The story so far – Celtic versus a Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final

Celtic’s Scottish Cup Semi Finals versus a Rangers..

1892 Celtic 5 Rangers 3 at Old Celtic Park

1900 Celtic 4 Rangers 0 at Celtic Park, after 2-2 draw at Ibrox

1905 Celtic 0 Rangers 2 at Celtic Park

1925 Celtic 5 Rangers 0 at Hampden

1960 Celtic 1 Rangers 4, after 1-1 draw both at Hampden

1992 Celtic 0 Rangers 1 at Hampden

1996 Celtic 1 Rangers 2 at Hampden

1998 Celtic 1 Rangers 2 at “neutral” Celtic Park because Hampden was being renovated

2016 Celtic 2 Rangers * 2 (Rangers won 5-4 on penalties) at Hampden

2017 Celtic 2 Rangers* 0 at Hampden

2018 Celtic 4 Rangers* 0 at Hampden

2022 Celtic 1 Rangers* 2, aet at Hampden

David Potter’s Note: While I am aware of my readers’ sensitivities on this issue, I shall, for ease of reference use the term “Rangers” throughout.

*Editor’s note – These Celtic matches were against theRangers, the club formed by Charles Green in 2012 after Rangers failed to get a CVA and instead were liquidated with tens of millions in unpaid debts. Lest we forget.

It is remarkable how seldom Celtic and Rangers have met in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup. Twelve times since 1889 is not a huge number, given how successful the clubs have been.

There have been many years of course in which one or other of them has failed to reach that stage. Rangers in particular fell out of love with the Scottish Cup between 1903 and 1928, and between 1981 and 1992, and Celtic, although more successful than Rangers in the Scottish Cup over the years (40 wins as distinct from 33 and 1) have nevertheless had more than a few shockers at early stages – Arthurlie 1897, Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2000 and Clyde in 2006 spring to mind.

In addition, there was always the perception that if Celtic and Rangers were both in the semi-finals, they would be kept apart for the final. Such allegations are difficult to prove, but it has been noticeable that since the draw has been done openly on television, the two of them have been paired more often at the semi-final stage than previously! Incidentally, on the 14 times that they have reached the final together, the score is 7-7 – us in 1899, 1904, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1980, 1989 and them in 1894, 1928, 1963, 1966, 1973, 1999 and 2002.

Rangers are winning 7-5 in semis at the moment, but part of that is due to the 1990s, an era in which Rangers’ integrity must always be questioned by any chronicler of Ibrox history, and in any case, they were all narrow, odd goal affairs with that rainy night on 1992 a particular pain to recall.

Jimmy Quinn

No less painful is of course 2016 when missed chances during the 120 minutes and then the agony of a penalty shoot-out blew time on the reign of Ronnie Deila. Those of us who seem to think that adverse refereeing decisions are a new phenomenon should recall 1905 when the great Jimmy Quinn was sent off even when the honest Rangers defender Alec Craig pleaded on his behalf. 2022 was an accountably bad Celtic performance, possibly one of their very few that season – but Rangers* were simply quicker to the ball than Celtic were.

There are happier semi-finals as well. 1925 saw the mesmeric Patsy Gallacher at his best, as Celtic delivered a 5-0 thrashing to Rangers with 2 goals from Jimmy McGrory, 2 from Adam McLean and one from Alec Thomson. It was a triumph that was as comprehensive as it was unexpected in front of the first six-figure crowd for a game in Scotland other than the Scotland v England international. This triumph was much sung about for the next 40 years, and showed that the “Hello, Hello” motif was not the sole prerogative of Rangers…

“Hello, hello, we are the Timmalloys

Hello, hello, you’ll know us by the noise

We beat the Rangers in the Cup, ‘twas great to be alive

Not one, not two, not three, not four but five!

And of course, following the famous event of October 1957, Celtic fans were not slow to add on “and six” and “and seven”.

And then of course we go back to the days of Sandy McMahon and Johnny Campbell for the triumphs of 1892 and 1900, and in more recent years, in 2017 Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair (with a penalty) did the business, then in 2018, Tommy Rogic, Callum McGregor and two penalties awarded by the ever generous Bobby Madden and sunk by Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham saw Celtic home by 4-0. That was the day when the early bath got a bit crowded in the Rangers dressing room, for Andy Halliday was hooked by Manager Murty before half time, and Ross McCrorie was invited to join him by Bobby Madden soon after.

It is a fact that on each of the five occasions that we beat a Rangers in the semi-final, we went on to win the Scottish Cup, beating Queen’s Park in 1892, and then again in 1900, Dundee in 1925, Aberdeen in 2017 and Motherwell in 2018.

David Potter


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About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

1 Comment

  1. It was almost ” certain” we would get servco in the semi’s. Let’s get the job done BHOYS and enjoy the final
    Hail Hail. I am sure the other half would have preferred one of the other teams, as I have no fear playing the rangers, and prefer too beat them in the semi, and get rid of them!!