Sign in or
Hopeless and Rudderless - A Decade of Decline (1940-50)
In 1938 your average Celtic fan had plenty to be cheerful about as the club celebrated its Golden Jubilee by claiming its 19th league title and the Empire Exhibition Trophy. With talents such as Crum, Delaney and MacDonald the future looked silver lined. However, by the dawn of 1940 legendary manager Willie Maley had departed Celtic and war, not football, dominated the thoughts of all.
The war years were tough for all but while most Scottish clubs adopted a resilient “the show must go on” attitude the Parkhead board failed miserably in their task of maintaining standards at Celtic. The Bhoys, like most other teams, lost key players to the forces, but while others keenly recruited guest players from servicemen stationed in Scotland the Celtic board were seemingly indifferent in helping new boss Jimmy McStay loan fresh talent.
In contrast Rangers were fiercely pro-active in holding on to and recruiting top players. Indeed this loyal and quintessentially British club would play the ‘Orange Card’ to secure their players’ employment in Glasgow’s sectarian ridden shipyards, thus ensuring they saw more service on the playing field than the battlefield.
As stated Celtic were ridiculously reluctant in using guest players. While Morton fielded England greats Stanley Mathews and Tommy Lawton, Celtic turned away Matt Busby when the Lanarkshire-born Hoops fan eagerly offered his services to the Bhoys.
Such a bewildering policy saw Celtic struggle throughout the war years and consequently the club would lose momentum and direction. This short-sighted approach would haunt the club for years. Rangers and Hibernian retained strong squads during the war years and would dominate Scottish football for years afterwards. By 1948 the rot was well set at Parkhead and while Rangers and Hibs were battling it out for league titles Celtic were fighting the real prospect of relegation.
Magnificent but sporadic triumphs in the 1950s couldn’t disguise the damage caused by the neglect of the previous decade. It would take the arrival of Jock Stein as manager in 1965 before Celtic finally regained the upper hand. Between 1945 and 1965 Celtic claimed just one league title – Rangers won 10.
The mismanagement of the 1940s saw Celtic become also rans in Scottish football for most of the next 20 years and enabled Rangers to create a dynasty of success and establish themselves as Scotland’s leading club. Sadly for Celtic fans it was a mistake those in the boardroom would not learn from.
- Celtic & World War Two
- Jimmy McStay (Celtic Manager 1940-45)
- Victory In Europe Cup (1945)
- Victory Cup (1946)
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, May 27 2011, 5:15 PM EDT
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
32 words added
1 image added
- complete history)
Keyword tags: None
More Info: links to this page