Jim Craig’s 7am start: The Coronation time was here

On this day in 1953, the first evening of the Coronation Cup tournament, Celtic met Arsenal at Hampden. Their performance that night was a very rare one by a team more used to mediocrity.

59,300 were there to witness this display and had Arsenal lost by 5 or 6 goals they would have had no valid complaint. Their goalkeeper George Swindon had several outstanding saves and many other shots were either inches high or just wide.

The Celtic team was Bonnar, Haughney, Rollo, Evans, Stein, McPhail, Collins, Walsh, Mochan, Peacock and Tully.

All of them played well but three men stood out. John McPhail at left-half and Bobby Evans on the right stamped their authority in the middle of the park and gave the Arsenal inside-forwards little space; while Neilly Mochan, newly signed from Middlesbrough, was all skill and thrust.

The only goal, in 23 minutes, was really not worthy of the occasion. A corner-kick by Bobby Collins was hoisted high up into the wind behind Celtic in the first half and as goalkeeper Swindon jumped for it, the ball swerved violently, hit his hands and spun into the net.

Jim Craig

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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