Because they believed they were being followed once more, the three guys walked stealthily and anxiously. They ran to the safety of the carriage after sprinting into the train station, where they took their seats and breathed a sigh of relief. They were still haunted by the worry of being found even as the transport—their only hope—began to advance.
Such events would not be unusual in a spy novel, perhaps one by Graham Greene or John le Carre. Instead, it is an account of a set of transfer talks that took place near the close of the nineteenth century, one of several odd occurrences from Celtic’s first championship-winning season (1892–1893).
Hidden contacts, clandestine train journeys, and intimidation and threats were just a few of the unusual player tactics that helped Celtic win their first-ever league title.
As the Bhoys get set to fly their newest League banner, some people might go back to the first time this happened, 130 years ago. On August 12, 1893, Celtic welcomed Third Lanark to Glasgow’s east end for the opening match of the new season, which saw the raising of the first flag.
The full narrative of what transpired includes kidnappings, riots, stand collapses, court fights, and, of course, a lot of football. The book The Bould Bhoys is brand-new! Glory to their name – gives previously obscure details about these occurrences.
The Glasgow club refused to back down, and they received support from Notts County, who attempted to obstruct the strategy of their rivals. When the Celts discovered his whereabouts, McMahon agreed to assist them in bringing him back to the north.
The player did, however, have defence in the form of Neil McCallum, the club’s first-ever goal scorer, and Alexander Barbour, an ex-Celtic striker. When McCallum intimidated the cab driver, the three Celts were about to board it and were left waiting while the carriage continued.
The escapees eventually managed to get away and sought safety in a local pub. They arrived at Manchester’s train station the following day, but they were wary should the Nottingham Forest committee members find them. Even while on the run, they were terrified of being caught.
The way that newspapers were displayed today seems strange to modern eyes as well. For instance, many match reports neglect to mention the fact that the stand collapsed during the St. Mirren versus Celtic game, despite the fact that it forced the game to be suspended. The news was instead covered elsewhere in the newspaper, with no connection to the sports coverage.
When asked about his team’s accomplishments, club secretary John H. McLaughlin said, “Regarding our team’s doings, I regret to say I am unable to paint them in the same glowing terms that I was in the happy position of doing last year.” This was said at Celtic’s 1893 annual meeting, which was held after they were declared champions. In addition, a newspaper claimed that Celtic would still feel “a little bit of satisfaction” even if they didn’t win the league.