52 Titles And Counting: Telling The Tale Of Celtic’s First Flag

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“If you know the history” are words every Celtic fan knows. And it’s always possible to find out even more.

This was the attitude that led me to research and write my first ever Celtic book, out on 24th March. Called ‘The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name’, it’s the story of the Celts’ first league title.

The topic is perfectly timed: this May 9th is 130 years to the day since that achievement.

Writing a book is something I have always wanted to do; it’s a personal ambition for many people. And I’d urge you to go for it, as long as you’re prepared to put the time aside to carry out the research needed before writing it up.

For me, this involved a combination of reading other books, doing newspaper archive study and spending days sitting staring at microfilm records in the Mitchell Library.

Hard work but worth it because of the detailed knowledge it gives you not only about the event you’re researching, but other nuggets of information too.

We don’t think about connections between Celtic and the circus. But finding out about the Bhoys’ first title brought that to light.

And sometimes you can source new information about early Celtic heroes, including the day that forward Johnny Madden could have drowned in the Clyde.

It also spurs you on to other research. The league title information kept mentioning Mick McKeown (a Celtic defender with a tragic story); his life is likely to be the subject of my next book.

The actual story of season 1892-93 is easily worthy of its own standalone book, and this is the first time it has happened. There was probably enough events and controversy for two books!

Transfers are one example. Celtic were constantly in the papers concerning moves at the time, there even tales involving kidnapping, with one player said to have been returned to Glasgow against his well.

Other times, priests were needed to bring back those men that had ‘strayed from the flock’, and there was no shortage of official complaints and legal fights too.

It was also all-change for the Celts during the season. 1892 saw the departure of the legendary Brother Walfrid, and also the first time that Celtic played at the current Celtic Park site.

The matches were a real rollercoaster for the ‘Stripes’ (as the Celts played in green-and-white stripes then, not hoops). For most of the season Celtic were nowhere near the top of the table.

And there are so many names involved who have crafted out their own notable place in Celtic’s history, including Willie Maley, James Kelly and Dan Doyle.

If you want to find out more about this fascinating story, my book will tell you more what enabled Celtic to first fly the league flag over Celtic Park.

So this May 9th, spare a thought for the trailblazing Bhoys 130 years that accomplished this.

Hopefully Ange and his modern Celts will be doing the same this season.

Matthew Marr is a regular contributor to the blog. His first book ‘The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name’ is available now to buy on pre-order.

You can get it at:

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1 comment

  • Magua says:

    I look forward to reading your book. I take it that your mention of kidnapping, involved the ‘Johnstone Vigilante Committee’? I think that it was in ‘The Shamrock’ site, that I first read if their exploits.

    Hail Hail.

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