98 years. That’s was the last time Celtic beat old Rangers in a Scottish Cup semi-final. Our 1925 5-0 win was after a replay in front of Scotland’s first six-figure crowd – 101,700.
Scottish football then entered its notorious hot balls era. The SFA was not always ethically sound, as we’ll touch on in a moment. In 67 years Celtic and Rangers were only drawn together in the Scottish Cup semi-final once, 1960, when we lost after a replay. The legend is that two of the four balls in the bag for the draw were hot, one with Celtic’s number and one with Rangers’. One hot ball would be drawn against a cold ball.
The SFA had a confidence about them in the 1990s. Celtic were poor, if you were inclined to favour Rangers, there was little to be gained from hot balls. Perhaps as a consequence, the teams met in the semis three times that decade. We lost each; who needs hot balls when you can enjoy beating Celtic?
Before you suggest a lack of balance in the above assertion, that was the era we had the Jim Farry/Jorge Cadete fiasco, which eventually saw Farry sacked in disgrace, after he delayed Cadete’s registration until the player was no longer eligible to play in the 1996 Scottish Cup semi – against Rangers.
We have met Newco three times at this stage, losing on penalties in 2016 (we will always have Hibs), beating them 4-0 in 2018 and losing in extra time last season (never rely on Hearts). Apart from that 1925 win, our only earlier Scottish Cup semi win over Rangers was in 1892, the season the trophy came home with us for the first time.
We live in an era when a great number of historic wrongs are being put right. Win the Cup, and we move clear at the top of the Treble Winners’ table, while we inch ever closer to forcing an opponent to paint over a ‘most successful club’ mural. Imagine the indignity.
Win this one for Jorge, Fergus, Paul McStay, Tom Boyd and Big Pierre. An era of Celtic players and fans were robbed on a level which is difficult to imagine now. Let’s get it done.