As the Cup Final looms and the Treble Treble opportunity gives us a wink and flashes a bit of leg, YokerBhoy takes a minute to look back and see how previous encounters with the Mini Huns from the land of Salt-n-Sauce have worked out for the Hoops…
If you know your History
With the Scottish Cup Final just around the corner,I thought it might be fun to provide a light-hearted historical piece as a temporary relief and alternative to continuously lamenting last Sunday’s fiasco or fretting and debating about who our manager should or is likely to be next season.( latest rumours suggest Davie Moyes or AN Other – please be AN Other – Ed)
Some time back (it was even before the semi-finals were played) something suddenly struck me. “By Gosh!”, I thought to myself, “I’m sure we’ve never played Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final in my living memory”. Feeling quite intrigued by that idea, I decided to delve into the archives to see what I could discover. True enough, although we’ve played in three SC finals gainst the baloons in maroon, all of those events took place well before I was born, the first two coming about during the prehistorical footballing era while I’m sure that a few of the senior readers and posters on the blog will still have vivid memories of the last one played in 1956. If that’s the case, I’d love to read any remarks or anecdotes about this final that you might care to post below.
Needless to say, there is only filmed footage in the form of black and white newsreel highlights of the last of the three finals and, had we won, I’d have have attempted to post them on the blog but sadly that wasn’t the case so I didn’t bother in the end. They are readily available on YouTube, however, and Bob Danver-Walker’s stiff upper lip comically dated commentary is always fun to listen to.
I’ll begin with the facts and figures and then go on to give honorary mentions to some of the great players who competed in those historical fixtures.
Scottish Cup Final season 1900-01 Venue: Ibrox Park Attendance: 15,000
Hearts 4 Celtic 3
Scorers: Hearts: Porteous, Bell (2), Thomson
Celtic: McOustra, Quinn, McMahon
Celtic line-up: McCarthur; Davidson, Battles; Russel, Loney, Orr; McOustra, Divers, Campbell, McMahon, Quinn
Scottish Cup Final season 1906-07 Venue: Hampden Attendance: 50,000
Celtic 3 Hearts 0
Scorers: Orr (pen), Somers (2)
Celtic line-up: Adams; McCleod, Orr; Young; McNair, Hay; Bennet, McMenemy, Quinn, Somers, Templeton.
Scottish Cup Final season 1955-56 Venue. Hampden Attendance: 132,840
Hearts 3 Celtic 1
Scorers: Hearts: Crawford (2), Conn
Celtic line-up: Beattie; Meechan, Fallon; Smith, Evans, Peacock; Craig, Haughney, Mochan, Fernie, Tully
This final must have been one hell of a game but unfortunately I couldn’t find any newspaper reports of it onlline. Some very famous players were involved.
Goalscorers Sandy McMahon and Jimmy Quinn need no introduction and are huge Celtic legends with tremendous goal-scoring records. The other man in Hoops to get himself on the scoresheet was one Willie McOustra who did well for Celtic in the inside right position before going on to play for Manchester City for 5 seasons.
Our left back that day was the appropriately named Barney Battles (he was a real battler), who was often deployed as a half-back and died a tragic premature death aged only 30 due to pneumonia. At left half Willie Orr strutted his stuff although he usually featured as a left back and this fine player had great leadership qualities, captaining the Celts to 3 league titles and 2 Scottish Cups. Forward John Divers had a fine scoring record and was the first of three forwards of that same name that would be successful at Paradise. This one was no relation to the other two who were father and son with similar levels of success in the 1930s and 1950s/60s respectively.
This resounding victory must have been extremely satisfying for the tims among the 50,000 crowd and we can see that Jimmy Quinn and Willie Orr were the only two of our players to feature in both finals against the Jambos.
Alec McNair was a briliant player who excelled in a variety of positions but made the right back slot his own after Donny McLeod left in 1908. He was a precise tackler with impressive dribbling ability. who had such a composed demeanour that he was nicnamed “The Icycle”. Willie Maley described him as ‘the coolest and most intelligent player I have ever seen’.
At left half, James Hay was a solid, strong-tackling, no-nonsense type of player who captained the most successful side of that era in five seasons of the famous 6-in-a-row feat at the beginning of the century.
Inside left Peter Somers, who bagged a brace in this final, had multiple footballing attributes. A natural goalscorer with a gift for cultured footwork, he was also a great reader of the game and blessed with superb passing ability. Nicknamed “The Powder Monkey”, he was another who suffered a tragically premature death from cardiac failure 10 days after undergoing an operation for gangrene.
Now we come to my favourite, Jimmy McMenemy (aka Napoleon), who not only bore a striking physical resemblance to the cocky Corsican but was also an excellent on the field commander, taking great delight in outwitting and crushing his opponents. He possessed immense awareness, vision and football intelligence. This guy had a marvelously long playing career and when he finally left us to join Partick Thistle, it was he who led the Jags to their only ever Scottish Cup triumph the following year at the age of 41.
Worth a mention too is Hearts’ prolific striker Bobby Walker, who featured in both finals.
Only a year before the famous 7-1, a star-studded Celtic side had a complete off-day in front of a huge crowd at Hampden Park. Admittedly, it was the two Edinburgh sides and the old huns who were dominating the Scottish scene at that particular time. Hibs with their “famous five” strike force would have been something else but the Hearts team selected for this final was also saturated with famous names. In addition to the colourfully animated commentary mentioned above, it’s worth watching the newsreel video if only to see how Mike Haughney clearly kicks the ball out of the Hearts’ goalie’s hands before going on to score. I thought that was pretty funny.
As you can see from the Celtic line-up, the side was full of legendary talismen so I thought I’d mention a couple of those who are less well-known.
Eric Smith was a very versatile player who was equally comfortable in the roles of half-back or winger. He was an all-action type who always relished the physical aspect of the game and always gave 110%.
Mike Haughney, our goal scorer played at inside right in this match but much more commonly played in the right back position. He scored in his debut in a 3-2 win against the huns in the Glasgow Charity Cup and his trademark penalty kicks were Roy Aitken style low blasts down the middle.
Interestingly, a 20 year old right winger called Willie Craig (he’s still alive today) made his debut for the Tic in that final but never appeared in the glorious hoops again. He must have had a shocker!
The Hearts team that day contained some great players such as midfielder Dave MacKay, who went on to enjoy huge success at Spurs; forward Alex Young, who did very well at Everton later in his career and goal-scoring winger Ian Crawford, who netted twice in this final and later went on to line up alongside Bobby Moore at West Ham in the early sixties.
The other Hearts man who found the net that day was none other than Alfie Conn Sr, father of the guy we remember so well from the 70s. The dad was an inside forward who was renowned for his energetic and tenacious style of play as well as his powerful shooting ability. Playing alongside Tynecastle giants Bauld and Wardhaugh, they came to be known as “The Terrible Trio”. A serious ankle injury sustained the following season curtailed his career, although he still managed to bang in quite a few goals for Raith Rovers three seasons later.
Well, I hope you found that little trip into ancient history interesting. As you will no doubt have ascertained by now, Saturday 25th May will not only be about securing a record-breaking treble Teble;
We also want to even the score on head to head cup final wins against a very unfriendly rival!