If You Know The History: 5th June 1965 Joe McBride signed for Celtic

5th June 1965,  Joe McBride signed for Celtic

Jock Stein took over as manager of Celtic on 9th March 1965 and very quickly entered the transfer market, as a buyer. His first purchase came on the following day, 10th March 1965, when goalkeeper John Kennedy, who had been the custodian in the British Olympic XI at the Tokyo Games in 1964, was signed from Distillery for a reputed fee of around £5,000.

Just under three months later, on this day in 1965, a larger fee, around £22,000 in fact, was required to bring in striker Joe McBride from Motherwell. Never did such a modest fee bring in such an outstanding return.

During the following three years, over six months of which were lost to injury, Joe scored 86 goals in 94 appearances, the best goals per game ratio behind the great Jimmy McGrory. In the very successful season of 1966/67, Joe played his final match for the club against Aberdeen on 24th December 1966 before a serious knee injury put him out for the remainder of the season. At that point, he had scored 37 goals in the League, League Cup, European Cup and Glasgow Cup.

Joe McBride

It is often assumed that Willie Wallace was brought in to replace Joe but in fact, Wispy had come to Parkhead from Hearts on 6th December and indeed had played a couple of matches alongside Joe McBride. Which begs a very interesting question.

Assuming that Joe McBride had kept injury-free and continued his goal-scoring form, he would certainly have nailed his place as one the strikers in Lisbon. Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Lennox would have been the wide players, so who would have taken the other striker role, Willie Wallace or Stevie Chalmers?

Jim Craig

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