I don’t know if you’ve seen the online video of the tour guide in the Ibrox Blue Room?
He was giving his customary talk about the wonders of the room (careful to omit any reference to the hilarious death suffered by the club that won almost all the honours on display, including the bike). He mentioned the Al Kass Cup and announced that they were the first ever British club to win it with such pride and bombast that it would probably surprise most people to discover that not only is it an invitation only event, but that it is an U17 youth tournament (played on Academy pitches 4 and 5 no less, as I discovered when I researched it – presumably the lads that had a block booking on pitches 1-3 weren’t in the mood to move). Never mind.
That is followed by a mention of the “Loving Cup” and how every fan will know that story…..the end of that part. Damn shame for any tourist that happened in on this tour and didn’t know it. Better yet is the vague mention of the ceramics display, which sounds like we have stumbled into the tour of the Armitage Shanks company.
The whole thing got me thinking about the trophies Celtic have on display and it struck me that we have a few that will possibly cause those of a blue persuasion to cry themselves to sleep. I’m not thinking of the obvious ones like the European Cup, although that did play a part in the original Rangers demise, I’m thinking more of the special one-off trophies that we have. So here we have a little selection of what we have that must cause a certain, marvellous, level of pain for them;
Victory in Europe 1945
This was a pretty low key trophy at the time.It was a game organised by the Glasgow FA in the immediate aftermath of the German surrender in 1945 and was meant to be us versus Rangers purely as a fund raiser for men back from the war.
But our intended opponents withdrew because they had a cup final the following week and wanted to prioritise that instead. Interesting that bit for a club (or clubs) that has developed such a strong military fetish over the past few years but when they actually had a chance to help raise direct funds for war veterans they had something better to do later in the week so bowed out gracelessly. We won the subsequent game against Queens Park, but can you imagine if they had played and won? That trophy would be paragliding off the stand every year to the roar of the crowd.
Empire Exhibition Cup
The fact that Celtic have this one would burn them for the simple fact that we won it in their backyard. The entire competion was played at Ibrox and the trophy itself is a model of the building that formed the centrepiece of the Exhibition at Bellahouston, just over the road from Ibrox. Oh, and it has the word Empire in it. They would be all over it for that reason alone.
The teams involved were Sunderland, Everton, Chelsea and Brentford from England, Rangers (actual, not tribute act), Hearts, Aberdeen and us. First we put out Sunderland 3-1 in a replay after a 0-0 draw and then Hearts 1-0 in the semi, meanwhile Everton defeated Rangers to the dismay of the home crowd who were presumably banking on a blues brother type deal and met us in the final after getting past Aberdeen in their semi.
Johnny Crum scored the only goal of the final in extra time. The winning side were all awarded a silver minature of the trophy. The hosts are allowed to look at the trophy whenever they visit our place. Round Ye!!
The main item, the trophy to celebrate the Coronation of Liz in 1953. This was another Scotland v England contest, Arsenal, Spurs, Newcastle and Man U from down south and Hibs (league champions), Aberdeen (Scottish cup winners), Rangers and us. We were only included because we could draw a crowd, it certainly wasn’t because of our football standing at the time because we were awful and this was considered a prestige trophy. The monarchy were a far bigger deal then than now. Somehow against all the odds we won. First we defeated Arsenal 1-0, then Manchester United (who had beaten Rangers in the previous round causing a tsunami of stauch tears) 2-1 before we faced Hibs in the final. Thinking about it this was probably the worst possible final the organisers could have dreamt of; a final between two sides created by immigrant Irish to celebrate the head of the British state. Irony is a wonderful thing. We won the final besting probably the best Hibs team of all time 2-1 (not faint praise for Hibs they had a superb team at the time).
But can you imagine if this trophy had wound up at Ibrox? They make enough of a song and dance about the Loving Cup, sticking up a wee video every year showing them all toasting and slurping away.But if the Coronation Cup was theirs the BBC would be broadcasting live from Ibrox every year as the anniversary of the Coronation came round; two men dressed in Union Jack suits would be staunchly Morris dancing up and down the Blue Room while readings from the actual Coronation ceremony were grunted out by John Greig.
Every time they play at Celtic Park and their board members see these trophies a little bit of them must yearn then die.