Queens Park (twice) Vale of Leven, Rangers (twice) and Aberdeen have all won the Scottish Cup three consecutive seasons. The latter were the last, in 1984. Celtic have won the old trophy 38 times, more than any others, but have never won the Cup three time in-a-row.
They successfully retained the Cup only eight times, the first time in 1901, when they beat Queens Park in the final, having despatched Rangers in the previous final. It looked good for three-in-a-row the following season, when Celtic faced Hearts in the final, but despite goals from McOustra, Quinn and McMahon, Hearts scored four and the trophy went to Edinburgh.
The record could then have been put right in 1909. Celtic got the better of Hearts in the 1907 final, and St Mirren a year later, but 1909 was the year the Cup was withheld after a riot, a fire and many injured Celtic and Rangers fans.
Celtic dominated the Scottish Cup in this era. Dundee won the Cup in 1910, the only side apart from Celtic who won it between 1906 and 1913. And without wanting to write too much about them getting the better of us, it was Hearts, again, who in 1913 stopped Celtic, after successes against Hamilton and Clyde in the two previous finals. That loss to Hearts also cost Celtic four-in-a-row, as they won the trophy again in 1914.
Fans in this era would have grown used to retaining the Scottish Cup, but it would be an incredible 60 years before Celtic would do so again. Celtic beat Rangers in 1971 and Hibs in 1972, but lost 3-2 to Rangers in 1973’s Centenary Scottish Cup Final. That loss actually denied Celtic five Cup wins in-a-row, as they beat Dundee United in the 1974 final and oldco Airdrie in 1975 (my first Scottish Cup Final). The 1976 attempt at three-in-a-row ended at Fir Park, when Motherwell won their third round tie.
The closest we came to three-in-a-row was 1990. Having beat Dundee United in our own Centenary Season Cup Final in 1988, we denied Rangers a treble to beat them in the 1989 Final. Celtic had a miserable 1989-90 season, but a fourth round win over Rangers cleared the way for a run to Hampden and Aberdeen. 90 minutes and extra time came and went without a goal. 18 penalties could not separate the teams, but after Anton Rogan missed Celtic’s 10th kick, Aberdeen scored to win.
Martin O’Neill’s Celtic won the cup in their imperious 2003-04 season, with Henrik Larsson bidding farewell by despatching Dunfermline, then Martin bid farewell after a far-from imperious 2004-05 season with a Cup Final win over Dunfermline.
Celtic’s next opportunity to win three consecutive Scottish Cups came in 2006, but, alas Roy Keane and Du Wei’s debut, also the latter’s final game, is remembered warmly by Clyde fans. Which brings us to tomorrow. After completing the Invincible Treble by beating Aberdeen in the 2017 Final, Celtic achieved the Double Treble last season when they overcame Motherwell in the Final.
In our long and illustrious history, on only eight occasions have we retained the Scottish Cup and we have never achieved what will be attempted tomorrow. If it helps you contextualise how much an achievement the Treble Treble would be, the Scottish Cup treble alone has been an as yet impossible task.
For as long as Celtic’s history is written, these days will live in legend. Let’s make it happen.
No pressure now, Celtic.