Kidnappings, riots, stand collapses, circuses, a new stadium, cup finals and much more; the story of Celtic’s original league-winning season was packed with incident…Please note that the launch date for the book has been confirmed as Friday 24th March and all pre-ordered copies will be signed by the author.
At Celtic Star Books, we take great pride in sharing the stories of the legendary players, teams and events which make up the incredible history of our club. From Kelly to Kyogo, and everything in between.
In our seventh publication – The Bould Bhoys! “Glory to their name,” which will be published on 24th March we follow the exploits of a wonderful early Celtic team in their attempt to win the Scottish League for the first time, with joy, controversy and intrigue every step of the way.
Author Matthew Marr picks up the story of our early Celtic heroes in the summer of 1892, three years down the line from Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys, our Autumn 2021 release which completely sold out on hardback and is now available on Amazon kindle. The fledgling club from Glasgow’s east end, established for the most noble of reasons, has won the prestigious Scottish Cup against all odds, beating the established order of the day, notably nine-time winners Queen’s Park. But there is unfinished business for The Bould Bhoys…
A new, season-long competition is up for grabs, the Scottish League Championship, viewed by many observers as a better test than the briefer knockout cup competitions to determine who is ‘the best in Scotland.’
What a cast of characters. Dan Doyle…Willie Maley…James Kelly…Johnny Madden…Sandy McMahon. Celts who thrilled our forefathers – “Glory to their name.”
The story of that season will now thrill you, as we reach the 130th anniversary of these events this spring. Matthew Marr will walk you through each twist and turn as it occurs, bringing the heroes to life and placing you at every match as Celtic strive to succeed back-to-back Scottish champions Dumbarton as the team at the top of the League, looking down on the others. The more things change…
If you love your Celtic history…then this is for you.
This fantastic new book from Celtic Star Books is published on St Patrick’s Day tells the full tale of the 1892-93 season. Written as a follow-up to the sold out ‘Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys’, this is the debut book for Celtic researcher Matthew Marr.
The Celtic Star: Thanks for joining us Matthew. How does it feel to have written a sequel to the hugely successful ‘Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys’ which was a best seller on Celtic Star Books?
Matthew Marr: “The first book was a great insight into Celtic’s earliest days; David Potter, Matt Corr and Liam Kelly [the authors]did a brilliant job bringing this story to life. The tale of the first league title follows on perfectly from this but until recently there has been little written about it. This May marks 130 years since that achievement so it’s the perfect time to publish and tell this story in all its glory.”
The Celtic Star: Can you pick any particularly exciting moments?
Matthew Marr: “Where do I start? Obviously you have the league victory, something which wasn’t sealed until late in the season. You have also – like nowadays – got controversy. This includes Celtic players being attacked by rival fans, stories connecting Celtic with a travelling circus and even a stand collapsing during one match. The book tells these tales, and many more too.”
The Celtic Star: Nowadays Celtic start each season expecting to win the title. In 1892, was it obvious they would do this?
Matthew Marr: “August 1892 was a strange time. The Bhoys should have been obvious league favourites after winning the ‘Holy Trinity’ of trophies the year before – Scottish Cup, Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Charity Cup. But most pundits wrote them off. There were stories that lots of players were going to leave and so Rangers tended to be the main tip for the title. Happily this wasn’t the case!”
The Celtic Star: Which games that proved to be crucial that season?
Matthew Marr: “Probably the key moment came in late-April. Celtic were a few points off Rangers and the Ibrox side were unbeaten. They looked uncatchable. However as Celtic hammered Third Lanark, Rangers lost to Dumbarton and momentum swung towards Celtic. A week later the Bhoys beat Rangers and there was then only going to be one winner.”
The Celtic Star: What sort of reaction did the fans have to winning the title?
Matthew Marr: “It was actually a strange response. The league was only three years old and the Scottish Cup was the most important trophy. Only 3000 people were at Celtic Park to see the Bhoys seal the title and there aren’t stories of fan parties, unlike when Celtic won other trophies. Even the club seemed to downplay the league achievement, not talking about it in the glowing terms you’d expect. However what matters is that it happened, setting the scene for future successes.”
The Celtic Star: Why is this such an important moment?
Matthew Marr: “It’s easy to think of the current Celtic and assume we were always guaranteed to be the biggest club in Scotland, however that’s not the case. In the late-1800s there were lots of clubs that would rise, fall and quickly disappear – but not Celtic. Early cup victories and league titles played a big part in this. They showed that Celtic were a match for the more established Scottish sides. In fact by the 1890s even many English newspapers talked about the Celts being Britain’s biggest club.”
The Celtic Star: Apart from the league triumph, was there any other notable Celtic footballing moments?
Matthew Marr: “The league success was the real high point. The cups were a different story – and often involved major arguments. Celtic reached three cup finals but only won one of these. In the Scottish Cup Final the Bhoys lost to Queen’s Park but in the absence of goal nets it was claimed Queen’s second goal didn’t actually go in!”
The Celtic Star: What about off the field?
Matthew Marr: “That’s another reason the season is so important, lots of changes took place that shaped the modern club. The most obvious was that Celtic moved to the existing Celtic Park site, building what was then the best ground in Britain. Brother Walfrid also left and then there were tensions about the club’s future and links with charity. Really, every part of the story is enthralling.”
The Celtic Star: If we could somehow bring the 1892-93 team to the modern day, who do you think would be the major fans’ favourites?
Matthew Marr: “Like nowadays, supporters are always going to be most attracted to the players that put the ball in the net. Sandy McMahon finished the season as top scorer and so he would have been a man with his own song. Although we’re lucky he played – he came close to leaving and there was even claims he’d been kidnapped! Johnny Campbell and Johnny Madden were the other main forwards so they’d have been loved too.”
The Celtic Star: And if you’d been one of the fans cheering on the Bhoys, who would have been your personal star?
Matthew Marr: “I’m showing my age here but as I get older I tend to favour midfielders, as they really shape the team’s overall performance. My favourite current player is Callum McGregor. On that basis I think in the 1890s I would have liked James Kelly. He was really at the heart of matters, playing almost every game and, as centre half (which meant central midfielder), he really dominated the team.”
The Celtic Star: Thanks for joining us Matthew. The book sounds fantastic and just the perfect gift for the Celt in your life, whether for Father’s Day, birthdays, or any other reason really!
To read the full story of Celtic’s first ever league title, buy the book The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name’, available now to pre-order from Celtic Star Books. The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name’ will be available in a beautifully produced hardback and also on Amazon kindle and is published of Friday 24 March 2023. Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys completely sold out in print and just before Christmas we published the kindle version of that book that has been hugely popular.
To pre-order Matthew Marr’s THE BOULD BHOYS! GLORY TO THEIR NAME – direct from Celtic Star Books please click on the image below or any of the book images above.