It’s rare that we focus on the visuals of shirt numbers, in the way that the excellent book Football Type did. For what it’s worth, the style used by adidas in World Cups from 1978-90 (similar to our logo in the banner image) is probably our favourite.
This post deviates from the norm in that it centres around a notable numbers development in the aesthetic sense, but there’s enough going on in terms of what we usually cover too.
Until 1964, Celtic didn’t wear numbers anywhere on their kit and when they finally did, chairman Bob Kelly decided that they should be on the shorts rather than sullying the famous hoops. While Celtic had to wear numbers on their shirts in European games from 1975 on, it’s perhaps surprising that it took the SFA until 1994 to insist that they also did so in domestic matches.
For the opening two games of 1994-95, Celtic followed the instruction – but by having the numbers on the sleeves of their shirts rather than the backs. Unfortunately for them, the governing body clarified their stance, meaning that the trip to Ibrox on August 27 would be the first league game where numbers were worn on the back.
Again, Celtic displayed a bit of bloody-mindedness, as the digits were green:
This was acceptable, however, and green numbers also appeared when Celtic premiered a new kit in the 1-0 win over Airdrieonians in the 1995 Scottish Cup final. However, for the 95-96 season, there was a white solid background on which the number sat.
Now that the boring visual stuff is out of the way, on to the super-exciting stuff. In the game – a 2-0 win for Celtic, though Rangers would ultimately win a seventh title in a row – both number 2s – Stuart McCall and Peter Grant – were in midfield. Dave McPherson wore 6 at right-back for Rangers, while Celtic’s Mike Galloway had 7.