If You Know The History: 12th Feb: John Thomson debut

12th February John Thomson debut

John Thomson was born in Buckhaven, Fife in 1909 and had his first big moment as a goalkeeper in June 1924 when his Auchterderran, Kinglassie and District team beat Cowdenbeath Higher Grade 2-0 in the Times Cup final at Recreation Park, Lochgelly.

When he left school, he apparently played two or three games for Bowhill West End before joining another local side Bowhill Rovers for the remainder of season 1924/25. He must have shown up well, as he was then signed by the well-known Methil side Wellesley Juniors in time for the start of the 1925/26 season. Shortly afterwards, the Fife Free Press reported that Wellesley had found ‘a champion goalkeeper in Thomson from Bowhill. He is a youngster yet but should develop’.

One of the committee men at Wellesley, Pat Duffy, kept an eye on promising boys for Celtic and he would have passed on news of Thomson’s form to chief scout Steve Callaghan. He then attended a cup tie replay between Wellesley and Denbeath Star on 30th October 1926 at the latter’s ground – apparently accompanied by the then inside-forward, Alec Thomson, a former Wellesley player – and the report which went back to Willie Maley was obviously an encouraging one.


Only two days later, John Thomson signed for Celtic – receiving the customary £10 signing-on fee – and only had to wait a few months before making the first team. On this day in 1927, he made his debut against Dundee at Dens Park in a league match, made a blunder to give Dundee their only goal but recovered to give a sound second-half display as Celtic won 2-1.

Jim Craig


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