The last full programme of Christmas Day fixtures was back in season 1971/72 when the Glasgow Big two got the better of their Edinburgh rivals.
A crowd of 25,145 fans delayed their Christmas dinner to flock to Easter Road where they witnessed a ‘cracker’
Hibs under the leadership of the great Eddie Turnbull were outstanding creating attack after attack but the Rangers defence held firm with Peter’ The Girvin Lighthouse’ McCloy making save after save.
Turnbull had taken over from Dave Ewing in the summer and was building arguably the most attractive team in the club’s history which would forever be known as the ‘ Turnbull’s Tornadoes’
Of the 11 ‘Tornadoes’ who are still revered at Easter Road, nine played that day with only Jim ‘Cilla’ Black and Alan Gordon missing. Their replacements that day were Willie McEwan and Johnny Hamilton.
It looked as though neither side was going to score then in the last minute Rangers got a corner. Tommy McLean took it and former Hibs’ centre forward Colin Stein headed the winner sparking mayhem inside the stadium.
The Hibs team that day were: Heriott, Brownlie, Schaedler, McEwan, Stanton, Blackley, Edwards, Hamilton, O’Rourke, Cropley, Duncan.
The result saw Hibs drop from third to fourth with Rangers going in the opposite direction.
Hibs would gain their revenge at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final, emerging as comfortable 2-0 victory in a game many fans believe was Hibs’ finest performance at the national stadium.
They eventually finished the season in third place and qualified for the European Cup Winner’s Cup after losing to Celtic in the final.
Rangers however enjoyed European success beating Moscow Dynamo 3-2 in the final of the Cup Winners Cup in Barcelona.
Through in Glasgow 34,000 watched the Parkhead encounter between Celtic and Hearts and Jock Stein’s men got off to a flier with Harry Hood scoring in the opening minute.
Celtic piled on the pressure and pinned Hearts back into their own half and playing on the break, but Hearts fought back and Derek Renton equalised on the half hour.
Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone had an outstanding game and got the second in the 36th minute.
With 20-minutes remaining Harry Hood provided the cross to Dixie Deans for him to keep up his goal-a-game record.
Jim Brown pulled one back for Hearts seven minutes later but the Hoops held on to secure the victory which saw them consolidate their lead whilst Hearts dropped to sixth.
The Hearts team that day was: Cruickshank, Sneddon, Oliver, Brown, Veitch, Thomson, Fleming, Renton, Ford, Winchester, T Murray. Substitute: Wood Scorers: Renton (31), Brown (77)
Celtic would go on to win the title and the Scottish Cup, beating Hibs in the final. Hearts finished in sixth place.
The full set of results were as follows:
Division 1 – December 25, 1971
Airdrieonians 1-1 Clyde
Celtic 3-2 Hearts
Dundee United 3-2 Dunfermline Athletic
East Fife 1-1 Motherwell
Falkirk 0-3 Aberdeen
Hibernian 0-1 Rangers
Kilmarnock 4-2 Morton
Partick Thistle 0-1 Ayr United
St Johnstone 0-0 Dundee
Division 2 – December 25, 1971
Alloa Athletic 0-3 Montrose
Arbroath 2-2 Queen of the South
Brechin City 2-1 Stirling Albion
Clydebank 2-1 Stenhousemuir
Cowdenbeath 1-0 Albion Rovers
Hamilton Accies 2-1 Forfar Athletic
Queen’s Park 2-0 Berwick Rangers
St Mirren 2-2 Dumbarton
Stranraer 0-3 East Stirlingshire