Celtic Centre's Day of Triumph
DONS FAR FROM DISGRACEDWithout McGrory this match would not only have lost its outstanding personality, but Celtic would not have triumphed. To McGrory's remarkable ability to seize a chance and to the poor positional play of the Aberdeen defence can be attributed Celtic's victory. Every time the Parkhead leader went for the ball the Aberdeen goal was in danger. He had the Dons' defence on tenterhooks, and scored three goals to set up a world record of 364 - two better than Hugh Ferguson, the former Motherwell and Cardiff City player. Although beaten, Aberdeen were far from disgraced. On play they were unfortunate not to share the points. Any luck that was agoing favoured Celtic, but because they seized their chances they could not be grudged their victory.
Home Defence SuperiorIn only one department could the Celts claim to be superior to Aberdeen, and that was in defence. fears were, entertained in the forenoon that fog would cause postponement of the match. About noon, however, the fog lifted, and when the match started visibility was quite good. The ground had been protected with straw, and had been liberally sprinkled with sand. even so, the underfoot conditions were not conducive to good football, and considering this both teams are to be congratulated on an entertaining display.
Celtic LuckyThe teams were fairly well matched in the first half, and Celtic were a trifle lucky to have a 3-1 lead at the interval. Their first goal came in seven minutes. McGrory beat Falloon to a high ball and headed against Cooper's leg. The hall rebounded to the centre, who again sent against the right back before finally tapping it into the net. Shortly after this Aberdeen were unfortunate when Warnock gathered a cross from Thomson and ran through to hook the ball against the crossbar. Thirty-two minutes had gone when Warnock equalised. Neither Armstrong nor a brace of Celtic defenders could bring down a lob by McGill, and the ball went to the outside right, who banged it into the net before he could be challenged.
McGrory's Second,/p> The Dons did not long enjoy equality, however. Three minutes later McGrory made a flying dive to head a Murphy cross into the net on hands and knees. Just on the interval Buchan broke through, but, tackled by McGill, he did not hit his shot properly. The ball struck Smith, and the inside right followed up to send into the net. When Celtic went further ahead four minutes after the restart Aberdeen seemed well beaten. The centre, unchallenged, jumped high to head a Fagan cross into the net. From this period onwards, however, the Dons took matters in hand, and except for occasional breakaways Celtic were kept on the defensive.
Aberdeen Appeal IgnoredMills missed a chance when he shot weakly from an Armstrong slip, after Kennaway had left his charge. Then, again, Aberdeen were unlucky when Warnock headed into the net from a Thomson free kick and the referee's whistle went, presumably for offside. An appeal by the Aberdeen players was ignored. With seventeen minutes gone the Dons reduced the leeway. Armstrong cleverly worked himself into position to send into the net from a Lang pass. In a Celtic breakaway Falloon failed to clear, and Murphy got clean through to cut in and send the ball flashing into the net. Aberdeen's third counter came three minutes from the end, when McKenzie and Warnock burst through for the latter to send into the net. The play of the Aberdeen defence was not impressive. Smith, in goal, lacked his usual confidence, and seemed to be at fault when Celtic scored their third goal. Cooper and McGill took some time to find their feet, but ultimately settled down to a steady game. McGrory gave Falloon an uncomfortable ninety minutes. The Irishman never got a grip of the wraith-like Celtic leader, and nine times out of ten failed to beat his opponent to the high balls. Fraser and Thomson were a pair of hard-working halves, with the latter the better of the two. Fraser's distribution was not so good as it might have been.
Warnock ImpressiveThe Aberdeen forward line was cleverer that Celtic, but did not reveal the same snap at close quarters. The honours of the Dons go to Warnock, who was the most dangerous winger afield. His display proved that outside-right is his best position. Armstrong was an enterprising leader. He was closely guarded by Lyon, but contrived to make openings for his team-mates. He was injured and removed in a stretcher near the close, but it was intimated later that the hurt was not of a serious nature.
Inside Men DisappointLang found Hogg a difficult man to elude but, nevertheless, played well. Mills and McKenzie disappointed, neither being able to settle down on the treacherous ground. The Celtic defence gave a splendid display, especially in the second half, when Aberdeen did the bulk of the attacking. Kennaway was a confident 'keeper, and Hogg the better of two sound backs. Lyon was a steady pivot, and Paterson a clever and progressive left-half, while Morrison made a good deputy for Geatons. The attack kept, the ball swinging in fine style, and full use was made of the wingers, Fagan and Murphy. Buchan and Crum were somewhat overshadowed by the brilliance of McGrory, but both showed cleverness.
Source: Press & Journal, 23rd December 1935