Watching the Queen at Celtic Park last night made me think of how much things have changed since she ascended the throne in 1953. As a wee lad I’d sit in the corner and watch family parties unfold amid much drink, laughter and singing. The protocol was that a man would sing and then a woman and no one sung a song they knew to be another’s party piece. When my Old man got his turn he would often sing a song from his youth which was written to commemorate the stunning Celtic Victory in the Coronation Cup. Celtic, only really invited into the tournament to boost the crowds, stunned some of the best sides in the UK and saw off Arsenal and Rangers conquerors Manchester United, before beating the hot favourites Hibs in the final before 117,000 fans. My old Da would gesture for silence and then sing the following song….
Said Lizzie To Philip: The Coronation Cup Song
Said Lizzie to Philip as they sat down to dine,
"I've just had a note from an old friend of mine,
"His name is big Geordie, he's loyal and true,
"And his nose is my favourite colour of blue.
"He says that the Rangers are right on their game,
"And asks for a trophy to add to their fame
"I'll send up a trophy the Rangers can win".
Said Philip to Lizzie, "Watch the Celts don't step in."
Said Lizzie to Philip, "They don't stand a chance,
"I'll send up my Gunners to lead them a dance,
"With the Celtic defeated the way will be clear,
"For a cup for the Rangers in my crowning year."
But oh what a blow to the old boys in blue,
The Celts beat the Arsenal and Manchester too,
Beat the Hibs in the final and lo and behold,
All Hampden was covered in green, white and gold.
Said Lizzie to Philip when she heard the news,
"A blow has been struck to my loyal True Blues,
"Oh tell me dear Philip, for I ought to know,
"How to beat Glasgow Celtic and keep them below."
Said Philip to Lizzie, "There's only one way,
"And that's been no secret for many a day,
"To beat Glasgow Celtic you'll have to deport,
"The whole Fenian army that gives them support!"
Watching the fireworks explode over Celtic Park last night got me thinking that Celtic and indeed Scotland has travelled a long way since the Queen took the throne in 1953. Scotland was a fairly dour, Conservative sort of country where everyone was expected to know their place. For many of those who followed Celtic, that place was in the lower echelons of society. Sectarianism, obvious and subtle, was commonplace and those who went to the wrong school were often at a disadvantage. This was the era when St Ambrose (Coatbridge) Head Teacher, James Breen, marched into local Banks and demanded to know why they didn’t recruit youngsters from RC High Schools. His action embarrassed them into ending their petty embargo. He also recalled leading a group of pupils on a trip around an engineering works and seeing his boys return covered in spit. I’m sure most of you reading this could tell family anecdotes of a similar nature from those days. We have, however moved on greatly in the past 60 years. Petty prejudice which was once barely noticed is now anathema to the vast majority of Scots. The selection of Celtic Park for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games would not have occurred 60 years ago but as Bob Dylan sang, the times they are-a-changing.
I for one though Celtic Park looked majestic as the fireworks boomed out above it. Never forget that the foundations of that stadium were laid by impoverished Irish immigrants in 1892. How they would marvel at the success their club has gone on to have. It is no longer the ‘outsider’, no longer do press reports speak of finding a good ‘Scotch’ team to defeat the ‘Irishmen.’ Celtic is the predominant Scottish Club and it looks likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
In honour then, of last night’s events, I shall endeavour to write an updated version of the ‘Coronation Cup Song.’ A lot has changed since 1953…
Said Lizzy to Phil in the Kerrydale Suite
So many nice folk here for we two to meet
I shook hand with Strachan and wee Ronny too
And big Dermot Desmond has a Guinness for you
Said Philip to Lizzy the Celts are in bloom
Come have a look at this great trophy room
Seems that the Celtic have lots to chalk up
Like 45 titles and of course that Big Cup
Said Lizzy to Phil I heard tell down the Pub
We made a mistake with our favourite club!
Remember big Geordie back in 53?
He’s up in Barlinie and with no EBT
Said Philip to Lizzy, a grin on his face
This new Celtic Park is a fantastic place
I’m really quite stunned by the trophies displayed
And I think that I might join the bold Green Brigade
Said Lizzy to Phil, now you're going too far!
I just can’t see you at the Brazen Head Bar
Just stick on some Hoops and we’ll party instead
You might get a Huddle when we’re back home in bed
Said Philip to Lizzy, Let’s open these games
Then get back to London and tell all the weans
A special announcement straight from you and me
We’re founding the Windsor district CSC
Said Lizzy to Phil, you’d look good in the Hoops
We could go teach the Huddle to all of our troops
And tell Charles that if he is fit for the throne
He must learn to sing ‘You’ll never walk alone! ‘