On this day in 1888: Chaos as the Bould Bhoys play their first match at Easter Road

On this day in 1888: Chaos as the Bould Bhoys play their first match at Easter Road…

Things would not be so pleasant the following Saturday, 20 October 1888, as Celts paid their first visit to Edinburgh and Easter Road, with a side including several who had previously plied their trade with – or pledged their support to – opponents Hibernian. The fixture was billed as a friendly, however, given the bad blood between the two clubs at this time, it would turn out to be anything but that.

Celts emerged to a storm of jeering and insults which would not let up all afternoon. Former Hibernian skipper, Jimmy McLaren was missing from the Celtic line-up, as was Tom Maley, the latter’s brother Willie and John O’Connor taking their places.

The men who turned out on this historic occasion in the white shirts of Celtic were as follows:

Mick Dunning;

James McLaughlin & Mick McKeown;

Paddy Gallagher, James Kelly & Willie Maley;

Neil McCallum, Johnny Coleman, Willie Groves, Mick Dunbar & John O’Connor.

Former Hibernian inside-forward Johnny Coleman opened the scoring for his new club within 10 minutes, whilst another Easter Road favourite of the past, Mick Dunbar, piled on the agony with a double before the break, the first the subject of an offside claim which heightened the tension around the stadium.

This would manifest on the hour mark, as several hundred home supporters ploughed on to the pitch behind Mick Dunning’s goal.

Celtic players found themselves surrounded on the field as the situation threatened to get out of hand, a full 10 minutes elapsing before order was restored. Shortly afterwards, apparently with the blessing of officials from the two clubs, the referee then blew for full-time with a further 10 minutes of the original 90 still remaining. This provoked another burst of tempers flaying, with the hosts looking to play on and Celts trying to get the hell out of Dodge as quickly as possible.

It had been a difficult afternoon all round.

Matt Corr

*Extract from Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys by Liam Kelly (Founding Fathers), Matt Corr (Celtic’s First Season) and David Potter (Early Celtic Stars).

About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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