Raith Rovers’ most famous victory against Celtic is cemented in Scottish football folklore.
You know the one: Gordon Dalziel leveller; Scott Thomson heroics; Paul McStay penalty heartbreak.
From a Rovers perspective, that Coca-Cola Cup final triumph in 1994 overshadows every other meeting between the sides.
But what about their last win over the Hoops at Celtic Park? After all, that’s the feat John McGlynn’s men must replicate on Thursday evening.
Here, Courier Sport tells the story of that 1-0 victory on April 21, 1962.
Cup final day
It was not the biggest game in Scotland that afternoon.
It wasn’t even the biggest game in Glasgow.
In the south side of the city, Rangers were facing St Mirren in the Scottish Cup final in front of 127,940 supporters.
By contrast, the reported attendance at Parkhead was 11,000.
The Hoops were resigned to being also-rans in a Division One title race that Dundee would ultimately win; their finest hour.
“The Celtic support had given up for the season, it appeared,” wrote David Potter in the book Rovers Greats. “And those who were there turned on their team.”
That backlash was particularly potent following Bobby Adamson’s opening goal, with the former Dee and St Mirren attacker lofting a header beyond Celtic goalkeeper Francis Haffey after 77 minutes.
Worse news was to follow for the hosts.
From Rovers Greats: “In the second half, their mood was not improved by the dismal tidings from their transistor radios.”
Goals from Ralph Brand and Davie Wilson would see Scot Symon’s Rangers side claim a 2-0 triumph over the Buddies.
“Rangers were wining the Scottish Cup, and the green and white brigade began to cheer Raith’s brave defenders.”
At the heart of those heroic efforts were Dennis Mochan, Bobby Stein and, perhaps most impressive, the legendary Andy Leigh.
Leigh was in his 12th and penultimate season with the Rovers when he took to the Parkhead turf; a remanent of the wonderful Rovers side of the 1950s.
By this point, Raith were in decline — they would be relegated the following season — but Leigh rolled back the years against the Hoops.
The late, great Leigh would ultimately make 489 appearances for Raith before becoming a publican and serving Rovers as groundsman.
From Rovers Greats: “An old Celtic fan turned to a Raith supporter and asked ‘Leigh? Is that Leigh? Is he still playing for you?’ Indeed, he was and saving his team from relegation.”
One for the birds
The Kirkcaldy club would avoid relegation by two points in 1962, with St Johnstone and Stirling Albion instead dropping to Division Two.
While this would not go down in the history books as a vintage Celtic side, that should not undercut the scale of the achievement.
This was the Hoops’ only home league defeat during the 1961/62 campaign and they were able to call upon Billy McNeil and Pat Crerand, heroes of Scotland’s 2-0 win over England just seven days prior.
Not that the availability of the latter seemed to help.
“Even Pat Crerand got his share of the ‘raspberry’ treatment,” reported The Sunday Post of April 22, 1962.
It added: “That loud clatter you heard at 4.28 yesterday afternoon was Celtic’s proud, unbeaten home league record going for a Burton . . . this display was strictly one for the birds.”
What price another clatter like that as darkness falls this Thursday?