The story of early Celtic in Germany, as Scotland’s adventure begins in Munich

Scotland’s German adventure begins tonight in the opening match for Euro 2024. Here’s the story of early Celtic’s first German journey…

Many Celts are part of the Scotland Euro 2024 squad – and Celtic have other German connections too, including players like Thom and Hinkel.

But the club’s German links go back even further than this with Celtic’s first German journey taking place almost 120 years ago. In 1906 – two years after the club’s first continental trip – Celtic took part in a European tour, going to Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.

This was the first time that Europeans would see what are now the world-famous hoops. Celtic’s only previous continental tour had been in May 1904 – but the club did not introduce hoops to their strips until August 1904.

The Celts made the journey as Scottish Champions, having secured the 1905-06 title. This was the second of what would become six titles in a row, then a record.

There had been rumours of the tour’s cancellation, but the Celts left Scotland on the evening of Friday 18 May, travelling by train and boat. They took with them new signing, forward Bobby Templeton.

Celtic’s first stop was in Germany was Hamburg. Then on 24 May 1906, the Bhoys played their opening match. In an incredibly one-sided game, the Bhoys hammered VfB Leipzig by 9 goals to 1. The tour was off to a successful start!

Celtic’s second – and final – stop in Germany took them to the country’s capital city. On 26 May 1906, playing against Berliner Viktori, it was another comfortable win for the Scots, this time with a 4-1 margin.


On departing Germany, the Bhoys headed to Austria, going to the capital city of Vienna. On 27 May 1906, the Bhoys’ successful record continued versus Wiener Ramblers, the Glasgow men claiming a 7-0 victory.

Celtic’s Austrian visit lasted only for one game, and then the Bhoys headed to Bohemia (later Czechoslovakia).On 29 May 1906, the Scotsmen drew 3-3 with Slavia Prague, who were ran by former Celt Johnny Madden.

Madden is a legendary figure in Czech football, considered by many people to be the father’ of football in that region based on his experience managing club and international sides.

The next day (30 May 1906), Celtic faced an unusual opponent. Despite being in Prague, the Celts lined up against Newcastle United, who were also touring the continent. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

The destination for Celtic’s final two games was Budapest in Hungary. On 3 June 1906, Celtic hammered local team Magyar Budapest by 8-1.The next day, Celtic overcame Southampton (also touring Europe) 1-0.

Although the Celts were away, there was plenty of events at home to keep up fan interest, especially as it was difficult to find out details of the tour. Sports fans could still go to Celtic Park at this time, as numerous athletics and cycling events were held at Celtic Park when the Bhoys were on tour.

The timing of the trip also included one especially sad event. When the Bhoys were abroad, John Glass died in Saltcoats. Glass – Celtic’s former president – was one of the club’s most significant ever figures, arguably second only to Brother Walfrid in his efforts to set up the new team.

Celtic’s 1906 record in Germany read: played 2 games (2 wins); 13 goals scored, 2 conceded. The overall tour’s record was: played 7 games (5 wins, 2 draws); 34 scored, 9 conceded.

It would be a great achievement if Scotland could do similar!

Best of luck to Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Anthony Ralston, Greg Taylor and all their Scotland colleagues participating in Euro 2024.


Matthew Marr

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

Click on cover to order hardback copy for only £10 plus postage.

Matthew’s debut Celtic book titled ‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ was published by Celtic Star Books last year and is available to order HERE. This brilliant book is also available on Amazon Kindle for just £3.49 and includes all photo sections that appear in the hardback edition.

About Author

Matthew Marr first started going to see Celtic in the 1980s and has had a season ticket since 1992. His main Celtic interest is the club's history, especially the early years. In 2023, Matthew published his first Celtic book, telling the story of the Bhoys' first league title. He also runs Celtic history walking tours.

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