Even amongst the experienced players in my time at Parkhead, there was always a feeling of, well perhaps not excitement, probably more anticipation, at times like this.
Two days before a European night at home, the press full of coverage about the match – and unlike in those days, with only one Scottish team in Europe to write about – and every fan you came across keen to talk about the match and wish you all the best. What player could fail to be affected by that?
It made you all the more determined to win the match, not just to prove your own ability and for the prestige of the club but to brighten up the lives of the fans packing into the ground. They will be there in vast numbers on Thursday evening; now we just need every player in the Hoops to give his all and we could take another step on an amazing journey.
ON THIS DAY
In the early 1930s, Celtic and Motherwell seemed to have a remarkable affinity. In 1931, the teams had met in the final of the Scottish Cup, the first match ending in a 2-2 draw in front of a crowd of 104,863 at Hampden, an own goal by the Steelmen’s centre-half Alan Craig giving Celtic the equaliser in the final minute.
Four days later, with 94,509 watching, Celtic put the pressure on and won comfortably by 4 goals to 2, with Bertie Thomson and Jimmy McGrory each getting a brace.
Two years after that, in 1933, the teams again in the final, this time Celtic winning by a single goal with a certain McGrory getting the crucial strike, with 102,339 present.
Even more unusually, on this day in 1932, the two sides were drawn together at the 3rd round stage of the Scottish Cup. Celtic had already disposed of Falkirk in round one (3-2) and St Johnstone in round two (4-2) and although they would have to travel to Fir Park for the game, the papers of the time seemed pretty sure that they would prove to be too strong for Motherwell.
Jimmy McGrory had been missing for four matches with a knee problem but was brought back for this match. Unfortunately, the knee went again – and in the first half too – Celtic having to play with only 10 men for most of the encounter. It was too much of a task.
Motherwell scored twice, the first after 22 minutes, the second 15 minutes from the end and Celtic were out of the Scottish Cup. And just to make things worse for Celtic, the Motherwell star man was inside-right John McMenemy, son of the great Jimmy, a young man of 24 who had played 16 matches for Celtic between 1925 and 1928. Unfortunately, the Fir Park fans’ euphoria did not last long, as Motherwell exited the competition in the following round, losing by the same score to Rangers at Ibrox.
As for Jimmy McGrory, well the knee took quite a long time to heal and he only played one more match that season, the final game of the league campaign against Partick Thistle at Firhill on April 30th. And I just know the question you are dying to ask – did he score. The answer is no! Malky MacDonald got the goals in the 2-0 win.
THE CELTIC STAR PODCAST FEATURING INSPIRAL CARPETS’ CLINT BOON, LISTEN NOW!
This week, Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham are joined by Inspiral Carpets’ Clint Boon, who wrote a classic song that will forever be associated with the club’s invincible treble-winning campaign – ‘This is How it Feels’.
Crafted by Clint in the late eighties, ‘This is How it Feels’ became one of Inspiral Carpets’ biggest hits upon its release in 1990. This song became a Madchester classic, and renditions have previously rang out at the city’s Old Trafford and Main Road stadiums. Now, in homage to Brendan Rodgers’ quest to lead Celtic to ten consecutive league titles in-a-row, the tune has travelled to Glasgow for a reworking by those renowned tunesmiths, The Green Brigade.
But what does Clint Boon think of Celtic’s version of his melancholic slab of genius? The Oldham-born psychedelic organ-grinder joins A Celtic State of Mind to chat about ‘This is How it Feels’, Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield, Noel Gallagher, Lee Mavers, Morrissey, Mark E Smith and more in Episode 34 of The Celtic Star podcast.