The East is Green – Two World Wars, Coronation Cup, 7-1 and ‘Brigton’

A second extract from The East as Green and this time we’re looking back at previous generations supporting Celtic. If you want a copy of The East is Green booklet details are provided below…


Celtic in the Two World Wars

The poppy and Celtic fans conflict, the club don’t make a big thing about it but according to statistics Celtic had 53 players to have fought in WW I and 7 players died, Arsenal and Manchester United had 22 and 14 respectively, Celtic had 22 players and staff members died in the WW II possibly unmatched elsewhere else.

Willie Angus welcomed back to Celtic Park – flanked by Willie Maley and James Kelly

That’s not to say Celtic are better than any other club nor should it be but it surprises a lot of people including some Celtic fans. Three Victoria Crosses are associated with the club former player and soldier Willie Angus, (although he never played but had been on the books), soldier, staff member and gatekeeper Robert Downie and Gorbals bhoy, soldier and supporter James Stokes.

Can you imagine if this was certain other clubs? It would be emblazoned on the front of their stand.  If the poppies were to commemorate two world wars fair enough but to expect Celtic fans to honour atrocities committed by some British soldiers in the land of our forefathers and various wars, no chance.

And on a lighter note…

Two Scottish soldiers were captured and were put before the firing squad and the Kommandant asked the first one if he had a last request, yes he said could hear Sidney Divine singing Tiny Bubbles he then asked the second soldier, he replied can you shoot me first.

The Coronation Cup, 1953 

I have some of the programmes of this tournament in the house the one for the first round against Arsenal it’s like an old issue of the Rangers Supporters Association annual red, white and blue and Queen’s picture in the middle. I’m surprised they never had her wearing a Rangers scarf.

If ever a trophy was made for them this was it, the thing is can you imagine if they had won it, it would be brought out annually decked out in the colours celebrated and a sworn allegiance to the monarch ceremony taking place on the park.

Well it never happened and in the final at Hampden an excellent Hibs side were the opponents and had been champions the two previous seasons and had goal difference rather than goal average been used to separate them from Rangers, with whom they tied on points, they would have been champions again. Rangers were double winners that year but where were our beloved Hoops?

Eighth in the league and out of both cups, Rangers have been kicked in the balls many times and often self-inflicted but for them not to win this trophy dedicated to the lady they claim to be so loyal to was bad enough, Man U, Arsenal or Spurs or anyone for that matter except us!

Not only win it but keep it for ever by the way, No! No! No! you can’t have another chance we’ve got it to keep, it must have been very hard to swallow, should be mentioned that in the Arsenal game Bobby Collins scored directly from a corner kick no mean feat considering the weight of the balls back then.

Seven – One, 1957 and Bridgeton/Brigton

One of the few people I’ve ever met who was at this game was Jim Johnston. He said he bought a new raincoat that morning by the time he got home there was not a single button left on it. An old bluenose pal Adam Love, big lanky Adam, lived in Easterhouse but was born and bred in Bridgeton/Brigton.

Every Saturday night his old man gave the family a treat by taking them to the local cinema, this evening a few hours after the glorious Seven-One game there was a pub on Main Street, Brigton on the window there was an elaborate and colourful artist impression of an old-style barrel of beer exalting this brand.

Adam was about seven-year-old at the time, as they approached the pub a body came flying through the window backwards and at height, he landed on the pavement right in front of Adam’s family and the shattered glass all around him a couple of seconds later a Celtic scarf came flying out and landed on top of him. He must have been either too drunk to realise where he was or deliberately went in to wind them up but the way he exited that pub at least four of them must swung him 1-2-3 and out you go.

Patrick MaGubbin was a Celt from Brigton and an amateur boxer but let’s face it you’re never going to go very far in boxing with a name like Pat Magubbin least not in Glasgow! The thing was see, Pat’s gub had been patted in many times, he said to his trainer one night when taking a right doing “Ye’ll need tae git me ootay here” his trainer says you’re all right son he hasn’t laid a glove on you yet an’ Pat goes “Well keep an eye on that referee cause some bugger’s knocking hell ootay me”.  His manager, Joe McCann an entrepreneur and small café owner never one to miss an opportunity had “Eat at Joe’s Café” painted on the soles of Pat’s boots.

Bridgeton “Brigton” is known for loyalist parades and such but it’s not all orange one of the oldest Celtic clubs was the Bridgeton Emmet, when that guy Campbell murdered a young Celtic fan there were some big Celtic families from the area, that night they got together and went round the Rangers pubs the Cactus, the Mermaid and others looking for him, on seeing this the Rangers fans in the pubs held their hands up and said “Nothing to do with us, if we get our hands on him before you do he’s getting a kicking before we hand him in” Fair play to them.

An old Gers fan, I never think of 1957 (7-1 game) I’m not that senile. The Valentine and Niven comedy show even more scary was that the ‘’Horrors’’ (Celtic) hit the woodwork four times that day.

There was a period in the seventies in Brigton and elsewhere when the plain clothes police went around in a transit bus and conducted stop and search if there were any more than two of you. If you asked if they had a warrant, you were invited to Tobago Street and they would get one and then they would find something on you.

The Hole In The Wall Gang usually refers to a gang breaking into premises during the 70s. A well known loyalist terrorist group was active in Glasgow at this time and fearing the police could raid their houses one of them thought a good place to hide their dynamite would be the oven in the Brigton Apprentice Boys hall in Landressy Street. The following night serious damage was done to a wall when someone lit the oven to heat the pies for a social event!

A second extract from The East is Green by Brian McAuley

READ OUR FIRST EXTRACT…Celtic Supporters – The East is Green

The East is Green is a self published booklet written by life-long Celtic supporter Brian McAuley, who has also personally designed so many Celtic Supporters Club badges and many of them will be shown on The Celtic Star as we serialise this brilliant little book. Running to just over 100 pages it’s a great insight into supporting Celtic and attending games stretching as far back as the 1950s to the modern day.

As we have done previously with Jerry Woods’ brilliant To Lisbon and Back on a Fiver, we’re happy to put any reader in touch with Brian and he’s post and package you a copy of The East is Green for the very reasonable cost of £5 including postage. Just drop an email to and we’ll make the necessary introductions.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch looking for a copy of The East is Green, everyone has now been contacted and Brian will be posting out your copy. Here are some of Brian’s other designs for Celtic Supporters Clubs banners and flags.

More from The East is Green tomorrow only on The Celtic Star, the Celtic supporters website… 


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

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