Saturday’s Pro14 final between Glasgow Warriors and Leinster may be the first ever rugby union match staged at Celtic Park, but it will by no means the first time since a star of the 15-a-side football code has competed at the venue with close to a century having elapsed since it was graced by a visit from one of the Chariots of Fire.

Eric Liddell had a short, but spectacular career as an international rugby player, representing Scotland seven times in the Five Nations Championships of 1922 and ’23, scoring four tries and finishing on the losing side just once. He now, of course, owes his place in sporting legend to his feats at the 1924 Olympic Games, as immortalised on the silver screen and, as sports historian Hugh Barrow pointed out this week when digging into our archives, it was as an athlete that he made his mark in Parkhead in 1922.

“The result of the first race, a victory for EH Liddell, pleased the crowd and the proceedings were greatly enjoyed throughout,” read The Herald’s report.

“The opening event was the 120 yards scratch race that was substituted for the handicap originally contemplated. Liddell was to have received a yard from HFV Edward, but as it turned out he did not need it, winning by rather more than that margin. It was a well-run race, Edward and Liddell being level until this last quarter of the distance when the Edinburgh man drew steadily away. Again in the 220 yards handicap, Liddell gave a fine display. He had two yards on Edward who showed some improvement on his previous running, but not enough to catch Liddell who won comfortably.”

Hugh notes that Liddell raced at football grounds all over the country in his heyday, his last appearance ahead of his Olympic triumph taking place at Tynecastle and the first after his return in the even more unlikely setting of Morton’s Cappielo, while Celtic and Rangers, under the charge of Willie Maley and Bill Struth who were, respectively, high class amateur and professional runners, staged annual athletics meetings for many years.

As Lisbon Lion Jim Craig, another enthusiastic sports historian, was keen to point out earlier this week, while this weekend’s match is a first for rugby union, the rival code, rugby league, was played at Celtic Park when 110 years ago when the touring Australians visited and it has hosted a vast array of sports including baseball, shinty/hurling and speedway.

In its way, then, there is some irony in it having featured as it did in the staging of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, the source of much self-congratulation since in Scottish sporting circles, but which, according to those involved in important community projects in Easterhouse and Springburn, had little or no benefit for local youngsters, many of whom were barely aware of it having taken place.

In the spirit of its founder Brother Walfrid, who set the club up to raise funds for the poor, there could be significant mutual benefit to the organisation whose home shines like a giant emerald in an area where so many are struggling, in finding ways of supporting those whose talents lie elsewhere by encourage broader sporting activity, not least since the erection of the Emirates Arena and velodrome on their front doorstep.

Its involvement could transform the image and appeal of other sports, but a Celtic director once made the understandable, if rather disappointing point that informal discussions with Barcelona officials, who have run other sports teams, advised of the complications for a football club of doing so, given the pressure the management and board can come under when seen to be spending money on anything other than the core business of winning football trophies.

That it was not always seen in that way by directors and supporters, consequently invites obvious questions about the correlation between the vibrant nature of Scottish sport and Scottish football in the late 19th and early 20th century, as compared with the struggles of the national team and leading clubs in the modern day.

In more recent times we have developed a society in which, rather than be respected and admired as they might once have been, many Scottish youngsters with sporting talent must battle against peer pressure which seeks to draw them into lifestyles that will damage rather than support their prospects.

That applies to promising footballers as much as to any others, perhaps more so, given that so many other sports are disproportionately reliant upon talent drawn from those with more advantaged backgrounds.

Changing that culture for the better as a whole, by identifying and encouraging the development of a much wider array of youngsters consequently has the clear potential to improve the environment in which footballers are developed, as much as it would provide opportunities for those whose talents lie elsewhere.

In many quarters, not least the rather conservative world of Scottish football, that will be derided as some form of blue sky thinking.

The reality, however, is that in the days when ‘Chariots of Fire’ were lighting up the sporting world, men like Willie Maley and Bill Struth understood those benefits in a way that those born a century and more later are still failing to grasp.