scottish Cup – Celtic’s Favourite Trophy. We’ve previously reviewed this wonderful book and you can read that below….
Now here is Kenny’s review which is also published in the Irish News….
At the time of publication earlier this year the main question about Celtic retaining the Scottish Cup appeared to be ‘When?’ Rivals (the)Rangers were knocked out so the Celts were well on course for the quadruple treble, having already won the League Cup and coasting clear at the top of the Premiership.
The nine-a-row was secured, albeit with that competition prematurely curtailed by Covid-19, but Celtic’s downturn in form this season has put ‘the 10’ into serious doubt.
The Hoops will still be favourites this Sunday in the delayed Scottish Cup final against the Gers’ conquerors, Championship side Hearts, but the ‘fear factor’ is now surrounding the men in green and white, not enveloping all their opponents.
Another Cup loss, after early ends to the involvement in this season’s League Cup and both the Champions and Europa Leagues, would surely signal the end of manager Neil Lennon’s time in charge.
So David Potter’s book ‘The Scottish Cup: Celtic’s Favourite Trophy’ is a timely reminder of the importance of that famous trophy to the Parkhead club. Celtic reached the final in their first season, 1888-89, and it was their first major triumph, in 1892 – at Ibrox, to boot, beating Queen’s Park 5-1. The celebrations were spectacular.
The ‘Scottish Referee’ newspaper noted that ‘Truly the East End was a perfect turmoil until the very early hours of the Sunday, and many of the crowd won’t be able to get over the rejoicing racket for days to come’.
Queen’s Park were the Cup kings for a while but, like the Scottish League, it soon largely became a battle between Celtic and Rangers. Celtic have almost always led the way in that race, but Rangers caught them up in 1963, during a dreadful time for the Hoops, which showed few signs of improving.
Indeed the Light Blues completed a Scottish Cup hat-trick the following year, having beaten Celtic again en route to the final, as Potter recalls: ‘1964 was awful. Rational people would have given it all up, but we were Celtic supporters.’
Yet the wheel turns, and Jock Stein was the driver. The Scottish Cup has always held significance for Celtic, not least when victory in the oldest competition ended the 11-year trophy drought in 1965.
Rangers moved ahead again after a final replay victory over the Celts in 1966, but Celtic were a team and a club transformed under Stein, and emphatically got their revenge in the 1969 decider – 4-0 – and have always been atop the roll of honour since then, with their arch-rivals joining them only once, in 2003.
The scenes after the 1980 showdown, won by Celtic, led to an alcohol ban at football matches, but the Scottish Cup has been about much more than Celtic and Rangers; indeed there were only 14 final meetings of ‘the Old Firm’ (not counting replays), the last of them in 2002. Still, Celtic enjoyed beating Rangers in their centenary season, 1988-89, to retain the trophy.
They’ll likely hold on to it again this weekend, but Potter recalls the disasters too: ‘Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious’ from the year 2000, and also going back to losing to Arthurlie in 1897, Celtic having started that match with only seven players, ‘the game that sent shudders up and down Celtic spines for the next 60 or 70 years’.
That led to the appointment of Newry native Willie Maley (who had played in the 1892 triumph) as Celtic’s manager, a role he held for the next 43 years, winning 14 more Scottish Cups.
If Celtic don’t make it to number 40, it may mean the end for another Ulsterman boss. A victory might just mark an upturn in fortunes, as in 1995.
Kenny Archer – Irishnews.com