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Maley's Record Still Remains Unbeaten

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:51 pm
by Aten
I have always been suspicious of what are essentially media generated records in sport. More often than not they tend to be not strictly accurate because other factors tend to be overlooked or ignored since it does not fit the profile of what they are trying to portray. When one outlet sets the ball rolling, the rest simply follow without actually checking the pure accuracy.

Recent examples have been the almighty brouhaha in 2011 because Celtic played Rangers 7 times in that season. A record it was trumpeted. And totally wrong! Celtic and Rangers had met competitively 7 times or more on eight previous occasions: -

Season 1896/97 – 7 times.
Season 1897/98 – 8 times.
Season 1898/99 – 8 times.
Season 1899/1900 – 9 times.
Season 1900/01 – 9 times.
Season 1901/02 – 7 times.
Season 1908/09 – 7 times.
Season 1956/57 – 8 times.

Indeed it was this proliferation of games between 1896 and 1902 that, I believe, coined the phrase “Old Firm”.

Last season we had the “record” win by Celtic over Rangers at the home of the later. Going on the media’s insistence that Rangers pre June 2012 and post June 2012 is the same club then they are wrong. The record win for Celtic against Rangers at the latter’s home ground is 6-1 in 1888/89 in a Glasgow Cup tie or 5-0 in 1901/02 in an Inter City League match in 1901/02. Unless it is categorically stated what the boundaries are by using the general term “competitive matches” must include Glasgow Cup ties, Glasgow Charity Cup ties, Glasgow League/Inter City League matches and any other competitions which are termed competitive.

Which leads us to Maley’s Celtic unbeaten domestic run. If this is based solely on League matches then the record of 62 still remains unbeaten. The current run by the present Celtic team stands at 51, eleven short. If this is based on all domestic competitive matches then Maley’s record stands at 66, i.e. the addition of the four Glasgow Cup and Charity Cup matches played and won during 20th November 1915 and 14th April 1917 period. The current run by the present Celtic team includes Scottish Cup and League Cup ties and stands at 63 – short by 3.

This observation is not meant to belittle Celtic’s current unbeaten run but if you are comparing records then you must compare like with like. You cannot cut and paste various aspects just to make up a good story. I am surprised Celtic historians such as David Potter have not pointed this out, perhaps if he reads this forum I for one would love to hear his take on it.


Re: Maley's Record Still Remains Unbeaten

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:26 pm
by Alan Brown
I completely agree with your observations Peter. I am pretty confident that Celtic WILL eventually beat the record set by Maley's side and I think all games need to be included. The Glasgow Cup/Charity Cup were major competitions back then, the evidence being the large attendances for these matches.


Re: Maley's Record Still Remains Unbeaten

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:25 pm
by Rob R
On that note when was the last time the OF met only twice in a season for their respective league fixtures.

Re: Maley's Record Still Remains Unbeaten

Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:17 pm
by HibeeJibee
On the otherhand I'd question whether records set during WWI should count.

Lower-league shut-down, Scottish Cup shut-down, clubs outside central belt withdrawn, rules relaxed, even 1 game unplayed.

Similar numbers of clubs played on in WWII - but it's entirely voided as it wasn't officially SFA/SFL (although 1939-40 was!).

Re: Maley's Record Still Remains Unbeaten

Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:55 pm
by Aten
Yes Alan the Glasgow competitions were fiercely contested in those days, which is why they should not be ignored from a competitive point of view. The Glasgow Cup semi-final in that sequence attracted some 60,000 to Celtic Park – much higher than any of the League matches played.

Rob, if we count Celtic meeting Rangers in no other competition apart from League matches, then they played only two games in 1911/12, 1913/14, 1932/33, 1938/39 and 1961/62. When the League format changed for 1975/76 and meant that they played a minimum of 4 times, the number of occasions they met only in the League is 10 times. Of course if you class the pre June 2012 Rangers as the same club as the post June 2012 one, then you have the situation where they never met at all in 2012/13 or 2013/14 and only once in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

HibeeJibee. The SFA suspended its competition during WWI because it took the attitude that in would be “unpatriotic” to continue. On the other hand the Scottish League took a different attitude expressing that it would be “good for morale” to continue. The 1914/15 season saw it continue as previously with 2 divisions. For 1915/16 and 1916/17 seasons, only one League operated and it was only for the 1917/18 season that Aberdeen, Dundee and Raith Rovers withdrew. This had more to do with travelling restrictions than anything else. The difficulties during 1915/16 season whereby some teams (including Celtic) played twice in the one day and the Morton v Heart of Midlothian game not being played at all had a lot to do with the League’s inflexibility in not extending the season to accommodate postponed dates. The Scottish League remained in control of the league that is why it is classed as official.

WWII was different. At the outbreak of the war the League was suspended after 5 games and the League along with the SFA and other Associations all suspended their committees and effectively shut down football. When a number of clubs lobbied the Government and secured no objections to football recommencing on a limited scale, they formed themselves into regional bodies and arranged leagues amongst themselves. The SFA and the Scottish League took no organisational part in the process. The re-hashed 1939/40 season until season 1944/45 is regarded as unofficial because no official administrative body was in charge. The 1945/46 season is also regarded as unofficial because although the official bodies re-took control it was agreed that the League competitions would be regarded as transitional. Hope that clears things up for you.