The Scottish Cup – Celtic’s Favourite Trophy – Book Review

Book Review: The Scottish Cup – Celtic’s Favourite Trophy by David Potter   

If you’re a Celtic supporter thinking of reading a book this week, then a combination of the fairytale club, the world’s oldest national trophy and the legend that is David Potter was always going to be a winning combination.

David Potter’s latest offering – The Scottish Cup – Celtic’s Favourite Trophy – is another wonderful trip back through the years to discover the triumphs and tragedies associated with Scotland’s oldest football competition. The timing is perfect, as we look forward to the latest instalment in the story next month, Celts facing Hearts in a repeat of the Treble Treble final of May 2019.

That, of course, is one of the matches featured, however, the journey starts back in the first season of our existence – on 1.9.88 no less – as Shettleston visit the original Celtic Park in our very first Scottish Cup tie, just three months after the club had commenced playing football. The Celtic side that afternoon featured men who had won the trophy with Hibernian some 18 months earlier, a victory that would be key to the very founding of Celtic in late 1887. The Bould Bhoys, incredibly, would go all the way to the Scottish Cup final in that inaugural season, finally winning the cup in 1892 by defeating the establishment club Queen’s Park. They have carried on doing so pretty much ever since, a record of one win every three campaigns over a 130 year-period leaving the rest of Scottish football trailing in our wake.

As David Potter takes you through that inspirational record, you can see how the Scottish Cup has uniquely defined players, managers and indeed eras from Maley to Lennon. There was the Jimmy Quinn final of 1904, when the Bould Bhoy from Croy scored a hat-trick to turn a two-goal deficit against Rangers into a trophy success. Between the wars, we had the incredible somersault finish from Patsy Gallacher, the goals and last-minute rescue acts from the great McGrory, and the largest club attendance ever outside Brazil, as almost 150,000 supporters watched Celts beat Aberdeen in 1937, with the wonderful Delaney to the fore.

Post-war, we had the sight of John McPhail breaking the trophy drought for McGrory the manager and our long-suffering support in 1951, followed by the Double-winning captain Jock Stein three years later. David then turns from club historian to witness as he brings his own recollections of the last 60 years, Birthday Bhoy Charlie Gallagher setting up Cesar to commence the glory years in April 1965, as grown men cried, McNeill then starting the routes of Rangers in 1969 and Hibernian three years later – the Dixie final, my own personal favourite – before ending his fabulous career shoulder-high in that same arena after a Paul Wilson double against Airdrieonians ensured his last match would end as so many had before. Billy would return to lift the old cup three times as a Celtic manager, including that never-to-be-forgotten day in May 1988 when the fairytale club delivered a magical Centenary Double.

That same Airdrieonians would provide the opposition once again in 1995, at a vastly changed national stadium, as Tommy Burns and Paul McStay hugged on the Hampden pitch, Pierre’s early header ending the latest trophy drought as the foundations were put in place for the decades of dominance to follow. Then we had Martin, Henrik and a second Treble, WGS at the Double and Neil bringing the thunder back, whilst Brendan Rodgers’ Invincibles took us into new territory with back-to-back Trebles before French Eddie made that a hat-trick.

And to enjoy the highs you have to have endured the lows. From the Victorian debacle at Arthurlie to a modern-day catastrophe in Cumbernauld, SuperCaley and countless Hampden heartbreaks as the dream died, David covers it all. From St Bernard’s to St Johnstone, the path to those finals is described in detail, year by year, stirring a thousand memories of a cup we still revere. Lean Years and Great Days, to borrow David Potter’s own words.

So, a veritable feast of fabulous Celtic content on which David Potter can work his magic, taking the reader back onto those terracings, Hail Hail, rain or shine to relive the moment, and recall those you shared it with. There is nothing quite like a Potter description of an occasion and the context behind it. He is a Celtic treasure chest to be savoured and enjoyed.

The Scottish Cup – Celtic’s Favourite Trophy is available now via Pitch Publishing  and is another valuable addition to the Celtic collection. It is the definitive book on our relationship with this historic competition. Do yourself or the Celtic supporter in your life a favour…

Matt Corr

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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