September 4, 1894
The usual adverse luck which has up to the present followed the footsteps of the Liverpool club was in no way varied last evening, when the climatic condition at the opening of the ground was of the worst possible nature. Naturally the audience was not of the greatest dimensions, but those who had the temerity to attend were well repaid by the excellent game which ensued. The teams were promptly on the field and faced each other as follows: –
Liverpool: Matt McQueen, Tom Wilkie, Billy Dunlop, John Curran, Joe McQue, John McLean, Malcolm McVean, Jimmy Ross, George Allan, Frank Becton, Fred Geary.
Celtic: Dan McArthur, Peter Meehan, Thomas Dunbar, Peter O’Rourke, Willie Maley, James Orr, Thomas Morrison, Michael McFarlane, Alex “Sandy” McMahon, Bernard Crossan, James Blessington.
Referee: Mr. Lewis.
Allan opened the play for Liverpool, whose forwards got off in pretty combination. There appeared to be a distinct understanding between every man in the front line, and the way the centre kept his confreres going was quite a treat to witness. Geary came in for special approbation, and in conjunction with Becton gave O’Rourke and Dunbar plenty of work. At length Ross worked the ball down in his own inimitable style, and threading his way among the halves levelled a strong shot, which McArthur was lucky in getting rid of.
The Celtic van now gave a sample of their ability, McMahon, McFarlane and Morrison taking the ball down splendidly; but the final attempt was weak, and McQueen had no difficulty in clearing. On the Celtic again attacking, McQueen was the victim of rough charging after he had got the ball away, and this brought about his retirement, McVean taking up his position between the sticks. During the next few minutes the Liverpudlians were somewhat pressed, but the work of the half-backs, that of McQue in particular, was all that could be wished for. McQueen now returned, and a change quickly came over the play. Becton got nicely down, and after Allan had sent in a beauty, which rebounded from the cross bar, the same players shouldered the ball through from a foul in goal.
The game continued to be of an even nature, both sets of forwards having a look in, but if anything, the speed of the home forwards generally gave them the command of the play. Once or twice wen McFarlane and Morrison were fairly on the warpath Dunlop interposed with magnificent effect; and so pleased were the crowd with his gigantic kicks that he was repeatedly cheered.
Following some little pressure on the home goal, in which Maley at centre half was ever prominent, Allan, Ross, and Becton tested McArthur to a great extent, the former at length being penalised for pushing Meehan. McQueen was then called upon to deal with a hot shot from McMahon, and the assault being repulsed Allan and Ross each in turn had magnificent shies, which were successfully negotiated. Half-time arrived with Liverpool leading by 1 goal to nil.
Upon recommencing the Scots’ goal was subjected to a severe bombardment, Allan, Becton, Ross and McVean in succession making praiseworthy attempts to lower their opponents’ goal. The Celts replied with a grand combined assault, the ball passing from one to another with exact precision, but the inside left (Crossan) wound up with a rather poor attempt. The next item was a pretty bit of wing-play by Ross and McVean, who, well backed up by Curran, were a constant thorn to the Celtic defence.
McArthur had several teasers to stop, one specially from Allan which brought him to his knees. From a throw in by O’Rourke the visitors’ right came away beautifully, but Morrison completely spoilt the previous good work by offside at the finish. From a long punt forward by McLean, in which Dunbar missed his kick, Ross obtained a clear field, but shot wide at the close. This seemed to rouse the “green and whites,” and Maley struck the crossbar with a thundering shot, while O’Rourke called for the best efforts on the part of McQueen a moment later.
Hardly had the applause ceased when the same versatile artist was to the fore with another brilliant save and kick-out, which Geary meritoriously followed up with a fast sprint on the wing, but his centre was well met by Meehan, and the immediate danger removed. Frequent fouls by the visitors brought forth strong execrations from the spectators, and a less determined referee than Mr. Lewis would have been far from a success. McMahon next nipped in and opened the game for his side, but McQueen was every ready, and effected a good clearance. Well fed by Becton, Geary again outpaced his men and centred well across the goal, where McVean was fouled, and from the resulting free kick Curran lifted across to Geary, who headed to Becton, and the Liverpool player promptly scored a second point with a low fast shot.
A little later on, when the visitors’ outside right was getting the worst of an argument with McLean, the former player infringed beyond bounds, and having been already cautioned by the referee was on this occasion ordered off the field, a punishment he richly deserved, but which he and his confreres at first strongly demurred to. A foul was then awarded to the Celts close in to the Liverpool goal-mouth, and upon its repulsion the whistle blew, leaving Liverpool winners by 2 goals to nil.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 4, 1895)