Jim Craig’s 7am start: Willie McStay grabbed the winner

Season 1923/24 had been one of the poorer ones for Celtic, in spite of their having a plethora of big names in the side. The club had finished third in the league table behind Rangers and Airdrie; and had also lost to Rangers in the first round of the Glasgow Cup.

However, the big shock of the season came in the Scottish Cup and it occurred down at Rugby Park, when a Kilmarnock side which had finished a lowly fifth from bottom in the league, beat Celtic 2-0 in a first-round tie, the crowd of 17,500 hardly able to believe what they were seeing. It would be the only time in the decade of the 1920s that Celtic would go out of that competition in the first round.

That left only the Charity Cup to play for and Celtic beat Queen’s Park in the semi-final to go through to the final where Rangers would be the opponents, the match taking place on this day in 1924 at Hampden.

27,000 were there to see the action and the feeling among the fans was that Rangers were favourites. They certainly started the better against a Celtic defence sometimes all at sea and made a lot of chances. The only one that counted, though , was the equaliser by Alan Morton in 32 minutes, Patsy Gallacher having opened the scoring for Celtic with a header.

Shortly into the second half, Willie McStay grabbed what would prove to be the winner after a goalmouth scramble and then, alongside his brother Jimmy and John McFarlane, formed a defensive line which Rangers could not breach.

The final score was Celtic 2 Rangers 1.

The Celtic Team – Shaw, McNair, Hilley, W McStay, J McStay, McFarlane, Connolly, Gallacher, Cassidy, A Thomson, McGrory.

Jim Craig

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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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