It started without any fanfare – a no-score draw at home to Motherwell. The next two games – a 6-0 victory over Ayr United and four past Rangers without reply on New Year’s Day – suggested that something special might be about to happen. It wasn’t until the 28th February 1914 – after 23 goals scored in Celtic’s favour – with a single goal defeat at Brockville that Charlie Shaw conceded a goal having achieved ten clean sheets in succession.
One hundred years on and – at last – Charlie Shaw’s record has been equalled. With the 4-0 defeat over Kilmarnock on 29th January 2014 Fraser Forster matched Charlie Shaw’s achievement. The Englishman’s sequence started with the 5-0 thrashing of Motherwell at Fir Park on 6th December and has seen Celtic score 26 goals along the way.
Ten league games without conceding a single goal is a phenomenal achievement and the English International keeper deserves all the plaudits that have come his way in recent days. He has the chance today to beat Charlie’s record. The only Celtic goalie to have come close to doing so was . . . Charlie himself!
It was January 1922 when Charlie Shaw went on his second great run of clean sheets. Starting with a 2-0 victory over Third Lanark the Bhoys went another ten games without losing a goal – scoring 16 in the process – before falling again at Brockville with 1-1 draw on 18th March 1922. In both seasons Charlie’s efforts between the sticks were rewarded with a league championship medal while Celtic’s English keeper is on track for his third league medal in succession.
Another clean sheet today against St. Mirren and Fraser Forster will have established a new record as Celtic goalkeeper. It is unlikely that he will challenge Charlie Shaw’s overall record as statistically the best Celtic keeper ever in terms of clean sheets, established over a 12 year period: his great displays in the Celtic jersey, especially in Europe, have seen him drafted into the English international side and possibly heading to the World Cup in Brazil with a move south to the border this summer looking on the cards.
Best of luck to the big man today, it would be great to beat a record which has endured for almost an entire century given the great keepers that Celtic have had in that time. But it could have been a much harder target to beat – if it wasn’t for a Raith Rovers player.
Before the ten-game winning sequence started against Motherwell on 20th December 1913, Celtic had won their ten previous encounters in the league. The first nine had been won without a single goal conceded. The tenth game, at Stark’s Park, was won also – but by a score of 2-1. If Scott hadn’t scored against Charlie Shaw on the 24th minute then Charlie’s sequence of clean sheets would have ended up stretching to an incredible 20 in a row.
It’s all in big Lurch’s hands today whether he writes his name into the Celtic history books.