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Aberdeen 1 - 2 Celtic

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 1 Celtic

Scottish Cup Final
Aberdeen scorers: Armstrong 11.
Celtic scorers: Crum 10, Buchan 28

24/04/1937 | KO: 15:00

Dons lose out to controversial winner.






At Hampden Park, Glasgow, on Saturday two teams fought desperately hard but cleanly to gain possession of the coveted Scottish Cup. Celtic won, and are to be congratulated. As the score suggests, there was little between the teams. Aberdeen's failure in this, their first, Scottish Cup final was a big disappointment to enthusiasts in the North-east, but the winners could scarcely be grudged their victory. Celtic were the more consistent and cohesive of two sides, neither of which revealed the football of which they are capable. A record crowd for a Cup final saw a hard, fast, and thrilling game, and, if the finer points were often lacking, this was compensated for to some extent by the keenness of the exchanges. Aberdeen fought a courageous fight, but they disappointed in that they failed to reproduce the team-work and skill which had carried them through the preceding rounds. The Dons can play football of a much better standard, and had they done so at Hampden Park the Scottish Cup would now be resting at Pittodrie for the first time instead of Parkhead for the fifteenth time. Many explanations may be offered for Aberdeen's lack of success, but the most feasible is that they were affected by nerves. It was a big occasion and the team as a whole took a long time to settle down. The Dons never revealed the confidence and craft which has been a feature of their play during the season.


Celtic were not so very much ahead on Aberdeen on play, but they were a more buoyant side and always looked the likelier lot. They were nippier on the ball and more cohesive in their advances. Both teams showed a surprising lack of finishing power. Chances were missed by both sides and none of the three goals scored was of a particularly brilliant nature. Each had an element of luck about it. Celtic were first to get into their stride and might have taken the lead earlier than they did. Play had been ten minutes in progress when they went ahead. McGrory got his head to a free kick by Paterson, but the ball was returned to Buchan. The inside-right shot strongly and Johnstone had to dive sideways to stop the ball. It fell at the feet of Crum and he had nothing to do but slip it into the net. This was a bad blow to Aberdeen hopes, but the crowd had no time to express opinion before the teams were on level terms again. It was Aberdeen's first concerted movement. They swept down from the re-centre, and when McKenzie sent the ball out to the left it glanced off Hogg to Armstrong, who promptly swept it into the net.


McGrory missed a chance for Celtic when he beat Falloon in a tussle for the ball, but he lost control and Johnstone cleared. Murphy, too, might have done better than shoot past when he beat Cooper in a race for Buchan pass. Celtic's goal had one very narrow escape before the interval. Smart work by Armstrong and Mills saw Kennaway race from his charge to clear. When Beynon gained possession and shot hard and true for goal Kennaway, yards out his goal, was fortunate to clutch the ball as it was about to pass over his head. Celtic again forced the pace at the start of the second half, and first Temple and then Falloon brought off smart clearances from Delaney and McGrory respectively. Aberdeen weathered the Celtic storm, and came away with a splendid rally. For ten minutes they had Celtic defending desperately, and had they displayed more thrust in the matter of finishing during this period they would probably have triumphed. Kennaway's most difficult task, however, was to save a fast rising shot from Beynon. Twice Lang had chances. He sent past from a cross by Beynon, and from a slip by Armstrong he sent direct to Kennaway. Mills was unfortunate with a great touchline effort which Struck the crossbar. Then came a Celtic revival and the winning goal. Falloon and McGrory went for the ball together, but the bounce beat them both, and Buchan fastened on to run on and find the net off the post. This goal came in the twenty-eighth minute.


The Dons fought back desperately, and almost repeated their first half feat of scoring from the re-centre when Lang ran through to send narrowly over. Celtic's reply was two excellent shots by McGrory, which Johnstone held safely. Towards the end the Dons made a last desperate bid avoid defeat, but Celtic hung on to their slender lead. The Aberdeen defence was shaky at times under pressure, and their covering up was not all it might have been. Johnstone played his part in goal and had no chance with the shots that beat him. Cooper found Murphy an elusive opponent, and was sometimes disconcerted by the winger's speed, but worked hard all through. Although opposed to Scotland's right winger in Delaney, Temple emerged from the game with a fair amount of credit. He started none too promisingly, but gradually gained in confidence, and kept his opponent fairly well subdued. Falloon was Aberdeen's No. 1 defender. The Irishman was indefatigable. Time and again he nipped in with fearless abandon to save awkward situations. He gave McGrory few chances. The play of the wing halves was disappointing, and especially does this apply to Thomson, who failed to reveal his true form. The left half did not impress either in defence or attack. Dunlop, on the other flank, was a tireless worker, but was too busy in defence to lend his forwards sufficient support. Beynon was the only member of the attack deserving of full marks. He was both speedy and enterprising, and was ever a source of danger. Had he received more support he might have got goals. Armstrong, too, suffered from lack of support, and, although he worked hard to distribute play, there were occasions when he might have done better to attempt a break through on his own. McKenzie lacked some of his usual forcefulness, albeit he worked hard in an effort to get the line moving with something like its normal cohesion. Perhaps Strauss was missed on the extreme left. Some may hold the opinion that Lang was less effective than Strauss would have been, but it must be admitted that Lang was a wholehearted trier.


Mills was disappointing. We saw occasional flashes of subtlety and craft, but, on the whole, he had a poor game. The Celtic defence, too, was inclined to waver under pressure. Kennaway in goal dealt confidently with all that came his way, while Morrison was the more skilful of two resourceful backs. Celtic held an advantage at half-back. In Geatons they had the most effective middleman afield. Lyon at centre-half was strong in defence, and Paterson, too, worked hard. Buchan and Crum, the inside forwards, took the honours in attack. Both were clever on the ball, and their smart distribution was chiefly responsible for Celtic's superiority as an attacking force. Although not so speedy as formally, McGrory retains much of his craft, and it was well for Aberdeen that Falloon took no liberties with him.

Source: Press & Journal, 26th April 1937



From a Spectator

There were 20,000 angry and disappointed people outside Hampden Park after the gates were shut a few minutes before the game began, and twice small sections managed to burst exit gates and get in. People who ought to know say a record crowd turned up for the game. There were 144,000 inside, at least 20,000 in the surrounding streets and open spaces, and nobody knows how many more who turned back at the train and bus stations when they learned it would be a waste of time going to the ground. In Somerville Drive the spectacle was terrifying. The street was packed with struggling humanity that looked like resolving itself into a jelly. Just then the gates were closed and there was a howl of rage. For my bob I had a magnificent view of the back of somebody's neck. I could also see the time on the stand clock. It was quite a good neck, clean and all that sort of thing, but not worth a bob to see. And I knew the time. There was a suggestion of demanding our money back, but just then somebody scored, and we all dashed madly back to see - the backs of more necks. For our benefit somebody on the terrace barricade tried his hand at a running commentary, but he was too temperamental; he had Celtic three up in the first ten minutes, but the referee seemingly had not seen two of them. I decided I would like to see the match, and after a little mild all-in wrestling, got to the enclosure. A railing cut off the enclosure from the common herd, obscured my view of the east goal and a third of the field. Happily most of the play for the rest of the first half was in the part of the field I could see, but the ten minutes early in the second half when Mr Maley looked like going short of one of his birthday presents, was tantalising.

Source: Press & Journal, 26th April 1937



Despite the fact that they lost, the Aberdeen team were given an enthusiastic welcome home on Saturday night. From the roar, one might have thought they had won. Long before the train was due at 9.50 the crowd began to gather, and half an hour before the time the police had some difficulty in clearing the platform to let the railway staff put up barriers. The train, which was run in two portions, with the Aberdeen players in the first, was over half an hour late, but during that time the crowd swelled until the huge square was a mass of people and the stairs to the west platforms were lined with people.


There were waves of deafening cheering as the train steamed in. the first of the many specials to arrive through the night. In it were the members of the team and officials and hundreds of supporters. Matt Armstrong, who scored Aberdeen's goal, was seized and carried shoulder high through the station, surrounded by a crowd of several thousands which packed the vestibules at the entrance. After several demonstrations of enthusiasm the players were at last allowed to tear themselves away. Later in the evening Matt Armstrong and George Thomson attended at the Palais de Danse, where they were given a rapturous reception, especially when Matt was persuaded to say few words over the microphone, and the theme of his remarks was the same as that shout which greeted the players on their arrival: "Hard luck to-day - but next year!"


Scenes without precedent were witnessed at the Joint Station as the crowds left for Glasgow. The trek for the trains began before dawn. Between 4.25 and 10 o'clock seventeen specials drew out with full complements. It is estimated that approximately 9000 supporters went by rail. "Easily a record morning rush," commented Mr John Davidson, stationmaster. It was a triumph of organisation for Mr Davidson and his staff. There was no hitch in the transport arrangements, and train after train pulled out dead on time. Throughout Friday night there was a steady stream of traffic heading south by road. About 2000 went by bus and hundreds of private cars made the journey.


In Glasgow from half-past eight in the morning until late at night, the Aberdonians made their presence felt. In the forenoon and early afternoon, when enthusiasm was at its height, the Aberdeen supporters were conspicuous with their black and gold rosettes and tammies, and their frequent outbursts of cheering. Glaswegians enjoyed the "invasion" as much as the Aberdonians, and there was a considerable amount of good natured changes between them. Restaurants, milk bars, and licensed houses had a busy time coping with the crowds who arrived from the North. It was not expected that so many people would come pouring into the city. One of the features of the crowd was the number of women. It was stated in Glasgow that never has a football invasion contained such a large proportion of women.

Source: Press & Journal, 26th April 1937

The attendance number that we report is taken from information provided by the SFA's Hampden Museum.

Celtic Teamsheet
Kennaway, Hogg, Morrison, Geatons, Lyon, Paterson, Delaney, Buchan, McGrory, Crum, Murphy.
Attendance: 147,365
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow
Referee: Mungo C. Hutton, Glasgow.
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20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride