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1953-05-20: Celtic 2-0 Hibernian, Coronation Cup Final
|Match Pictures | Coronation Cup | 1952 - 1953 | 1952-53 pictures|
- Cross UK competition to celebrate the new Queen!
- Irony for the establishment as the two teams who made the final were the two Irish (and generally anti-monarchist) sides, Celtic & Hibs!
- Match is celebrated in the famous Celtic song: Coronation Cup song.
Match In the final at Hampden Park Celtic met the outstanding Hibs side who had been league champions in the two previous seasons, and had goal difference rather than goal average been used to separate them from Rangers, with whom they had tied on points, they would have won the League in the current 1953. They were at full strength for this game and were the top dogs for the title with their "Famous Five" frontline.
The pitch was heavily damp after heavy rain the previous day. Still the pitch was playable enough.
Mochan, who had joined the club from Middlesbrough, scored a magnificent goal from long range after 28 minutes. It was around 35 yards out from goal, a wonderful shot.
For almost the entire second half, Hibs laid siege to the Celtic goal, with the Easter Road Famous Five in full flow.
Only keeper Johnny Bonnar stood between Hibs and victory. He broke the hearts of the Hibs players with a series of magnificent saves, especially from Bobby Johnstone and Eddie Turnbull. One report described his goalkeeping as "bordering on the miraculous", and thousands of Celtic fans congregated at the front entrance to chant his name.Surprisingly only weeks before Celtic had tried to buy a goalkeeper from Morton to replace him. Thankfully that fell through.
With just three minutes remaining, Jimmy Walsh scored the second, Celtic coming out the winners 2-0 before 117,060 spectators.
For a Celtic side in the doldrums this was a great pick-me up. The club had floundered for many years since the start of the Second World War, and it was hoped this was help to regain our pride. It was a booster for the club and laid the foundations to push us ahead to land the double of league championship and cup in 1953-54; we valiantly fought to win that coveted double. It was a wonderful purple patch which sadly wasn't to last, but made a lasting impression on Jock Stein which likely ingrained in him the importance of the domestic cups to act as a platform for later success [the Scottish Cup victory of 1965 is said to have been the platform that created the glory years ahead].
The winning Celtic team pose with the Coronation Cup:
(back row, l-r)
Trainer Alex Dowdells, Mike Haughney, Alex Rollo, John Bonnar, John McPhail, Bobby Evans, Charlie Tully, manager Jimmy McGrory;
(front row, l-r)
Bobby Collins, James Walsh, Jock Stein, Neil Mochan, Bertie Peacock, Willie Fernie
Bonnar, Haughney, Rollo, Evans, Stein, McPhail (J), Collins, Walsh, Mochan, Peacock, Fernie.
Scorers:- Mochan, Walsh (88).
Younger, Govan, Paterson, Buchanan, Howie, Combe, Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull, Ormond.
Final:- Hampden Park.
Quotes & AnecdotesQ: Was the victory an important one for Celtic?
A: (Jock Stein) The important thing for the Club and the players was that the Club had played in many of these competitions. There was a Victory Cup, there was the Exhibition Cup in 1938, and then this Coronation Cup. Each time a Cup had been put up for competition we had won it and this time round, we had win it well. Luckily, -if you want to say that - the following year 1953-54 we won the League and Cup and obviously that was a very good season for us. It was a long time since Celtic had won the League before that.
Jock Stein on the Coronation Cup
1) When John "Jackie" Gallacher picked up his gear from Celtic Park on 13 July 1951 (he was leaving the club), he gave the trainer Alex Dowell's a gold watch inscribed with thanks. Celtic scored the second goal in the Coronation Cup final v Hibs (20 May 1953) with 2 mins to go. Alex leapt up in the air, threw his arms in the air and the watch came flying off and went into the crowd! It was never seen again!
- Background and details of the Coronation Cup
- I Was There... Coronation Cup Final
- I Was There...Homepage
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