BRENDAN RODGERS and his Celtic players will have to beware the curse of Killie this afternoon.
The champions are 90 minutes away from equalling their own 62-game unbeaten domestic record that has stood for over 100 years.
Steve Clarke’s Rugby Park side stand in their way of achieving the remarkable feat and continuing Rodgers’ run of never having lost to Scottish opposition.
Coincidentally, though, it was the Ayrshire outfit who ended Celtic’s previous sequence without a loss at Parkhead on April 21 1917 when Willie Maley’s team went down 2-0.
Two months earlier, a goal three minutes from time by Jimmy McMenemy – nicknamed Napoleon – had given the Hoops a 2-2 draw against the same opponents in a fiercely-contested away First Division encounter.
Legendary Patsy Gallacher scored the visitors’ other goal.
When the clubs met again nine games later, Maley made only one change in the team with John Browning replacing Adam McLean at outside-left.
Two first-half goals from Mattha Smith – cashing in on an error from Alec McNair – and Willie Culley brought the green-and-white juggernaut to a halt in front of 18,000 stunned home supporters.
A newspaper report blamed the home attackers for their lack of a finishing touch.
It stated: “The shooting of the Celtic forwards was not particularly deadly. The winners were somewhat fortunate to score as they did twice in the first-half, doubly so to find their opponents miss opportunities much more frequent and less difficult.
“But the losers had no room for complaint, save on their own incapacity at goal. They were at home, on a perfect pitch, with wind and sun minor and equal handicaps to both teams.
“The winners’ goals were scored before the interval, so there was nothing of a snatch victory about Kilmarnock’s successful venture.
“The mistake made by McNair in passing back to his goalkeeper would not have been fatal had the home forwards shown their usual judgement and taken advantage of much better openings that fell to Smith and Culley.”
In summing-up, the reporter added: “The pity is that the champions’ first defeat was incurred in their last home engagement.
“A reverse at an earlier stage would have enlivened a competition that has long ceased to attract by reason of its being a competition in name only.”
The Celtic team was: Shaw; McNair, Dodds; Wilson, McStay, Brown; McAtee, Gallacher, McColl, McMenemy and Browning.
Brendan Rodgers – The Road to Paradise is on sale now at www.cqnbookstore.com