Come On The Hoops Competition Winners

Last updated : 28 July 2005 By Kevin Smith

Many thanks to all who sent in entries for the Come On The Hoops Competition. As usual, we had many fantastic entries, but the winners were Ian Gilmartin from Kearny and Neil Cannon from South Yorkshire.

Congratulations to The Bhoys, who win themselves a copy of 'The Hoops Quiz Book' by John White. For information and to buy the book, click

Here are Ian's and Neil's accounts of their greatest ever games as Celtic supporters.

Ian Gilmartin, Kearny

I have been to many games which I am sure you are going to hear about. I've seen great Old Firm games and I've attended a UEFA Cup final. My greatest game though is I'm sure, one which I know nobody will talk about.

I was born and raised in Glasgow and moved to America when I was fourteen. For many years the only way I could follow Celtic was if the local Sunday newspaper bothered to print results from various European leagues. If my grandfather or any uncles phoned to check up on the family I was always in the background bothering my parents to make sure they asked what the Celtic result was. One year my parents managed to buy me a shortwave radio for my birthday. This was heaven. Every now and then I'd be rooted to the spot when I'd hear, "there has been some action at Celtic Park, lets now go live to Glasgow". I'd scream for the family to shut up as I'd hear that Celtic had scored. With the birth of the N.A.F.C.S.C. I then had the luxury of watching every Celtic game live. Now it was my turn to call Scotland and let the family know how we had played.

After dating many girls over the years I finally met "the one". She was a beautiful, intelligent attorney from Pennsylvania. She was practicing law in New Jersey and after a few months we moved in together. Her father became very ill and she decided she needed to move closer to her family in Philadelphia. We had many ups and downs after that including the death of her father. However, we stuck it out. Being a true American she had never truly understood the rest of the world's passion for 'soccer'. She did know that every Saturday morning I was up at the crack of dawn to watch the Hoops whether it was a 10:00am or 6:00am kickoff. She was amazed that my friends and I could talk about Celtic for hours on end.

Last July, six months before we were due to get married she finally found out what it was all about. Celtic were coming to Philadelphia to play against Manchester United. She was very curious as to what it was about Celtic that had captured the hearts of me, my family and friends. I arranged to meet her in Philadelphia. Three buses were leaving my town to go to the game. The rumour was that there was to be a get together at a pub which was literally five hundred yards from her apartment in the centre of Philadelphia. Being true to her word she and a fellow female lawyer met us in Finnegan's Wake. She laughing when she met me at the bar. Her friend and her were wearing hoops that I had given them and they had been picked up in a taxi by a bunch of Canadian bhoys who actually knew me from Las Vegas conventions. She attended a pre-match gig performed by Charlie & The Bhoys and danced the whole afternoon away. There were people from Scotland, Texas, Chicago, California, Alabama, Florida, Canada, New York, Ireland, you name it they were there.

We entered the stadium and she just couldn't believe the atmosphere. For a solid thirty minutes before the game she took pictures and watched in bewilderment at the sight of her fiancee singing songs she had never heard at the top of his lungs. When the bhoys scored it was even more amusing as two thirds of a packed stadium hugged, kissed and celebrated wildly. From that moment on she understood. Now she is my wife and understands that although I love her immensely there is also a part of my heart which will always be with Celtic. Before that hot summer day in July 2004 it was 'only a soccer game' to her. Its not anymore. We plan to visit Glasgow this September and one of the first things we will do is visit Celtic Park. Although the ManU game was just a pre-season friendly to most it was very different for me. It was all about being able to share a part of my life that I never could have before. It brought football and family together. God Bless you Glasgow Celtic for coming over to America. It just made my life a whole lot easier.

Neil Cannon, South Yorkshire

I am 73 years young and now live in South Yorkshire but I have supported the Bhoys since my childhood days. I know the greatest victory will be recorded as winning the European Cup in 67 and beating Leeds at Hampden but in my case I will never forget the sunny afternoon at Hampden in 1957 when we stuffed the Rangers 7-1.

I went to the game with my father and stood on the famous slopes at the Celtic end of course. Paradise moved to Hampden that day when Billy Mc Phail scored 3, Neilly Mochan scored 2, Wilson got one then Willie Fernie put us all in 7th Heaven when he put No7 in the net from the penalty spot....I remember my father saying to me as we were leaving " well Neil I can die happy now".

To make the day complete when we got on the train at the Central to go home to Greenock a man jumped into our carriage just as we were leaving and lo and behold he was a poor Rangers supporter with his scarf in his pocket. We asked him if he enjoyed the game but he just grunted " not much" and sat very quietly in the corner all the way to Greenock.

Happy days..............

Hail Hail