I love designing t-shirts for Celtic Fans and I believe that your t-shirt should tell a story.
Subtle … but unmistakably Celtic to the core … each tee represents a little cameo of time, place, event, or character central to our Grand Old Team.
Celtic was founded at a meeting in St Mary’s Hall, Calton, on 6th November 1887, but the seeds were sown in a remarkable confrontation at Dublin Quay some twenty years before.
Ireland was embroiled in the Fenian uprising of 1867 when a young rebel, Patrick Welsh, was cornered by British Army Sgt, Thomas Maley. The soldier allowed the young Irish patriot to dodge a probable firing squad and escape, shipboard, to freedom in Scotland.
Fast forward twenty years to the foundation of the Celtic Football & Athletic Company in those St Mary’s rooms at 67 East Rose Street, with retired Sgt Maley then resident in nearby Cathcart. The shrewd Brother Walfrid, clearly aware of the history and subsequent enduring bond between the erstwhile “enemies” … and its potential for positive influence … recruited the ‘exiled’ Pat Welsh, by now a successful Glasgow tailor, to accompany him and John Glass to the Maley household. Their mission - to secure for Celtic the services of renowned local player of the time, Tom Maley.
Happily, circumstances dictated that, as well as Tom, the deputation also snapped up his brother … a certain Willie Maley … who went on to guide the club for its first 50 years, or so - and whose song still resounds around Celtic Park to this day.
So, you see, those unlikely ‘troubled’ seeds flourished a century later into the high point (to date) of Celtic history, with the Lisbon Lions’ epic European Cup victory of 25th May 1967.
Lisbon Lions (1967)
On that ‘Day of Days’ in the still ongoing fairytale, hordes of the unprecedented army of land, sea and airlifted Celtic pilgrims would have made the final leg of their arduous trek to the hallowed ground of Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional, by rail. Among their number, a certain Pat Woods, destined, in tandem with his associate, Tom Campbell, to become one of our club’s foremost historians, whose place in Celtic’s literary pantheon is forever assured, had the great foresight to hold on to the local train ticket he purchased that day.
Doubtless, that day’s tickets were purchased in Portuguese escudos, a few of which may even have found their way home later in near empty corners of weary pockets. Likewise, local stamps will have helped wing postcards homeward to chronicle that epic trip.
The ‘Servico Especial’ tee design is based on Pat’s ticket, which he shared with a collector of Celtic memorabilia. We highly recommend keeping an eye on his twitter account, @jamiebhoy2009, it’s a goldmine of Celtic history.
A deep debt of gratitude is owed to Pat Woods for his unique contribution to Celtic lore and to the Celtic family; for preserving what has evolved into a precious club artifact; and for allowing us to create within our Lisbon Lions Collection, a tee inspired by that humble souvenir.
Fergus McCann (1994-1999)
As a young fan, Fergus McCann was a regular on the Croy Celtic Supporters’ bus.
Years later, having emigrated to Canada, he looked on in horror as the old “families” board steered his Grand Old Team to the very brink of extinction. It was more than the committed Celtic man could stand.
Aligning himself with the home-based “Rebels” of the early 1990s who were in the front line of the bitter battle for the soul of Celtic, Fergus picked his moment. His intervention at the head of the consortium that would decisively wrench power from the Kelly/Grant/White axis, launched the club into the ensuing and ongoing land of “Jelly and Ice Cream” via his phenomenally successful 1994 Share Issue.
On March 4 of that pivotal year, these immortal words were spoken on the steps of Celtic Park:
“The game is over … the ‘Rebels’ have won!”
Those two simple but profound phrases ushered in the era that, over time, saw Celtic Park rise from the mediocrity of long-term neglect into the Theatre of Dreams it is today; and created in Celtic a club fit for the ‘King of Kings’.
We, the beneficiaries of his foresight and business acumen, all owe that deceptively innocuous-looking wee man a huge debt of gratitude.
It was November 1915, when legendary manager, Willie Maley, led his hooped heroes into a 62-game unbeaten run that would extend all the way to April 1917.
Scottish football was, of course, very different then from now. It was not unheard of for the Celtic of that era to play two games on the same day - can you imagine that in the modern, highly commercialised, agent-dominated game?
That phenomenal Maley/Celtic achievement stood the test of time until the magic wand that seems to hover over our club was wafted once more 100 years on.
Season 2016/17 was remarkable in many ways. Not only did Celtic navigate the whole term unbeaten domestically - in the process the club recorded a rare ‘Treble’. Not even Hampden lightning could stop big Tom Rogic from clipping the ball into the Hearts net late on to seal the historic deal in a memorable Scottish Cup Final.
Thus came down the curtain on a truly remarkable season in which the Hoops were unbeaten in 47 domestic matches.
However, that run continued through to mid-December 2017, thereby surpassing even their illustrious predecessors of a century earlier, by achieving 69 domestic games undefeated. The hot streak extended all the way back to the final SPFL fixture of Season 2015/16, a 7-0 drubbing of Motherwell at Celtic Park.
The Treble Treble (2016-2019)
By any measure, a domestic Treble in professional football is a considerable achievement. To do so in three successive seasons is unprecedented, worldwide.
Throughout its long unbroken history, though, the Celtic Football Club has specialised in the unprecedented. So it is less inconceivable that it, more than any other club, might record such a phenomenal feat.
On the 25th May (of all days!) 2019, Celtic made history by winning the Scottish Treble for the third straight season, culminating in a thrilling added time 2-1 victory over Heart of Midlothian at Hampden Park. Hoops’ talismanic French striker, Odsonne Edouard, struck twice, first squaring the match from the penalty spot, then expertly lofting Mikael Lustig’s arrowed though-header delicately over the desperately scrambling Hearts ‘keeper to clinch the 2018/19 Scottish Cup, the 2018/19 ‘Treble’ and the fiendishly elusive 2016-2019 ‘TrebleTeble’, all in one fell swoop.
Who could have predicted that we would have won a Cup Final by the same score, on the same day, 52 years apart.