"Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us.
We will never hide from it. Never fear."
- William Struth

Lies And Hypocrisy - The Celtic Way

Written by: Finlay Speedie
Wednesday, 9th August 2017

Celtic were formed in 1888. Their official club badge says so. Only they weren't - the club badge has the wrong year on it. This however is the least of their lies.

There is a lot made of Andrew Kerins' charitable intentions when he founded a football club in the east-end of Glasgow in November 1887. There is nothing to suggest that his intentions were anything other than to provide funding (via gate-money) to improve the lives of many families in the east-end of Glasgow suffering from abject poverty. The means used to disperse the funds however would ensure that one section of society (the indigenous Protestant population) were excluded. Celtic's first balance sheet shows that by far the main recipients of funds (three times higher than any other organisation at £164) was the St Vincent de Paul Society. The charity founded by Andrew Kerins, the Poor Childrens Dinner Table, which was the purpose for which the club was established, received just £51. By the mid-late 1890's, just a decade after the club was founded, the Catholic Observer lamented that Celtic had "forgotten what the club was founded for, with some years seeing no charity payments at all from the club".

But back to the 1880's. Kerins had seen first hand how gate-receipts at Hibernian had benefitted the Irish population of the Cowgate, in Edinburgh, and he wanted to mirror this in Glasgow. So he arranged a match against one of the foremost and best-followed clubs of the day, Rangers - evidence that Rangers have been a cash-cow for other clubs almost since inception. Kerins' dream may never have got off the ground had his request for a 'friendly' been refused.

Rangers didn't deem this match as being worthy of the first team. They fielded a reserve team (The Swifts) and were beaten 5-2. The first goal for Celtic was scored by Neil McCallum, who had won the Scottish Cup in 1888 with Renton, and was part of Renton's team when they won the 'World Championship' against West Brom the same year. So why had McCallum suddenly decided to switch from being a world champion to within a month joining a new, unproven team? Come to mention it, why did Renton's captain James Kelly also leave to become Celtic's first captain? And why did eight of the previous seasons Scottish Cup winners Hibernian join Celtic shortly after the Rangers match? 

It doesn't take much working out. Professionalism was against SFA rules at the time. All clubs were amateur, and payment of any sort was strictly forbidden. Two committee members of the new club - John Glass a builder who's family were from Donegal, and Patrick Welsh, an Irish tailor, had made financial inducements to the Renton and Hibernian players almost immediately after Celtic's formation. I stated earlier that the club raised £51 for The Poor Childrens Dinner Table in the first year of their existence. The same balance sheet shows payments to 'Hibernians' of £63. Was this a payment to Hibernian FC? Or was it a payment to the Ancient Order of Hibernians? Either way, it's a serious indictment of their supposed charitable beginnings that more money was given to The Hibs, than to the charity on which the club was founded.

Coming back to football, the impact on the wronged clubs was catastrophic. Hibernian went out of business (with presumably severe adverse consequences for the aforementioned Irish of the Cowgate who depended on their charity). Hibernian returned within a short period of time (as a new club..... ), but had to rebuild the playing squad from scratch. 

Having lost their two best players, Renton's performances deteriorated, and they never recovered, resigning from the league in 1897.

With an entire team of experienced players from two of Scotland’s best clubs, including several with international caps, it was no surprise when Celtic reached the final of the first Scottish Cup they entered, nor when they won the same competition in 1892 and the Scottish League in 1893.

Professionalism was against the SFA's rules until 1893. Therefore the Scottish Cup won in 1892, and the Scottish League title won in 1893 (whereby fixtures would have started in 1892), were both won by cheating. There is no disputing this, the source of the financial inducements statement being the book 'The Glory & The Dream', by Celtic historians Campbell & Woods. 

In light of the official statement made by Celtic FC and the widespread obsession of their supporters recently regarding title-stripping, I find their hypocrisy staggering. 

The scandal of their formative years pales into insignificance of course against a much more serious and shameful issue in more recent times. The common factor being that neither issue has ever been brought to justice.

If you know your history!


by 1972
by John McCrae


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