Another great Celtic comeback
When we, The Celtic Support, think of our greatest comebacks, we tend to think of games, where we won a league, a cup, or maybe even the big cup. This game didn’t win us any of those ,but it was certainly a pivotal moment in our history.
Jock Weir has a curious place in the history of Celtic. Larsson, McGrory and Lennox are remembered for many fine goals in finals, trophies and titles. Jock Weir is remembered for scoring some pivotal goals, but not in a final but rather to save Celtic from the ignominy of relegation.
Post-WW2 Celtic had hit a low and were easily superceded by Rangers and the Edinburgh pair. In season 1947-48, Celtic were staring potential relegation in the face and it all went down to the wire.
The pivotal game was against Dundee away from home in April 1948, and to say that morale was likely to be low is a bit of an understatement. The club had just suffered three heavy defeats to Hibs (2-4) and Third Lanark twice (1-5, 1-3) conceding 12 goals, leaving Celtic with the mathematical possibility of being relegated.
Celtic simply had to win the last match of the season or else the mathematical probability of relegation could have seen Celtic humiliatingly amongst the minnows in the lower tier division.
Into this mire stepped up a most unexpected hero on the day for Celtic: Jock Weir.
Jock Weir was bought from Blackburn as a big money signing for £7000 (a huge amount in those days). Said to be fast (too fast for the rest of the team at Blackburn apparently) and strong; this tireless performer was hoped to be a great signing for the club.
However, he was insufficient to halt Celtic’s continued slide from grace, and the aforementioned Dundee game became a vital day for the club.
Celtic had gone one up in the 14th minute, in front of a massive crowd of 31,000 and things were going well, However Celtic conceded a minute before half time and it was a nervous Celtic team who come out for the second half.
Dundee then went two one up, in the 60th minute, and, to the modern Celtic supporter, the unthinkable may have happened, Celtic could have been relegated. The tension was now palpable amongst the supporters who had travelled to Dundee, Celtic now needed a hero, to step up to the mark, that man was to be Jock Weir, on the 67th minute, what a magical number, Jock popped up with an equaliser and then he miraculously grabbed a winner in the final two minutes, to seal a hat-trick for himself and a relieving victory for the club to safeguard the situation.
The Celtic fans celebrated as if the first team had just won the league. It shouldn’t hide the fact that Celtic were poor, but humiliation was averted.
Ironically, Jock Weir hadn’t really impressed much as a goal scorer before this match, so what a time for him to repay back his transfer fee. Notably, for this game he was moved positions to ‘outside-right’ from his usual forward position. He was about to become a hat-trick hero and a man who would never be forgotten in our history.
Celtic finished with a paltry 25pts from 30 games, whilst Hibernian won the league with 48pts.
Brown, Follon, Irvine, Gallacher, Gray, Boyd, Gunn, Pattillo, Stewart, Ewen, Mackay
Dundee scorers: Ewen (44), Mackay (60)
Miller, Hogg, Mallan, Evans, Corbett, McAuley, Weir, McPhail, Lavery, Gallacher, Paton
Celtic scorers: Weir (14, 67, 88)
Ref:Mr Scott of Paisley
One benefit, to this close shave with relegation, was that this created a shock to the system within Celtic that led to some short-lived reform, piecemeal that it was in the end. A new respected trainer Jimmy Hogan was brought in, and Charlie Tully and Bobby Collins were bought to shore up the squad. It didn’t take the club back to the top quickly but it did help push the first team back up the table a few notches, as some credibility was needed to be recovered.
It was to be a long time before Celtic were to really regain pride back under Jock Stein as manager, although there were some great times during the 1950’s as well which should always be remembered (e.g. league & cup double of 1953-54).
Once again, many thanks to Celtic Wiki.
Todays contribution is from Jimmynotpaul. We are more than happy to publish guest contributions’s.