Relegation D-Day for Celtic!

SEVENTY years ago the thought of Celtic winning 7 in a row would have been a very unlikely dream, the facts were that Celtic might actually be relegated.

During the run of the Celtic Show at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow in 2002, I had arranged to meet my brother in Molly Malones for a drink after the show.

My brother Benny had tickets to the show and I was in the pub listening to one of my other brothers, George signing.

After the show finished the bar started to fill up with the theatre goers, but amongst the new arrivals in Molly Malones was a man who had written his name into the Celtic history books.

In 1948 Celtic came perilously close to relegation from the top flight of Scottish football, a poor season had meant that Celtic needed to win their final match of the season – away to Dundee – to guarantee their top flight survival.

The club had just suffered three heavy defeats to Hibs (2-4) and Third Lanark twice (1-5, 1-3) conceding 12 goals, leaving us with the mathematical possibility of being relegated if we lost at Dens Park.

Jock gave Celtic an early lead with 14 minutes gone but Dundee equalised just before half-time. Then after the re-start, Dundee went two-one up to sink the hearts of the large Celtic support.

However Jock Weir popped up with an equaliser, and with only minutes to go Weir miraculously grabbed a winner in the final two minutes to seal an historic Celtic hat-trick.

The Celtic fans celebrated as if we had just won the league. It shouldn’t hide the fact that Celtic were poor, but humiliation was averted.

In the end other results went the way of Celtic and the 3-2 victory turned out to be an added bonus. But this was the closest Celtic had ever come to being relegated.

Jock had been the special guest at the Celtic Show earlier in the evening. There was an announcement in the bar that an ex-Celt was there and he had brought along his Scottish Cup winning medal from 1951.

My brother waited for the small group of supporters to clear and he went over to speak to Jock and his wife.

Jock told Benny about being part of the first Post war Celtic team to win a major honour when they beat Motherwell 1-0 in the final. Jock showed his medal which turned out to be his only major honour during his career with Celtic.

Benny then asked him about the crunch match of 1948 against Dundee. Jocks eyes lit up as he shared the story of his goal scoring hat-trick on the final day of the season.

“One with my left, one with my right and one with my head” the perfect hat-trick to win the match and guarantee safety from relegation,” Jock recalled.

Over the years Celtic have had some world class goal scorers, from James McGrory and Jimmy Quinn to Bobby Lennox and Henrik Larsson, but those 3 goals from Jock Weir ensured Celtic maintained their unbroken status within the top flight of Scottish football which continuous to this day.

Martin Donaldson

Gimme Five! Celtic’s first ever Scottish Cup semi-final v Rangers

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

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