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Aberdeen 1 - 2 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 1 Celtic

Scottish Cup Semi Final
Aberdeen scorers: Hutton (Pen).
Celtic scorers: McInally, McGrory

20/03/1926 | KO:

Aberdeen Go Out

Celtic Craft Overcomes Aberdeen

For a second year in succession the Celtic have qualified for the last stage of the Scottish Cup competition. They were too strong a combination for Aberdeen in the semi-final tie played at Tynecastle, Edinburgh, and while the men from the North played pluckily and stretched the Cup holders to a greater extent than had been the case in any of the earlier rounds, Celtic craft in the long run wore down and overcame a bustling opposition. For the most part it was an entertaining cup-tie. The play was fast and at times exciting, and in the first half at least the honours were well divided. There was danger than of Aberdeen's vigorous style succeeding against a Celtic defence that was not so confident as usual. Corners and free kicks were given away, and it required a fine display of goalkeeping on the part of Shevlin to see the Celtic through. His saving of shots by McDermid and Pirie was very fine. Subsequently the Celtic fell into a better stride; their play was always more methodical than that of Aberdeen; and their first goal, scored eight minutes before half-time was a definite step towards supremacy. McInally took his chance cleverly. With his back to the goal he guided the ball into a shooting position, and slipped it well out of Blackwell's reach.

Dons' Fine Defence

Aberdeen's challenge in the second half was rather short-lived. A penalty kick awarded for Reid being upset enabled Hutton to equalise, but almost immediately McGrory regained the lead by heading through a left wing cross. After that Aberdeen were closely held by a side who played with coolness and a good deal of understanding. Only in defence were the Pittodrie men a match for the Celtic. Hutton was in rampant form at back, inclined perhaps to be over-robust, but playing always with sound judgement, and no little dash. There was also fine work from Blackwell in goal, and Cosgrove was the leading half-back in a line that did much effective spoiling. Except for their good opening the Aberdeen forwards made little impression. That was where the Celtic had the pull. Even Malloy, who had to be substituted for the injured McLean, could be counted a successful forward, and that against such a man as Hutton. The Celtic got steady work from their three half-backs, and except for a short spell at the beginning the backs were sound, and took a creditable share in a well-won victory.

Although the weather was fine, the attendance was under 25,000, a much lower figure than had been anticipated. Apparently the crushing and the disorder at the last Tynecastle cup-tie had kept many people away. The drawings, excluding stands and tax, amounted to £959.

Source: The Scotsman, 22nd March 1926

Great Tussle with Celtic at Tynecastle.


Aberdeen's fifth appearance in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup competition was attended with no better fortune than the four that preceded it. At Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, on Saturday, Celtic emerged victorious by 2 goals to 1, a result that was very unsatisfactory because the winning goal was disputed by the Aberdeen players. Hutton had just converted a penalty for Aberdeen after eleven minutes' play in the second half, and thus neutralised a goal scored by McInally for Celtic in the first half, when Malloy on the Celtic left, made a dash to catch up a long pass ahead. He succeeded, but not before the ball appeared to have crossed the line. As he brought it back he appeared to get it under control with the assistance of a hand. The Aberdeen players immediately claimed, several for bye kick and others for a free kick. The linesman the stand side was also observed to signal an infringement. The fact that the ball had gone out play and that the Celtic player had handled appeared to escape the notice the referee, and while the Aberdeen players stood and claimed, the ball was lofted over to McGrory, who headed past Blackwell. The referee immediately awarded a goal, and although repeatedly appealed to by the Aberdeen players, resolutely refused either to alter the decision or to consult his linesman. The award of a goal by the referee met with an exceedingly hostile reception from a large section of the spectators, and until the end the game the official was subjected to much booing.

A Thrilling Game

It was a thrilling game from start to finish, and one that was worthy of the occasion. In the struggle Celtic proved themselves to be the better balanced and more methodical team, but Aberdeen were equally dangerous, and it could be said were very unfortunate not to strike the first blow. Handicapped by a strong sun, but with a slight breeze behind them, Aberdeen set a great pace at the start. They swung the ball from wing to wing, and McDermid got through to crash in a terrific shot, which Shevlin saved in brilliant style. This was followed by a clever bout of passing by Celtic, Malloy heading wide. Then Aberdeen made another desperate onslaught on the Celtic goal. Shevlin saved from McDermid, and there was a confident claim for a penalty kick by Aberdeen when, with Shevlin beaten, W. McStay, on the goal line, appeared to knock the ball out with his hand. Aberdeen would not beaten back. The half-backs kept lobbing the ball in front of the Celtic goal, and with Pirie acting in the role of "battering ram," the Celtic defenders were frequently in sore straits. Hutton was called up to take a free kick from 23 yards' range, and the ball flashed across the Celtic goal to go behind only inches wide with Shevlin beaten.


Following this the Celtic goal had a miraculous escape. Pirie accented a lobbed pass from McDermid, and from about eight yards range steadied himself and sent in a terrific shot, but Shevlin by a wonderful effort reached the ball and, knocking it down, cleared the second attempt. This shot and save proved the turning point of the game in the first period. Subsequently Celtic regained their balance, and accurate man-to-man play by their forwards and half-backs kept the Aberdeen defence busy. A shot Connelly hit MacLachlan and was deflected into goal, Blackwell, at full length, just averting a score. On another occasion Hutton cleared from below the bar after mcGrory had over-run the ball. Blackwell, too, was several times in action. Aberdeen, if less prominent in attack, were equally dangerous. Reid had a shot deflected by a defender for a corner, and twice Shevlin had go to the assistance of his backs.


Thirty-seven minutes of the game had gone, when Celtic took the lead through McInally. He found himself in possession inside the Aberdeen penalty area with his back to goal, and wheeling round sharply hooked the ball into the net just wide of the Aberdeen goalkeeper. Although Celtic were playing better at this stage, the lead was not altogether deserved considering the narrow escapes which Shevlin's charge had underwent earlier. Until the interval, the play rather favoured Celtic, but Aberdeen defended brilliantly.


In the earlier stages of the second half, Aberdeen launched vigorous onslaughts against the defence, but apart from a header by Pirie they were not particularly dangerous. For a time the game was of a see-saw nature. Blackwell had to get on top of a ground shot by Connolly, and only got the ball away with difficulty, and later the Aberdeen goalkeeper had to concede a corner from a shot by Connolly. After eleven minutes play Aberdeen got on level terms. Beautiful forcing play by Cosgrove was followed by an accurate slip forward to Reid, and the winger was brought down in the penalty area when well set for goal. Hutton took the kick and gave Shevlin no chance to save. It was immediately following this that Celtic got the winning goal under the circumstances described. Subsequently the play almost entirely favoured Aberdeen, but although they attacked for practically the remainder of the game they could make no impression on the Celtic defence. Several chances came the way of the Aberdeen forwards, hut they developed unsteadiness near goal, and while they did not shoot enough, their passing was often at fault.
Near the close Reid, when close in, had a chance, but hung on to the bail, and W. McStay practically threw himself at it to scrape it away. As the Celtic back fell his arm came in contact with the ball, but Reid's claim for a penalty was ignored.


It was easily the hardest struggle Celtic have had this season, and if they were fortunate to win there was no denying they were the better balanced and more methodical team. Their players kept their places better than those of Aberdeen, and if the latter compared very favourably so far as spirited effort was concerned, Celtic played more as a team, and often accomplished the same purpose as Aberdeen with less effort. Blackweil kept goal finely for Aberdeen, and Hutton was the outstanding back on the field, in fact he has seldom if ever played better. His powerful kicking, accurate tackling, and ability to cover up provided a feature in a terrific struggle. Ritchie, if less spectacular, also showed capital form. The half-back line played to its best form, combining sound defence with vigorous attacking methods. In this department MacLachlan was best, but Cosgrove and Edward were little behind. It was in attack that Aberdeen compared unfavourably with Celtic, and this was largely due to the fact that the inside wingers acted too much tin he role of defenders. McDermid was the best of the line, and Reid came next in order, but not sufficient use was made of the extreme wingers. Pirie forced the play and harassed the Celtic backs, but apart from the time that Shevlin brought off a remarkable save, had too many opponents on him to be often dangerous. Smith and Jackson were never very prominent.
Shevlin was a brilliant Celtic goalkeeper, and McStay was the better of two good backs. In the half-back line, J. McStay was best, and in a clever forward line McInally and Thomson were brilliant. McGrory was a dashing centre forward, and Connolly and Malloy two sprightly wingers. It was in this division only that Celtic were superior to Aberdeen.

Source: Press & Journal, 22nd March 1926

N.B. A recorded commentary by Sammy Shields exists on a Parlophone 78 No. E3220 - can be found on YouTube.
Celtic Teamsheet
Shevlin, W. McStay, Hilley, Wilson, J. McStay, Macfarlane, Connolly, Thomson, McGrory, McInally, Malloy
Attendance: 23,000
Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Referee: T. Dougray, Bellshill
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead