Regular readers of our Matchday Magazine will know all the facts and figures behind each new week at Cliftonville Football Club, while our Twitter followers are regaled with daily delves into the archives – and today provides another notable anniversary.
For it was on August 14, 1984 that the Reds hosted Celtic in a friendly that went down in folklore for a multitude of reasons both good and bad.
Goals from John Colquhoun, Frank McGarvey and a Jim Melrose double helped the Bhoys to a 4-0 success which has, unfortunately, been framed throughout history by less-than-complimentary headlines but, rather than reflect on the negatives of that occasion, cliftonvillefc.net today examines Cliftonville’s overall record against the Scottish Champions.
The teams’ most famous encounters did, of course, come in the Second Qualifying Round of the 2013/14 Champions League, but the relationship between the Clubs stretches back a further 116 years.
The first showdown came on April 19, 1897, when the Hoops recorded a 2-0 victory in a ‘Grand Easter Football Match’ that was also Cliftonville’s final outing before undertaking a tour of England that included meetings with both Liverpool and Manchester City.
Some 57 years later on September 13, 1954, Celtic visited Belfast as part of the Reds’ 75th Anniversary celebrations and played out a 2-2 draw with a home side supplemented by four players borrowed from Bohemians – including goalkeeper Sean Connolly, whose son John would go on to make 261 appearances for the Club between 2004 and 2012.
A full 25 years would pass between that infamous night in 1984 and the Hoops’ next trip to Solitude and it certainly proved worth the wait for home fans, who celebrated as a brace of Chris Scannell efforts and a Ciaran Caldwell header earned a 3-0 triumph in the Club’s 130th Anniversary fixture.
The summer of 2012 saw a Celtic Development XI recover from a Liam Boyce opener to lead through strikes from Tony Watt and Callum McGregor, only for Joe Gormley to pounce with an injury-time strike for 2-2, while 12 months later, a significantly stronger Glaswegian representation returned for the maiden competitive battle between the sides and, after emerging 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Mikael Lustig, Georgios Samaras and James Forrest, they would go on to secure a 5-0 aggregate success when Efe Ambrose and Samaras found the net during a memorable return leg at Parkhead.
In 2016, meanwhile, a huge crowd descended upon Solitude for George McMullan’s Testimonial on a night that saw Fiacre Kelleher, Calvin Miller and substitute Mark Hill on target for a young Hoops outfit, while the Clubs’ most recent engagement came in a behind-closed-doors fixture at Lennoxtown in 2018, when Ryan Curran and Conor McDonald found the net for Cliftonville in 2-2 draw.
Meetings Through History
April 19, 1897: Cliftonville 0-2 Celtic
September 13, 1954: Cliftonville 2-2 Celtic
August 14, 1984: Cliftonville 0-4 Celtic
October 13, 2009: Cliftonville 3-0 Celtic
July 28, 2012: Cliftonville 2-2 Celtic
July 17, 2013: Cliftonville 0-3 Celtic
July 23, 2013: Celtic 2-0 Cliftonville
April 11, 2016: Cliftonville 0-3 Celtic
July 7, 2018: Celtic 2-2 Cliftonville