November 6, 1887
Celtic Football Club is formally constituted in St Mary’s Church Hall in East Rose Street (now Forbes Street), Calton. The purpose is stated as being to alleviate poverty in Glasgow’s East End parishes.
May 28, 1888
Celtic beat Rangers 5-2 in a “friendly”. It is the new club’s first match and is played on the first Celtic Park.
Celtic reach the final of the Scottish Cup in their first full season of competition, but they lose 2-1 to the well-established Third Lanark. However, the club wins its first trophy, the North-Eastern Cup (a local competition), beating Cowlairs 6-1 in the final.
Celtic win the Scottish Cup for the first time in their history by defeating Queen’s Park 5-2 in the final at Ibrox Park. A few months later, the club moves to its present ground.
Celtic win their first Scottish League Championship.
Celtic win the League Championship for six successive seasons.
Celtic achieve the “double” by winning the Scottish Cup and the League Championship in the same season, the first time the feat has been achieved in the history of the national sport. The team repeats the achievement the following season.
Celtic win the championship four times in a row.
Celtic beat Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup final, watched by a record crowd of 146,433 at Hampden Park. The attendance (sometimes reported as 147,365) remains a record for a club match in Europe.
Celtic win the Empire Exhibition Trophy by defeating Everton 1-0 at Ibrox after extra time in the final.
Celtic defeat Hibernian 2-0 in the final of the Coronation Cup, held to celebrate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II. The invited teams included the best in Scotland and England, and the final attracted a crowd of 117,000 at Hampden Park.
Celtic win the League Cup for the first time – after a decade of striving – by beating Partick Thistle 3-0 in a replay.
Celtic retain the League Cup in memorable style by thrashing Rangers 7-1 in the final.
Celtic reach the semi-final of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in only their second campaign in European competition, but lose 4-3 on aggregate to MTK Budapest.
Jock Stein succeeds Jimmy McGrory as manager in March 1965, and guides the team to the first victory in a Scottish Cup final in 11 years. Billy McNeill’s dramatic header seals a 3-2 win over Dunfermline Athletic.
Celtic win the championship for the first time in 12 seasons, and reach the semi-final of the Cup-Winners’ Cup again before losing 2-1 on aggregate to Liverpool.
Celtic complete their most glorious season by winning every competition entered: Scottish League, Scottish Cup, League Cup, Glasgow Cup and the European Cup. The climax of the season is the 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in the European Cup final played at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon on May 25, 1967. Celtic thus become the first British (and non-Latin) club to win Europe’s most coveted trophy.
Celtic reach the final of the European Cup again, but lose 2-1 to Feyenoord after extra time in Milan. In the semi-final Celtic defeated Leeds United in both legs. The second leg at Hampden Park was watched by 133,961, the largest crowd ever to watch a match in European club competition.
Celtic reach the European Cup semi-final for the third time, but lose in heart-breaking fashion at Parkhead to Inter Milan when Dixie Deans misses the first spot kick during the penalty shoot-out.
Celtic win the league championship for the ninth season in a row – at the time, a joint world record for success in domestic titles. The team reaches the semi-final of the European Cup for the fourth time, but loses 2-0 on aggregate to Atletico Madrid.
Billy McNeill, captain of the 1967 team, succeeds Jock Stein as manager. During Stein’s 12-year tenure (excluding 1975/76, when he was recuperating from injuries received in a car accident), the club enjoyed 25 successes in major competitions: the European Cup, 10 Championships, 8 Scottish Cups and 6 League Cups.
Billy McNeill guides Celtic to the championship in his first season as manager. The title is gained in truly dramatic fashion at Celtic Park with a 4-2 win over Rangers in the club’s final match.
Celtic win the Scottish Cup by beating Dundee United 2-1 at Hampden Park in the 100th cup final.
Celtic snatch the championship by edging out Heart of Midlothian on the last day of the campaign. The margin was on goal difference, as Celtic beat St Mirren 5-0 at Love Street and Hearts fall to two late goals from Dundee at Dens Park.
Celtic celebrate the centenary season (1987/88) by winning the first “double” in 11 years. The accomplishment marks the 35th league title, and the 28th Scottish Cup.
Celtic win the Scottish Cup for the 29th time as Joe Miller’s goal sinks Rangers by 1-0.
Celtic play home fixtures at Hampden Park during season 1994/95, while Celtic Park is undergoing the first phase of a reconstruction, leading to the development of a stadium for the new Millennium, capable of holding 60,500 spectators in all-seated comfort. The ‘exile’ ends with a 1-0 victory over Airdrieonians in the Scottish Cup final, marking the club’s 30th triumph in the competition and also the first major trophy since 1989.
Tommy Burns is replaced by the Dutch coach Wim Jansen, ironically a member of the Feyenoord side which defeated Celtic in the European Cup final in Milan in 1970. In 1997 he guides Celtic to the first League Cup final victory in 15 years in a 3-0 defeat of Dundee United at Ibrox Park, a competition sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Jansen continues the good work by steering Celtic to the first Scottish League championship since 1988, and preventing Rangers from surpassing Celtic’s cherished Nine-in-a Row record. However, he departs almost immediately and is replaced for the start of the new campaign by Dr Jozef Venglos, a coach of vast international experience, most notably as manager of Czechoslovakia.
A shock 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park in the Scottish Cup by rank outsiders Inverness Caledonian Thistle in February leads to the departure of John Barnes, with Kenny Dalglish taking control of team matters until the end of the season. Celtic end up the 1999/2000 season as runners-up to Rangers in the championship, but a massive 21 points behind. The gloom is lifted slightly by a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen in the League Cup final, a competition now sponsored by the Co-operative Insurance Society. During the summer Martin O’Neill takes over as Celtic’s manager – and will soon be in full control of the football operations following the departure of Kenny Dalglish. O’Neill, an Irishman, has established an excellent reputation as a manager with a chain of clubs in England, notably Leicester City. He endears himself to the Celtic support by masterminding an astonishing 6-2 league victory over Rangers at Celtic Park on August 27, a promising omen for his and Celtic’s future.
Celtic record a back to back series of victories over Rangers in February (semi final of the League Cup at Hampden and a league encounter at Celtic Park). In March, Celtic lift the first silverware of the season, retaining
the League Cup after a 3-0 victory over Kilmarnock which included a Henrik Larsson hat-trick.
By the end of April, Celtic have regained the League Championship with five games to go and beat Rangers away from home in the league for thefirst time in six years; whilst top scorer Henrik Larsson has recorded his 50th strike of the season. By the end of the season, Larsson goes on to record 53 strikes on the way to a domestic treble of League Championship, Scottish Cup (a 3-0 win against Hibernian in the final) and CIS Cup (a 3-0 win against Kilmarnock in the final.
After a season filled with excitement unparalleled since the heady days of the 60’s and 70’s, Celtic finish the season without a trophy, having lost to Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup, and to Rangers in the CIS Cup. Celtic finish second (by one goal) to Rangers in the league after contesting the most exciting end of season league card for decades. Celtic beat Kilmarnock 4-0 away, but Rangers beat Dunfermline 6-1 at home to win through. Days earlier in Seville a brave Celtic side were beaten 3-2 in extra time by Porto in the final of the UEFA Cup – Celtic’s first such final for 33 years.
The bitter-sweet ending to the previous year acts as an incentive for Celtic’s players as they seek to re-fill the trophy-room. A record-breaking run of consecutive victories in the league helps to clinch the title once again –even before the league split has been effected – and more importantly sees Celtic qualify for the Champions’ League without recourse to preliminary ties. Disappointment in the League Cup is cast aside as the Scottish Cup is added to the season’s booty. The final against Dunfermline rekindles old memories of 1965, and sees the valedictory performance of Henrik Larsson, who leaves Celtic for Barcelona – but not before effectively turning the final around with two supreme Larssonesque strikes. Henrik’s departure, though inevitable, is a wrench for the Celtic support. By way of compensation,the Brazilian genius Juninho is added to the squad, and Celtic is now comfortably the dominant force in Scotland; ready for the imminent challenges from abroad.
Progression from the first group stage of the Champions League continues to elude Celtic after a poor result in Donetsk, and an unlucky loss in Milan. Henrik Larsson comes back to haunt Celtic with a goal in Barcelona’s 3 1 win in that competition at Celtic Park. League and cup success looks a safer bet, and with only a win required in the last match of the season at Motherwell, and leading by a single goal with 3 minutes left, everything seems set for a celebration. Two goals in that period by the home side are enough to shatter Celtic’s dreams as closest challengers Rangers beat Hibs at Easter road to clinch a last minute title win.
The Scottish Cup once again provides succor to the ravaged Celtic family when Celtic win the old trophy for the 33rd time, beating Dundee United in the final.
Perhaps the biggest blow of all in a traumatic season comes when Martin O’Neill; a man who has single handedly transformed Celtic from the depths of oblivion into a European force to be reckoned with; reluctantly decides
to resign as manger for family reasons. He is replaced by former Aberdeen and Manchester United player Gordon Strachan. Strachan had managed Coventry City and Southampton before.
Gordon Strachan’s first season in charge at Celtic ended in the best possible manner – by winning the Scottish Premierleague – though it had got off to the worst possible start when his side were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Artmedia Bratislava.
However, it soon became clear that Celtic were intent on re-asserting their domestic dominance, though the surprising thing was that it was Hearts who provided the nearest challenge to them. Indeed, it was only after a dramatic 3-2 victory at Tynecastle on New Year’s Day 2006 that the Hoops began to pull away from the Edinburgh side.
Celtic also won their first trophy under Gordon Strachan when they lifted the CIS Cup in March 2006 with a 3-0 victory over Dunfermline at Hampden. It proved to be an emotional occasion, however, as just a few days before the final, Celtic legend Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone passed away after a long and courageous fight against Motor Neurone Disease.
At Hampden, all the Celtic players wore the No.7 on their short in tribute to the Greatest Ever Celt.
The league title was won with a 1-0 victory over Hearts at Celtic Park, with John Hartson scoring the vital goal, and the reward for Celtic’s title triumph was automatic qualification into the group stages of next season’s Champions League.
For the second season in a row, Gordon Strachan had to build a new side with several players leaving the club and a few new faces arriving, including Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink from PSV Eindhoven and Thomas Gravesen from Real Madrid.
And almost from the opening day of the season, when Celtic defeated Kilmarnock 4-1, the reigning Champions were at the top of the league. They re-affirmed their dominance over Rangers with a 2-0 victory at Celtic Park, with Gravesen and Kenny Miller scoring the goals, and the gap at the top of the table grew with each passing week.
Celtic also made history in Europe when they qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time ever. It came courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Celtic Park when Shunsuke Nakamura fired home a free-kick late in the game. And Artur Boruc saved a last-minute penalty to secure the victory.
In the last 16, Celtic faced Italian giants AC Milan, and they only lost out 1-0 on aggregate after extra-time, when Kaka scored the only goal of the game in the San Siro.
Celtic won their second consecutive league title when Nakamura – voted Scotland’s Player of the Year – scored a last-minute goal against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
And the team secured the Double with a 1-0 victory over Dunfermline at Hampden thanks to a late goal by on-loan defender, Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe. The Scottish Cup triumph was also Neil Lennon’s final game for the club. After over 300 games since joining in December 2000, the Irishman had won 11 medals and proved himself to be a great Celtic player.
For the second successive season, the Celts had qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League but the might of Barcelona proved too strong despite the Hoops leading twice at home and the Catalan side went
through 4-2 on aggregate. However, there was more joy in the league as a seven-point deficit was turned around with two memorable victories over Rangers being among seven successive victories in the final seven games of the season.
On the final night of the term, a 1-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice secured the title while Rangers were losing 2-0 at Pittodrie. The championship saw Gordon Strachan join Jock Stein as the only Celtic managers to win three successive titles in their first three years with the club.
The title win was tinged with sadness, though, as the championship was dedicated to Celtic legend Tommy Burns who had died the previous Thursday. It also meant automatic qualification for the Champions League but the Hoops didn’t progress from a group that included Manchester United, Villarreal and Aalborg.
Celtic failed to make it four-in-a-row but it was a close-run campaign with the Hoops finishing four points behind Rangers and the title run going almost all the way for Gordon Strachan’s side.
The Champions League provided the Hoops with a tough group that included Manchester United, Villarreal and Aalborg, with Celtic’s only joy coming at home with draws against the English and Danish sides while Villarreal were defeated 2-0 but the Celts didn’t qualify from the group.
Just a week after thrashing St Mirren 7-0 in the league, Celtic came up against the Paisley side again in the Scottish Cup and suffered a shock 1-0 defeat.
However, the following weekend, Celtic travelled to Hampden for the League Cup final and recorded a 2-0 win over Rangers with Darren O’Dea and Aiden McGeady scoring the goals in extra-time to land the silverware.
The big news at the end of the season, though, was that Gordon Strachan was leaving the manager’s chair at the club.
Celtic began season 2009/10 with a new man at the helm as former player Tony Mowbray arrived as manager but, despite a flurry of transfer activity, there would be further managerial changes before the end of the season.
There was an early exit from the Champions League followed by the team getting no further than the group stage of the Europa League and the Hoops also lost out in the League Cup.
The league was the yardstick, though, and while results weren’t fantastic, it was a devastating 4-0 defeat to St Mirren that did for Mowbray and his role as manager was terminated the next morning, with Development Squad coach, Neil Lennon, taking up the role of interim manager.
Despite another shock loss in the Scottish Cup to Ross County, Lennon completed the rest of the season with a 100 per cent win record in the league and he was offered the job full time and accepted to take the team into the new season.
Celtic celebrated their 125th anniversary in November 2012, the same week as their UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona. Celtic won 2–1 on the night to complete a memorable week, and eventually qualified from the group stages for the last 16 round. Celtic finished the season with League and Scottish Cup double
Celtic clinched their third consecutive league title in March 2014, with goalkeeper Fraser Forster setting a new record during the campaign of 1256 minutes without conceding a goal in a league match. At the end of the season, manager Neil Lennon announced his departure from the club after four years in the role. Norwegian Ronny Deila was appointed manager of Celtic on 6 June 2014.
After going unbeaten on a pre-season tour in Austria, Deila’s first competitive match as manager of Celtic, a Champions League qualifying tie away against KR Reykjavik on 15 July 2014, ended in a 1–0 win with midfielder Callum McGregor scoring the decisive goal on 84 minutes. Celtic eased to a 4–0 win in the return match in Scotland, but were comprehensively beaten and outplayed in the next qualifying round, losing 6–1 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw. Despite this, Celtic were given a reprieve when it was discovered that Legia had fielded an ineligible player in the second leg, Bartosz Bereszyński coming on as a substitute in the last four minutes. UEFA punished the Polish club by awarding the game 3–0 to Celtic, levelling the aggregate score at 4–4 and seeing the Scottish champions progress on away goals. Despite this astonishing piece of luck, Celtic failed abjectly to take advantage in the final qualifier against Maribor, losing 2–1 on aggregate to drop down to the Europa League. Celtic were unconvincing in the early stages of the league as well, but improved as the season progressed and also qualified from their Europa League group. Deila won the Manager of the Month award for November 2014. By February 2015, Celtic had won 15 of their last 17 domestic games and comfortably defeated Rangers 2–0 in the semi-final of the League Cup. Former Celtic striker John Hartson had branded Deila as “clueless” in October, but now stated that Deila has “..turned it round to his credit and they’re playing some brilliant football at the moment”.
Deila won his first trophy at Celtic on 15 March; Celtic’s defeating Dundee United 2–0 in the League Cup final. Celtic’s bid for a domestic treble ended when they were beaten by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup on 19 April 2015. Celtic clinched their fourth successive league title in May, with manager Deila commenting “We’ve had a terrific few months – we deserved to win the league.”
Celtic began the season again attempting to qualify for the Champions League. They knocked out Stjarnan from Iceland and Qarabağ from Azerbaijan in the early qualifying rounds, but lost 4–3 on aggregate to Swedish side Malmö FF in the final play-off round. This meant for the second successive season, Celtic dropped in to the Europa League. Celtic’s Europa League campaign was poor and littered with individual errors which contributed to dropped points in every match. Celtic failed to qualify, finishing bottom of their group, and was the first time Celtic went through a group stage of a European competition without recording a single victory.
Deila was criticised for Celtic’s poor European campaign, and a series of indifferent performances in the league saw him placed under further scrutiny. In April 2016, Celtic suffered a 5–4 loss on penalties to Old Firm rivals Rangers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, after a 2–2 extra-time draw in which Celtic fought back against the newly promoted Championship side twice to level the score. Three days later, Deila (who had been under incredible pressure from fans of the club) announced his resignation from his post once Celtic had finished the season. Nevertheless, Deila led Celtic to their fifth consecutive League championship, clinching the title on 8 May with a 3–2 win over nearest challengers Aberdeen. Celtic finished the season a week later with an emphatic 7–0 win over Motherwell, seeing Deila depart the club on a high note after two years in charge. The seventh goal in that game was scored by debutant Jack Aitchison, who at 16 years and 71 days old became both the youngest player ever to represent the club in a competitive match and the youngest goalscorer.
On 20 May 2016, it was confirmed that 43-year-old Brendan Rodgers would take over at the club with immediate effect, the Irishman having previously managed Swansea City and Liverpool in the English Premier League. In the days that followed, Chris Davies was named as assistant manager and Glen Driscoll appointed as head of performance. Both men had previously worked with Rodgers at Swansea and Liverpool.
On 14 July 2016, Celtic formally unveiled their new 2,600 capacity “rail seating” area within Celtic Park, becoming the first British club to do so.
Celtic’s first competitive match under Rodgers, saw the team lose 1–0 against Gibraltan minnows Lincoln Red Imps in the first leg of the Second Round Champions League qualifiers, a result described by The Scotsman as a “humiliation” and mooted by other media as being one of the worst results in the club’s history. Celtic quickly found their feet though, winning the second leg 3–0 and going on to eliminate Astana and Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the subsequent qualifying rounds to progress into the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013. Celtic’s new signings Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembélé also helped the club make a strong start to their league campaign, with Sinclair scoring in each of the first six league matches and Dembélé scoring a hat-trick in Celtic’s 5–1 win over newly promoted Rangers, becoming the first Celtic player to score three goals against Rangers since Harry Hood in 1973.
The team’s opening match in the Champions League on 13 September 2016 proved to be a humbling experience though as Barcelona delivered a footballing lesson in a 7–0 rout, the club’s heaviest ever European defeat and the second-heaviest in the club’s history. A level of pride was restored in the next Champions League tie, Celtic holding Manchester City to a 3–3 draw at Celtic Park and ending the high-spending English club’s run of ten consecutive wins, with Dembélé scoring twice. Further draws away at Borussia Mönchengladbach and in the return match at Manchester City saw Celtic finish the group on three points, albeit coming fourth and going out of Europe.
Celtic continued their unbeaten run in domestic competitions into the New Year, during which time the club won their 100th major trophy, defeating Aberdeen 3–0 in the League Cup Final on 27 November 2016. Celtic’s 5–2 win away at St Johnstone on 5 February 2017 saw them extend their lead in the league to 27 points over second-placed Aberdeen, and was their 19th consecutive league win, with the only points dropped in the season so far being in a 2–2 draw away at Inverness in September. They continued undefeated through March, going to extend their winning run to 22 consecutive league games, although dropped points in a 1–1 draw at Parkhead against Rangers. Celtic clinched their sixth successive league title on 2 April 2017, with a record eight league games to spare. As Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run continued, they subjected Rangers to their heaviest defeat at Ibrox since 1915, thrashing their rivals 5–1 on 29 April. Celtic’s 2–0 win over Hearts on 21 May saw them finish 30 points ahead of second-placed Aberdeen in the league, win a record 106 points, and the team become the first Scottish side to complete a top-flight season undefeated since 1899. On 27 May 2017, Celtic clinched their fourth treble by defeating Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final, with Tom Rogic scoring the winning goal in injury time. The cup final win saw Celtic go through the entire domestic season unbeaten.