Jim Craig’s 7am start: Celtic give Man Utd ‘something of a roasting’ at Hampden semi-final

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It was a Saturday afternoon and there was a crowd of 73,000 at Hampden Park on this day in 1953 for the Scotland/England clash of Celtic and Manchester United in the semi-final of the Coronation Cup.

Celtic put out the same eleven which had beaten Arsenal in the first round five days previously ; Bonnar, Haughney, Rollo, Evans, Stein, McPhail ,Collins, Walsh, Mochan, Peacock and Tully.

A strong gusty wind made conditions difficult but both sides were capable of fine play and it was an excellent match.

Everyone played well for Celtic but the half-back line of Bobby Evans, Jock Stein and John McPhail in particular was outstanding and inspirational. Further forward, Bertie Peacock harried United’s captain Johnny Carey the whole game; Neil Mochan made life difficult for his immediate opponent, centre-half Allanby Chilton; while Charlie Tully gave his marker Tom McNulty something of a roasting.

Celtic’s first goal came in 34 minutes, good work by Tully giving Peacock the opportunity to strike home a powerful shot. The second arrived early in the second half, when Tully controlled a Rollo pass and sent a long ball into the path of Mochan, whose right-foot shot gave the United keeper no chance.

The English side did pull one back in 77 minutes but Celtic held out and then awaited the outcome of the other semi-final, held at Ibrox, where Hibs met Newcastle, who had future Lisbon Lion Ronnie Simpson in goal.

The Hoops fans at Hampden were delighted with the performance of their heroes; they were less pleased to see one of them, Charlie Tully, limping badly as he made his way towards the tunnel.

Jim Craig

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