On the road to Blackstoun Park – Celtic’s fifth away venue

For Celtic’s fifth away venue, they made the relatively short journey to Paisley where they took on local side Abercorn…

This match took place at Blackstoun Park, a sports ground first in use by Abercorn in 1879. It was located just off Well Street, adjacent to a local gasworks, in the Lonewells area of the town. The ‘Abbies’ have a small part in Celtic history. On 1 August 1888, they were Celtic’s opponents as the Bhoys played in their first ever competitive match, the opening tie of the Glasgow Exhibition Cup.

Later that same month – on 23 August 1888 – the two sides again faced off, this time in Paisley. The match kicked off at lunchtime and was clearly an exciting one – it finished 4-2 to the men from Glasgow’s east end – but outwith the scoreline, very few details exist.

The reality was that Celtic were only a new team, and a friendly match against Abercorn was unlikely to ever attract notable coverage. As such, details of the game, such as scorers and the Celtic line-up, cannot be found.

At various times, Blackstoun Park was host to other games. From a Celtic perspective, the most notable was a Celtic reserves team playing in a local Paisley competition. However the main game held at the ground was surely a Scotland trials match. In the late-1800s, trial games were held as part of deciding which players would represent their country. In 1884 a fixture between the ‘Probables’ and ‘Improbables’ selected players for upcoming internationals.

However by the time Celtic made their appearance at Blackstoun, the ground had only limited time left as Abercorn’s home venue. The nearby gasworks wanted to expand their business, and this meant the space used for football was needed for other purposes. By August 1889, the Paisley men had moved a short distance to Underwood Park, which remained their home for ten years.

Matthew Marr

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

Click on cover to order hardback copy.

Matthew’s debut Celtic book titled ‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ was published by Celtic Star Books earlier this year and is available to order HERE for HALF PRCE in our winter sale, or alternatively you can pick up a copy at any official Celtic store. This brilliant book is also available on Amazon Kindle for just £3.49 and includes all photo sections that appear in the hardback edition.

About Author

Matthew Marr first started going to see Celtic in the 1980s and has had a season ticket since 1992. His main Celtic interest is the club's history, especially the early years. In 2023, Matthew published his first Celtic book, telling the story of the Bhoys' first league title. He also runs Celtic history walking tours.

Leave A Reply