It is Christmas Day and here is a picture of Hibernian playing Rangers. Why have a picture like this? What makes this festive in any way? Well this isn’t just a picture from any old match but a match that took place on Christmas Day in 1971.
Unbelievably there was a time when football was regularly played on Christmas Day. It doesn’t seem possible now but up until the mid 1970s there were full fixture cards at Christmas in both Scotland and England (English football did stop the tradition in the late 1950s). In Scotland it was just if Christmas happened to fall on a Saturday but down in England it was every Christmas Day regardless of what day of the week it fell upon.
Footballers actually didn’t mind playing on such an important day (it never was a public holiday for many years). Former Partick player Jimmy Bone told the Scotsman recently, “I didn’t mind playing on Christmas Day. Maybe it would have been different if I had family but at that point I was young and just so thrilled to have a career in football. Football to me was business, it was work,” he says. “I didn’t regard playing on Christmas Day as punishment. If I’d had to play Christmas, birthday, Monday through to Thursday, so be it.”
Merry Christmas to everybody, sorry there is not football to enjoy on this special day!