We’re on the road to Cathkin Park – Celtic’s away venues

The fourth away ground visited by Celtic has a name that lives on, though the venue itself has long since disappeared. It was also a location which has witnessed some historic Bhoys’ moments.

Cathkin Park was the home to Third Lanark. But this is not the public park in Glasgow’s southside which continues to hold that title. Instead, the original Cathkin was located to the north of this site. The east side of the pitch would have ran along modern day Warren Street, between Dixon Road and Allison Street.

Modern view of the original Cathkin Park
Modern view of the original Cathkin Park

Third Lanark played at this venue until 1903 when they moved to what was then known as New Cathkin Park, although eventually the ‘New’ was dropped from the name.

On 22 August 1888, Celtic went to the first Cathkin Park for a friendly against Third Lanark’s ‘Warriors’. On a “beautifully fine” night, 3000 fans were attracted to watch what proved to be an exciting encounter.

The match could not have started better for Celtic. Their pressure forced Ferguson of Third Lanark to head the ball into his own net. But the Bhoys let the lead slip straight from kick off as the home fans cheered a quick equaliser. As half-time drew near, Willie Groves shot a stunning goal from distance, meaning that Glasgow’s Irishmen claimed a 2-1 lead at the interval.

Once again, this advantage proved to be short lived. Within five minutes of the restart, Third Lanark were back on level terms thanks to their forward Johnstone. And within minutes, they had gone one better, as Thomson made it 3-2 to the home team.

Celtic pressed for an equaliser but in doing so, left their defence exposed. Thomson grabbed another to make it 4-2 and give his team breathing space. Attack after attack came from the Celts, but to no avail. Just as the fans and team were losing hope, Willie Groves scored again – only to see it disallowed for offside. When the Celts did get a third (scorer not recorded) it was almost the last kick of the ball.

Celtic had lost 4-3. This was a notable piece of history as it was the first away game that the Bhoys ever lost (the team’s first ever defeat was a 4-3 reverse when hosting Clyde at Celtic Park).


The original Cathkin was also witness to numerous Celtic cup finals, albeit with a mixed record. The club’s best competition was the Glasgow Charity Cup. On the two occasions that Bhoys played in a Cathkin final, they won both (4-0 versus Rangers in 1895 and 5-2 against St Mirren in 1903).

Glasgow Charity Cup
Glasgow Charity Cup

The Bhoys’ Glasgow Cup record at Cathkin was less impressive. In seven cup finals played at the ground, Celtic won only two of these (7-1 against Clyde in 1892, one part of Celtic’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of cups; and 2-0 versus Rangers in 1895).

However, far and away the Bhoys’ most famous match at the first Cathkin Park came in 1902. Following the Ibrox disaster of that year, a ‘British League Cup’ – also nicknamed the Coronation Cup – was held, pitching Celtic, Rangers, Sunderland and Everton against each other.

British League Cup

Celtic eased into the final with a 5-1 win over Sunderland, whilst Rangers needed a replay to get past Everton. On 17 June 1902, the Glasgow teams met at Cathkin Park. After a 2-2 draw in normal time, extra-time was played. With only 30 seconds left, Jimmy Quinn completed his hat-trick to give Celtic the win.

The prize that Celtic received is a source of amusement to this day. Rangers put up the trophy for the final, and it had originally been given to them after they beat Celtic to win the 1901 Glasgow Exhibition Cup. So this trophy, which is still at Celtic Park, is engraved with Rangers’ name as winners, and not Celtic’s!

Map – old
map – new

Matthew Marr

Follow Matthew on Twitter @hailhailhistory

Click on cover to order hardback copy.

Matthew’s debut Celtic book titled ‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ was published by Celtic Star Books earlier this year and is available to order HERE or you can pick up a copy at any official Celtic store. 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.

1 Comment

  1. Mr James A Burns on

    I was at a snowy Cathkin as a 17 around 1967…can’t remember the score, good memories though.