Jim Craig – Oh what fun it is to beat the ‘Un on New Year’s Day

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This Glasgow Derby contest – held on this day in 1938 – attracted one of the biggest-ever attendances at Celtic Park, when 83,500 must have literally packed in to see the action.

And it was not the only big ground to see some football action that afternoon, as 37,600 crammed into Easter Road for the Edinburgh derby and there was even a Second Division record of 19,700 at Starks Park to see Raith Rovers take on East Fife.

At Celtic Park, Willie Maley put out a team of Kennaway, Hogg, Morrison, Lynch, Lyon, Paterson, Carruth, MacDonald, Crum, Divers, Murphy; the game was eight minutes late in starting due to the large crowd; and Celtic were on top right from the start, although the fans had to wait some time for the first goal.

That came in the 38th minute, when Johnny Divers received a pass from Johnny Crum, beat two men with a quick turn, then blasted the ball past Jenkins in the Rangers goal.

The onslaught continued after the interval and in 44 minutes, as Crum was going through the middle, Ronnie Simpson’s father Jimmy handled the ball and Malky MacDonald scored from the resultant penalty.

The Light Blues defence was being overrun by clever forwards who were playing some brilliant football and Celtic got a third 17 minutes from time when Divers got his second with a well-taken drive.

It was a fine win by Celtic but unfortunately, the headlines in the press the following day tended to concentrate on the obvious crowding inside the ground, which had led to some of them swarming on to the ground for safety.

Happy New Year!

PS – The Johnny Crum mentioned in the tale above was born on this day in 1912 and after a spell with Ashfield Juniors, joined Celtic in February 1932.

Over the following ten years, Johnny went on to make 280 appearances for the club, scoring 101 goals. The two most well-known of these were firstly, in the 1937 Scottish Cup final win against Aberdeen, when he opened the scoring; and then a year later, in the Empire Exhibition Trophy final against Everton at Ibrox, Johnny scored the winner in extra-time.

Johnny Crum died at Hyndland, Glasgow, on 6 July 1969.

Jim Craig

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