1955 Scottish Cup Final (partially found footage of football match; 1955)

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Clyde securing the equaliser.

Status: Partially Found

The 1955 Scottish Cup Final culminated the 1954–55 Scottish Cup. Occurring on 23rd April 1955, it saw Clyde and Celtic draw 1-1 in front of over 106,000 fans at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The subsequent replay on 27th April resulted in Clyde winning 1-0, ending Celtic's five Cup Final winning streak. The first match was broadcast on BBC Television, making history by becoming the first televised Scottish Cup Final.


Clyde and Celtic, as members of the Scottish Division A,[1] were entered into the fifth round of the Cup.[2] Clyde defeated Albion Rovers, Raith Rovers, Falkirk, and Aberdeen to reach the Final.[2] Meanwhile, Celtic's road to the Final saw it overcome Alloa Athletic, Kilmarnock, Hamilton Academical, and Airdrieonians.[2] Heading into the Final, Clyde was looking to add to its 1939 Scottish Cup win.[3] Meanwhile, Celtic had won 17 Cups,[4] having also been victorious in the last five Cup Finals the club appeared in.[5] Celtic also were the defending champions, having beaten Aberdeen 2-1 in the 1954 Final.[5]

Meanwhile, the BBC continued its expansion into broadcasting television in Scotland. Having opened its Television Service to the country on 14th March 1952,[6] it had broadcast a match between Falkirk and Newcastle United on 20th October 1953, which was the first televised professional football match from Scotland.[7] With the 1955 FA Cup Final another two weeks away, the BBC had the opportunity to televise the Scottish Cup Final live for the first time.[8] As part of BBC Scotland's deal with the Scottish Football Association (SFA), transmission of the match would only be made possible if at least 80% of the tickets for the game were sold two weeks before it commenced.[9] While the final attendance of 106,234 was deemed "disappointing",[10][11] especially when considering the 1954 Final saw 129,926 attend,[12] the figure met the 80% threshold needed for the BBC to televise the game.[13][14] Commentary was provided by Kenneth Wolstenholme and Rex Kingsley.[15][16]

The Match

The first 30 minutes of the match saw Celtic dominate, with some reporters believing the club could have sealed the win early on.[17][18] Several attempts were made on-goal because of the passing between John McPhail and Charlie Tully, but ultimately most were unconverted, with only Walsh seemingly likely to break the deadlock.[17][18] Suddenly, it appeared Clyde had taken the lead on the 30th minute, when Davie Laing broke through the centre of the field and landed a shot in the back of the Celtic net.[17][18] However, the goal was disallowed because a linesman had determined the ball went out of play before a cross into the centre was made.[17][18] Celtic capitalised on Clyde's disappointment just five minutes later, when Willie Fernie managed to a secure a pass through to centre into the feet of James Walsh, who was able to beat Clyde goalkeeper Ken Hewkins to give his side the lead.[17][18] Celtic could have been 2-0 up, with Tully managing to kick the ball towards McPhail and Walsh, with neither player successfully scoring a goal just three yards from the line.[18]

Prior to the second-half, crowd trouble emerged in the stadium, with 24 policemen having to arrest two Celtic supporters to a chorus of abuse.[17] Despite claims the wind would give Clyde an advantage, Celtic again seemingly were on top, producing many attempts to seal the win.[17] However, in the 87th minute, a corner kick from the Clyde side saw Celtic goalkeeper John Bonnar mistime his leap to clear the ball, which instead punted the ball just under the bar and enabling Clyde's Archie Robertson to score the equaliser.[17][18] Celtic were unable to respond, thus forcing a replay on 27th April, which Clyde won 1-0 in front of 68,735 fans following a Tommy Ring goal,[11] earning the club its second Cup and stopping Celtic from winning its sixth consecutive Final.[3][5] The replay was not televised by the BBC.


Unlike many other BBC sports television firsts, full coverage of the 1955 Scottish Cup was converted into a telerecording, which the BBC broadcast on 25th April 1955.[15][16] This was during a period where methods to directly record live television were becoming possible following the Second World War.[19] However, as of the present day, this telerecording has never seemingly re-aired on BBC television,[20] possibly therefore becoming a victim of wiping, a common practice by the BBC back then so that it could re-use its tapes.[21] The televised footage is therefore presumed to be lost or is at the very least publicly inaccessible. Nevertheless, British Pathé newsreels of the match and the replay remain publicly accessible.



British Pathé newsreel providing footage of the match.

British Pathé newsreel providing footage of the replay.


See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media


  1. SPFL providing the 1954/55 Scottish Division A table. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 RSSSF detailing the road both teams took towards reaching the Cup Final. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 Clyde FC providing a list of its honours. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  4. Celtic FC providing a list of its honours. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 RSSSF providing the results of every Scottish Cup Final. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  6. Herald Scotland detailing the launch of BBC Television Service in Scotland. Retrieved 12th Feb '22
  7. Domaining Guide detailing the Falkirk-Newcastle United broadcast. Retrieved 12th Feb '22
  8. The Sevenpenny Gate: A Lifelong Love Affair with Celtic FC detailing the BBC televising the Scottish Cup Final for the first time. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  9. The New Business of Football detailing BBC's transmission being dependent on attendance. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  10. The Glasgow Story noting how the attendance was deemed "disappointing" and providing a photo of the match. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 Daily Record providing attendance figures for both matches. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  12. Celtic Programmes detailing attendance for the 1954 Final. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  13. BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the live broadcast of the match. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  14. Issue 1640 of Radio Times listing the live broadcast of the match. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  15. 15.0 15.1 BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the telerecording broadcast two days following the match. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  16. 16.0 16.1 Issue 1641 of Radio Times listing the telerecording broadcast of the match. Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 23rd April 1955 edition of Evening Times reviewing the match (report found on The Celtic Wiki). Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 25th April 1955 edition of The Glasgow Herald reviewing the match (report found on The Celtic Wiki). Retrieved 12 Feb '22
  19. Web Archive article discussing how telerecording became possible following the Second World War. Retrieved 12th Feb '22
  20. BBC Genome search of Radio Times issues, which seemingly confirms the telerecording was never reaired beyond 25th April 1955. Retrieved 12th Feb '22
  21. Mental Floss detailing the extent of wiping, which likely affected any recorded BBC coverage of the 1955 Scottish Cup Final. Retrieved 12 Feb '22