7-1 55 Years today

Turning on the agony, putting on the style

And 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 scoring all the while …

Oh Hampden in the sun,
Celtic 7 Rangers I,
That was the score when it came time up,
The Glasgow Celtic had won the cup,

I see Tully running down the line,
He slips the ball past Valentine,
It”s nodded down by ‘Teazy Weazy’
And Wilson makes it look so easy


I see Mochan beating Shearer,
The League Cup trophy’s coming nearer,
He slams in an impossible shot.
The Rangers team has had their lot


Over comes a great high ball,
McPhail is up above them all,
The ball and Billy’s head have met,
A lovely sight ‘cos it’s in the net


Young Sam Wilson has them rocked,
Unluckily his shot is blocked,
Then big McPhail with a lovely lob,
Makes it look such an easy job,


Now here is Mochan on the ball,
He runs around poor Ian McColl
Georgie Niven takes a daring dive,
But Mochan makes it number five,


Down the middle runs Billy McPhail,
With Valentine right on his tail,
With a shot along the ground,
The cup’s at Parkhead safe and sound

Here comes Fernie, cool and slick,
He ambles up to take the kick,
He hits it hard and low past Niven,
The Tims are in their Seventh Heaven,


When Celtic went 3:0 up against Rangers in the 6:2 game, Ian Croker remarked in his his commentary for Sky that, “This is the stuff that Celtic dreams are made of”. Sorry Ian, but I’m plumping for the final score of the 1957 League Cup final, an eight goal thriller, the thought of which, even 55 years later (and for someone who hadn’t even been born at the time) still brings a smile and a cheery thought.

David Potter describes how, on 20th October 2001, “Celtic introduced some of the 7-1 team to the crowd before a Premier League game against Dundee United. Sadly, only four could attend. Beattie, Evans, Mochan and Tully had died, McPhail was ill, Donnelly lived in South Africa, Wilson declined the invitation and thus the remnants of that fine side were Sean Fallon, distinguished and venerable; Bobby Collins, instantly recognisable from his build; Willie Fernie, with a lot less hair and the dapper and elegant Bertie Peacock. Deservedly, Parkhead rose to them, forty years on.”

For a reminder of why, read the Herald’s match report by Cyril Horne (below) which revelled in the fact that skill will always win out over brute force. Plus ca change, as Zenedine Zidane might say.

And to begin our tribute to the 7:1 team, some reminiscences of a Celtic fan who watched the game from the Rangers end at Hampden which appeared in “Oh Hampden In The Sun”, an excellent book about the game by Peter Burns and Pat Woods (Mainstream Publishing, 1997).

Gerry Heaney watched the match from the Rangers end that day, and recalls the scene:

As the game progressed the atmosphere of antipathy and hostility increased. The singing and chanting was loud and bigoted. The leader of the choir in our area was a big fella who was decked out in a hand knitted sweater complete with the knitted figure of King Billy on the front. The Sash was belted out time and again, as was ‘No Surrender’. I can remember a few verses of these songs to this day! At one point we mouthed the words quietly to kid on we were on their side!

My memories of the game are quite sketchy (perhaps because we were scared), but I do recall several things. McPhail and Wilson were a dynamic duo. They played off each other so well. This is borne out by their goals and assists stats in 1957-58, and Sammy did not produce so well when Billy retired in ‘58.

Willie Fernie was a wizard of the dribble. His body swerve was classical and left defenders swinging at the air. Like Jinky, he at times overdid it and tried to take on too many.

The skill of Celtic – passing, dribbling, heading, shooting – was far superior to the Gers and proved that discipline in defence, plus creativity and directness in attack, is superior to power and force. The score could easily have been 12-1 or 13-1.

I remember the Celtic end erupting after every goal, but there wasn’t anything like the amount of green and white colours being waved as there are today. I don’t think scarves, hats and banners were so much in vogue in those days. You saw very few people wearing these, except at games, and even then it was a minority who did so, mainly kids. The cheering was as spontaneous and enthusiastic as I remember in later years, but there was not the singing of team songs or songs for individual players like there is now.

There was a lot of cheering at the Rangers end when Rangers scored but it wasn’t sustained. There was a lot of drinking around us and that maybe led to their optimism for a comeback, which didn’t transpire, of course.

My final memory of the 7-1 game is the bottle throwing and mass exodus of the Forces of Darkness. Hundreds of fans threw their bottles down from the top and the middle of the terraces towards the field, but they landed mainly on their own fans – youngsters for the most part. I saw many people jumping on to the track bordering the field to escape the rain of glass missiles from above.

Most of the terracing was clear of fans after goal number five went in. At that point John and I ‘came out of the closet’ and cheered loudly as the Celts scored two more goals.

At the end of the game we stayed with the rest of the Celtic fans, waving our scarves happily and cheering till we were hoarse.

What an experience! What a team! Those heroes are legends in my mind and I hope my sons will live to see a Celtic side of that quality.

The long walk back to Ruthergren that day was like the end of a pilgrimage – we waved our scarves proudly at every passing bus and car and chanted the magic number: ‘SEVEN, SEVEN, SEVEN, SEVEN … ‘

The euphoria continued over to school on Monday. We reviewed every goal in much detail and I was a bit of a celebrity because of my account of my foray into the Rangers end. I may have embellished the account somewhat, but it added to the excitement that we all felt on that day.

I also remember going to mass on the Sunday after the game and seeing Sean Fallon there (he was in our parish – St. Columbkille’s). Years later when I saw him he looked his normal size and build about 5’8”, 180 Ibs. But on that day after the 7-1 game he seemed like GI Joe the super hero. To us he had attained legendary status as a result of that game, as did the rest of the squad. The goalie that day was Beattie, and a few years later he was involved in the bribery scandal in England. I resisted criticising him then because he had been part of that band of stalwarts in ‘57.

Celtic’s seven goal Triumph in League Cup Final
From Our Football Correspondent: Cyril Horne


Eleven football players of Celtic Football Club did more in 90 minutes at Hampden Park on Saturday for the good of football than officialdom, in whose hands the destiny of the game lies, has done in years and years. For with a display of such grandeur as has rarely graced the great vast ground they proved conclusively the value of concentration on discipline and on the arts and crafts of the game to the exclusion of the so-called power-play which has indeed been a disfiguring weakness in the sport but which has frequently been accredited through the awarding of international honours to the “strong men”.


So devastating an effect had Fernie, the forward turned winghalf, on Rangers, who before the rout of Saturday were still considered as difficult opposition as could be found the length and breadth of the football land, that the Scottish international selectors must surely now be considering whether they should destroy forthwith the impression that certain players are indispensible for future internationals and build their sides round this wonderful footballer who achieves his purpose without the merest suggestion of relying on physique and who suffers the rude, unfair attempts of opponents to stop him without a thought of retaliation.

Though Rangers Football Club may not immediately be in the mood to agree, they cannot surel y in the near furure but decide to change their policy on tbe field. I am not one who is going to charge their players of Saturday with the ultimate responsibility for the club’s humiliation, badly as most of them performed. The culprits are those who have, encouraged by results at the expense of method, not discouraged the he-man type of game that has become typical of the side in recent years. I have seen Celtic teams in years gone by no better disciplined and no better equipped for their task from the point of view of skill than the present Rangers, but the Celtic management have long since realised that constructive football will in the end receive the greater reward.


Not since their brilliant Coronation Cup days at Hampden have Celtic played football of such quality. One recalls that in the 1953 triumph a slightly corpulent John McPhail played havoc with Arsenal, Manchester United
and Hibernian through masterly control and passing of the ball; now the younger, slimmer Billy McPhail has joined Fernie, Tully and company in the bewildering of Rangers by the same methods.

Valentine, not long ago a commanding figure on this same ground, was a forlorn bewitched centre-half on Saturday, repeatedly beaten in the air and on the ground in a variety of ways, and the disintegration of Rangers’ defence undoubtedly stemmed from McPhail’s mastery. But it did not begin with Valentine’s plight.

Celtic introduced Mochan to outside left and that player seized his opportunity as if it were his last. His pace and penetrative dribbling and apparently new-found zest for the game had Shearer in a dreadful dither almost from the first kick of the ball. So Shearer decided to test Machan’s physical strength and straightaway was decisively beaten in that respect too. Thereafter McColl was so busily engaged as an extra right-back that great gaps appeared on that side of the field.

In the first 20 minutes Celtic might have scored at least four goals and indeed were inordinately unlucky not to score at least two when Collins and then Tully hit the wood around Niven. Rangers’ first scoring effort was Murray’s in the 20th minute, but it was blocked by the shrewd intervention of Evans, throughout a centre-half of absolute competence.

Three minutes later McPhail headed down to Wilson and the inside-left, without waiting for the ball to touch the ground, bulged the net from 12 yards. Before Mochan scored Celtic’s second goal the frantic leap from Niven and again the crossbar stopped another 30 yard free-kick driven with such power by Collins as a stranger would not associate with one of his stature.


Mochan’s goal in the final minute of the half ended fittingly superb play by McPhail, who after engaging in a heading movement with Wilson, lofted the ball over Shearer to the galloping outsideleft. Shearer went full length in a desperate attempt to tackle and McColl was also stretched on the ground. Machan cut in and from the near touchline hurtled his shot into the far corner of the net.

Rangers began the second half with the wind in their favour and with the sun now in the eyes of the Celtic defenders but, alarmingly for their followers, with Murray, a knee bandaged at outside-left, Simpson at centre-forward and Scott and Hubbard forming the right wing. Murray, be it noted, had injured himself in trying to tackle Evans from behind and been penalised for his pains.

Soon Fernie was travelling half the length of the field again and running his opponents into the ground, and it was a demoralised defence that lost the third goal, headed by McPhail when Collins crossed. Five minutes later Simpson, with an exhilarating dive and header, scored from McColl’s cross; it was noticable that this was the first chance permitted by Evans who minutes earlier had been injured. Of that injury more will follow.


Baird soon afterwards had his name taken by the referee who apparently detected an infringement committed against Wilson not obvious from the press box, and in the final 23 minutes McPhail (now toying with Valentine), Mochan, McPhail again amd Fernie from a penalty kick completed the humiliation. During that period Niven, Shearer and Valentine were so panic-stricken that any one of them might have joined the list of Celtic goalscorers.

The advantage of the tall goalkeeper over the short was never more clear than in this match. Beattie, whose chief worry was the harrassing tactics of opponents – I cannot recall a Celtic player making contact with Niven – gave his fellow defenders confidence with perfect handling and timing of his interceptions. Donnelly continues to make a reputation as the most promising back in Scotland and Fallon again reduced the ill-supported Scott to a hapless young man, prominent after the first ten minutes only for unsuccessful attempts to provoke his stronger wiser opponent.

Never have I seen Rangers so outclassed in halfback play; Fernie, Evans and Peacock were, each in his own distinguyished way, tremendous players in everything but brawn and bulk.


No one Celt, however, but did not contribute handsomely to the team’s glorious dlty. The effect of the now restrained, but clever as ever Tully, should not be minimised. Perhaps only Fernie of all footballers in Scotland could have emulated Tully’s first-half feat of ball manipulation which enabled him to ouitwit Baird, Davis, Valentine and Cal dow. Then as his team-mated poised themselves for the chip back from the goal line, Tully struck like lightning and the ball cannoned off the very edge of the near post, passed between Niven and the goal-line and out of play beyond the post. The goal of a century had been within half an inch of achievement.

I have mentioned the injury to Evans. It occurred when the score was 1-0 and Baird was leading up to his caution. Baird had been admonished earlier for his treatment of Fernie, but when he brought down Evans after the centre-half had dribbled round him, the wqhole Celtic team ceased playing. Astonishingly Mr Mowat waved the game on – one wonders of he become obsessed with the advantage rule and in a moment of aberration had given the advantage to the offender and Beattie had to make the save of the day as Murray promptly accepted the gift of a scoring chance.

That was Mr Mowat’s one mistake and he can be pardoned that, in view of his excellent refereeing. Without a referee with his power of control we would almost certainly not have seen Celtic’s superb football.

Celtic: Beattie, Donnelly, Fallon, Fernie, Evans, Peacock, Tully, Collins, McPhail, Wilson, Machan.

Rangers: Niven, Shearer, C”ldow, McColl, Valentine, Davis, Scott, Simpson, Murray, Baird, Hubbard,

Referee: Mr, J-kMowatt, Burnside,

1 Comment

  1. That day in Oct 1957 as an 11 year old I was playing cowboys and indians in the clinker ash mounds at the Glasgow Green pitches. (It was a more innocent time for 11 year olds then although Glasgow Corporation were stretching innocence to breaking point calling the pitches green)

    Anyhow around 4.30 a crowd bedecked in blue scarves started to make its way through the pitches on their early way home down Polmadie Rd from Hampden.

    ” Wits ra score mister?” me and my fellow cowboys asked in all innocence.

    ” 4-1 son ” was the reply. We just said “ok” and retreated to cover.

    “Wits ra score mister?” we asked again a few minutes later.
    “5-1 son” was the reply.

    ” Naw ” shouts a cry from further back ” its 6-1″ only to be corrected by the ripple of the final score reaching us.

    At this point the 5-1 guy says ” Wit? 7-1! Jesus Christ wee man, gies a shot o yer gun. I’m gonnae shoot mysel”

    My love affair with Celtic, Rangers and Scottish fitbaw had begun.

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