Back in the mists of time, a jubilant Glasgow Irish community threw a post-match dinner and celebration in honour of the original Edinburgh Hibernians in the St Mary’s Halls, Calton, in celebration of their fellow-immigrants’ historic Scottish Cup triumph of 1887. During and in the wake of that hospitality, the embryonic idea of a Glasgow Irish community football club was given the impetus that carried it through to fulfilment in the inauguration of Celtic at the same venue later that year.
Hibs it was, too, who hanseled the original Celtic Park in a fundraising friendly versus Cowlairs in May 1888, just a few weeks before Celtic’s inaugural 5-2 victory over the forerunners of today’s “Sevco FC”.
Likewise, following the 1891 demise of the “Old Hibs”, the inheritors of the club that had been the original standard-bearer for the Irish in Scottish senior football provided the opposition on the famous day in 1953 when Celtic annexed the oh-so-quintessentially-British Coronation Cup … remember … the glorious day when the Hampden terraces were covered in banners o’ green … “Tooraloo! Tooraloo!” and all that.
I could go on … but I think my point is well enough made.
And so, we take the floor for the next, imminent, “Pride of Erin” … the latest confrontation of two great Scottish clubs whose roots are firmly planted in Irish soil (one’s, nowadays, much more so than the other’s, it has to be said – but I digress). Which will waltz off with the silverware this time around? Will it be the one looking to add to its already record haul of Scottish Cups … or the one looking to end its agonising 111-year “hoodoo” in the football world’s oldest cup competition?
Forget the coincidental alignment of contenders and the unpalatable outcome of that 1902 final from a Celtic perspective. For we only know that there’s gonna’ be a show … and come what may this time around, when the dust has settled, the old pot will be decked out in green and white ribbons. Praise be for that!
No harm or disrespect to our Edinburgh “cousins” – but let’s hope and pray there’s a little thread of gold in there, as well … and that any sunshine on Leith is restricted to clement Scottish summer weather.