After the end of the 1948-49 Irish Football League season Belfast Celtic went on a ten-game tour of North America. As well as playing eight games in the United States, they played one game in Toronto and one in Montreal. The team arrived in New York on May 3, 1949. The first game they played in Canada was against Ulster United on May 14. The Belfast Celtic team flew by plane from New York to Toronto on May 11. As this was only a week after the Superga plane crash that killed nearly all of the members of the famous “Grande” Torino side of Italy, the event caused considerable interest.

A crowd of 10,000 fans turned up at Maple Leafs Stadium in Toronto on Saturday night May 14 to watch the exhibition match. It was the first time that Belfast Celtic played under lights.

The outstanding player of the night was outside right George Hazlett. He dazzled the crowd with his quick footwork and scored two goals for Celtic. Currie, Campbell and Gorman added one each to give Belfast Celtic a 5-0 victory over the Redhanders.

As the first touring club to visit Canada Belfast Celtic waived the no-substitute rule and used one substitute during the game.

The referee was Ray Morgan of Toronto. The linesmen were F. King and H. Bloomer.


Ulster United: Dick Arends; Jack Perrett, Fred Munday; Sam Davidson, Phil McKay, Archie McDowell; Art Varley, Tommy Smith, Jimmy Carnegie, Fred Fletcher, Bill Stewart. Subs: Bill Davidson, Paul Hric, Frank Miller

Belfast Celtic: Kevin McAlinden; William McMillen, Tom Aherne; William Walker, C. Currie, R. Lawler; George Hazlett, J. Denver, J. Campbell, M. O’Flannigan, P. Bonner. Subs: R. Simpson, J. Murdock, J. Douglas, A. Moore, T. Gorman