CELTIC were hailed far and wide earlier this month when they broke the post-war record for an unbeaten start to the domestic season set by Jock Stein’s legendary team way back in the 1966/67 campaign.

The 4-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead at the end of last month stretched their hot streak of form to an extraordinary 27 games – one better than their revered predecessors achieved some 50 years earlier.

But if, as the Celtic Song goes, you know your history you may beg to differ.

Pat Woods, a lifelong supporter, historian and author, maintains the record mark was only beaten when they thrashed Inverness Caledonian Thistle 6-0 in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the weekend and made it 30 matches without suffering a loss.

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Meanwhile, Ian McCallum, another passionate fan who has written three books about the exploits of his heroes during the Great War, points out that Brendan Rodgers's boys still have a bit to go before they can challenge the all-time Scottish record, which stands at 36 games.

Not only that, they are some way off matching the British record 66 match undefeated run which Willie Maley’s charges went on between 1915 and 1917 and which both McCallum and Woods are convinced is a European and possibly a world best.

Woods believes the three Glasgow Cup games which Celtic played against Rangers, Queen’s Park and Partick Thistle in the 1966/67 campaign should be included in their run due to the massive importance of the tournament to the club and the supporters at the time.

The fact that no fewer than 76,456 supporters watched Stein’s side win 4-0 over their Old Firm rivals Rangers at Ibrox in the opening cup fixture on August 22 courtesy of a Bobby Lennox hat-trick and a Billy McNeill goal backs up his argument.

“It was a massively significant competition to the Glasgow clubs,” said Woods. “They took it very seriously indeed, particularly where Rangers were involved. I can remember Celtic winning the Glasgow Cup in 1964. It was greeted like a great breakthrough. People were getting very excited.

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“That game against Rangers in the 1966/67 season was particularly important. Celtic had won the league for the first time in 12 years the season before, but Rangers had pipped them in the Scottish Cup. Kai Johansen had scored a late goal in the replay

“That was a defining game, but Celtic won it comfortably by 4-0. Bobby Lennox scored a hat-trick that night. Rangers couldn’t cope with his speed. (John) Greig and (Ronnie) McKinnon couldn’t cope with his pace. Celtic outclassed them.”

The benefits of the summer tour of the United States which Celtic had embarked on that year were immediately obvious. “It was a real bonding tour,” said Woods. “They went undefeated. I can remember their first game after they came back. They beat a Manchester United team that contained Law, Charlton and Best 4-1 in a friendly.

“Okay, it was just a friendly, but it was a great display. Jimmy Johnstone outshone Best. I can remember a guy standing next to me at the Celtic End. He said: ‘We’ll win the European Cup.' I thought he was talking nonsense. But when the season itself started they played with a brio that was entrancing to watch.

"Celtic were always known as a footballing side, but Stein injected professionalism and a winning mentality which hadn’t been there before. No previous manager had the drive or outlook that he had. He reshaped the club altogether. He was an actual manager.

“There was a joke in Glasgow that was doling the rounds at the time that was recounted by Hugh Taylor in the Scottish Football Book the following year. People said: ‘Who’ll lose first? Celtic or Perry Mason?’ Mason was a television lawyer who famously never lost a case.”

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McCallum admits he gets annoyed when the 36 game unbeaten start which Celtic recorded in the 1916/17 season and the 66 match undefeated run that was a part of are dismissed because people mistakenly believe that no competitive football was played during the First World War.

“Football in the Second World War was unofficial, but in the First World War football was official,” he said. “The titles Celtic won – and they won four in a row during the war – count towards the 47 titles they have won overall.

“The football that was played in the First World War was absolutely tremendous. In fact, Scottish football went up a level. Because the game finished in England all the professional Anglo-Scots came back and played.

“The 66 game run began with a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at Parkhead on November 20, 1915. They remained unbeaten for the remaining 26 games of the 1915/16 season and won the league. They also won two Charity Cup games so that was 28 games.

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“In the 1916/17 season they went unbeaten for 36 league games. Believe it or not, it was Kilmarnock at Parkhead who put a stop to it on April 21, 1917. They went a total of 62 league games unbeaten. In the middle of that run they won the Glasgow FA Cup and won another two games. So that is 62 league games and four cup games in total.

"That is a British record and it may be a European and maybe even a world record. Pat and I have done research and I can’t find any team that beats. Maybe some club in Kazakhstan has, but there is certainly no club in a major footballing nation."

McCallum continued: “What won Celtic the league that year was their consistency. They were just a machine. They weren’t as flamboyant and dominating as Jock Stein’s side or Brendan Rodgers’s team, but they were relentless, they won game after game after game.

“That war-time team was one of the greatest teams ever and they don’t get any recognition because people think the football was unofficial. They are arguably Celtic’s greatest ever team."