|Major Honours||Scottish League Championship (51), European Cup (1), Scottish Cup (40), Scottish League Cup (19)|
Celtic have been one of the two dominant forces in the Scottish game since their inception and boast a rich history of major honors, including a European Cup title that put them in the history books.
Celtic are a soccer club from Glasgow, Scotland - the only one in its country's soccer history to win the European Cup.
Celtic are the fierce local rivals of fellow Glasgow club Rangers. The two are by far the most successful teams in the history of Scottish soccer.
Affectionately known as the Hoops or the Bhoys, Celtic play their home matches at Celtic Park, a stadium with a capacity of 60,411 and a ground which has been the club's home for all but five years of the club's history - moving to their current site in 1892. Celtic are one of the best supported soccer clubs in Britain.
The beginnings of the Hoops
Celtic FC were founded in 1887 with the intention of combating poverty within the Irish immigrant community - with the club's connection to local charities continuing to this day. Their first match was in 1888, a friendly against Rangers which the newly formed Celtic won 5-2.
The team started by playing in an all-white kit, until moving to green and white vertical stripes in 1889. Their green and white hooped jerseys, which are still associated with the club today, were introduced in 1903.
In 1892, Celtic won the Scottish Cup, beating Queen's Park 5-1 in the final. They moved into Celtic Park months later and won their first Scottish League Championship title the following season.
Under the guidance of Willie Maley, Celtic won six league titles in a row between 1905 and 1910.
In 1907 and 1908, Celtic doubled up their league title successes with Scottish Cup triumphs.
Celtic won four league titles consecutively during the course of World War I and went 62 matches without defeat between November 1915 and April 1917.
Jimmy McGrory joined Celtic in 1922 and shone for the club, making his name as a lethal goalscorer with 395 goals in 378 league appearances for the Hoops.
His playing career at Celtic ended in 1937 and secretary-manager Maley retired in 1940.
McGrory later enjoyed a 20-year stint as manager and led Celtic to a league and cup double in 1953/54, but that was Celtic's only league title in the space of 28 barren years after 1937/38. Despite this gap in league titles won, Celtic have never been relegatedout of the top tier in Scotland.
Jock Stein took over as manager in 1965 and led the club through the most successful period in its history.
The Jock Stein era
Formerly a player for the Hoops, Stein won the Scottish Cup within months of joining Celtic as manager. This proved to be a sign of what was to come.
After winning the 1965/66 league title, Stein guided Celtic to a clean sweep of trophies the following season. The speed of the Hoops' progress in such a short space of time was illustrated by them scoring 30 more goals than the previous season.
With the burgeoning league success of the club, Stein's men began to impress in Europe as well, losing out narrowly to Liverpool in the European Cup Winners' Cup semifinals in 1966.
In the early years after Stein's arrival, Celtic won the league, Scottish Cup, League Cup, Glasgow Cup and European Cup - becoming the first British team ever to win the most prestigious tournament in Europe.
The Bhoys won 13 trophies in the 1960s and all of them came after Stein's arrival as manager halfway through the decade.
After the European Cup success of 1967, Celtic reached the final of the tournament again three years later under Stein, but lost 2-1 to Feyenoord in Milan.
Between 1965/66 and 1973/74, Celtic won the league title every season - matching the record of nine in a row held by themselves, which city rivals Rangers went on to match in the 1990s. Celtic also won the title in 1976/77 before Stein's departure.
In 12 years as Celtic manager (not including the 1975/76 season as he was recovering from a serious car crash), Stein enshrined himself as one of the most influential and successful figures in the history of the club.
The Lisbon Lions
In 1967, Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup. They beat Inter Milan 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon, on May 25, 1967. That team became immortalised in history, dubbed the 'Lisbon Lions'.
All of the Celtic players on the day were born within 30 miles of Glasgow and that Hoops side were the first team ever to win the European Cup using a team made up exclusively of players from the home nation of the squad.
The 11 players who achieved hero status against Inter were: Ronnie Simpson, Jim Craig, Tommy Gemmell, Bobby Murdoch, Billy McNeill (c), John Clark, Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Wallace, Stevie Chalmers, Bertie Auld and Bobby Lennox.
Sandro Mazzola put Inter in front via the penalty spot in the seventh minute and the Italians promptly retreated into defence to try and preserve their advantage. Celtic peppered their opposition with attacks, though, and the breakthrough was made in the second half when Gemmell equalized 63 minutes into the match.
The winning goal was scored by Chalmers with just six minutes remaining and manager Jock Stein summed it up with a quote that has since become immortal to Celtic supporters: "We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football."
Celtic were beaten by Racing Club of Argentina in the subsequent Intercontinental Cup, but the Hoops had put themselves front and center in the European game with their epic European Cup run.
Three years later, Stein led Celtic to another European Cup final. However, Gemmell's goal was not enough to prevent the Hoops from losing 2-1 after extra time to Feyenoord at the San Siro.
Continued success before a lean decade
Following Stein's eventual departure as manager in 1978, the reins were handed to the Lisbon Lions' European Cup-winning captain, Billy McNeill.
Under their former skipper, the 1980s saw Celtic earn more success. They won the league three times alongside another Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup, before Davie Hay came in to replace McNeill in 1983 after a five-year tenure.
However, despite another league and Scottish Cup added to the honours board at Celtic Park, McNeill was drafted back into the dugout in 1987.
McNeill led Celtic to a landmark double in 1987-88 - their centenary season - clinching the league and Scottish Cup.
However, Celtic did not win another league title for 10 years thereafter. The 1990s were marked by financial trouble.
With that, Rangers were able to hold a monopoly on league titles - winning nine in a row. Celtic's only league success of the 1990s was also an incredibly important one for the Celtic Park faithful, to stop their bitter rivals from breaking the club's record of consecutive title victories.
The Bhoys were able to get over the line in 1997/98 to protect their precious league record, much to the annoyance of their city rivals as Celtic looked to climb back towards their rivals and re-establish themselves at the top of the Scottish table.
The Hoops' return to the top
Wim Jansen led Celtic back to the top in 1997/98, preventing Rangers from beating their record of nine league titles in a row.
Martin O'Neill took over as manager in June 2000 and won three league titles in five attempts during his time at Parkhead.
Henrik Larsson was a star player for Celtic in this era, but his two goals could not prevent a 3-2 defeat to Jose Mourinho's FC Porto in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup final.
Nevertheless, Celtic's success continued for the most part domestically over the next two decades under the guidance of key managers Gordon Strachan, Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers. With the comparative misfortunes of Rangers, Celtic were free to build a platform to dominate Scottish soccer throughout the 2010s.
Rodgers' departure from Celtic to Leicester City in 2019 was notable. He left a side which was on its way to the league title and building a dynasty in Scotland to rejoin the Premier League with a side outside the traditional superpowers of England. This was indicative of the chasm between English and Scottish soccer in the modern era.
Lennon is currently in his second stint as manager. Both his stints have featured win percentages of over 70%. In total, he has guided Celtic to five league titles, four Scottish Cup titles and the 2019/20 Scottish League Cup.
Celtic's dominance under Lennon has been threatened somewhat by the re-emergence of Rangers under the guidance of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
Celtic and the Old Firm derby
Celtic's rivalry with Rangers is their most important and the two teams contest the Old Firm Derby.
After Rangers endured liquidation, they had to start again in the lower divisions of Scottish soccer, allowing Celtic to claim nine league titles in a row between 2011/12 and 2019/20.
Nevertheless, Rangers are still the team with the most Scottish league titles (54), but Celtic are the only one with a European Cup to date.
Alongside the religious implications of both sets of supporters, ideologies between the two have often not seen eye-to-eye, be it through political views or national identity between British and Irish Scots. Although these trends are appearing to wane in the 21st Century, the intensity of the rivalry between clubs is still as strong as ever.
Despite having met over 400 times through the course of history, the clubs are barely separable in the all-time head-to-head record.
Added to the fact both teams share the city of Glasgow and they are by far the best-supported clubs in Scotland, Old Firm days are the blue riband events in the Scottish soccer calendar.
Celtic and their fanbase
Celtic's rivalry with Rangers has seen their supporters of both sides historically divided between Catholicism and Protestantism, the derby has an added sectarian edge that often leads to altercations between fans on Old Firm matchdays.
In Celtic's early history, the club was formed to act as a community beacon in the East End of Glasgow, whereby money and resources would be brought to the area to help feed what was a poverty-stricken area at the time, with the area largely made up of Irish immigrants at the time. The club's beginnings form the basis of their identity to this day.
Support for the Hoops stretches far and wide, with an estimated 160 supporters' clubs based around the world for the club, based in more than 20 countries.
While Liverpool supporters are famously associated with the song 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry and the Pacemakers, the song is also heard ringing out around Celtic Park when the club plays European ties.
Celtic and finances
The 2019/20 financial year saw Celtic post a profit of £100,000. However, without the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal, this might have looked very different.
Celtic have made several notable player sales in recent years, including Virgil van Dijk, who brought in sell-on fees when he moved from Southampton to Liverpool.
Celtic have had 12 profitable years in the last 16, indicating that the club has healed from a difficult period in the 1990s which threatened its existence. It has largely been due to this financial health that they have dominated on the field, as Rangers were made to pay for their own financial mismanagement.
However, 2019/20 saw Celtic's turnover drop to £70.2million from £83.4million.
- Sep 29, 2021
- Sep 15, 2021