If You Know The History – 28th July Andy Thom

On this day in 1995, Andreas Thom was transferred to Celtic from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of around £2.2 million

Andy had started his career with Dynamo Berlin and became a regular in the East German national side. After re-unification, he also played for Germany.

Andy was brought in to Celtic by Tommy Burns and initially partnered Pierre van Hooijdonk up front. Later that season, he had a more withdrawn role, playing just behind a striking duo of Pierre and Jorge Cadete. He ended that first campaign as Celtic’s Player of the Season.

In 1996/97, he had more of a midfield role, in tandem with Paul McStay but was not a regular as the season progressed and there were stories of a move back to Germany.

When Wim Jansen arrived as manager in the summer of 1997, Andy was hoping for a fresh start but by the end of the year, he was still out of favour

In  January 1998, Andreas Thom returned to his native Germany – at Hertha Berlin – Celtic receiving a fee in the region of £275,000

If You Know The History – 23rd July 1995 The First Huddle

On this day in 1995, in a little known town in northern Germany called Jheringsfehn, Celtic went down 0-2 to a side called Kickers Emden. It was just one of a number of matches played on a pre-season tour yet it has gone down as a very important moment in Celtic history because a ‘first’ occurred that day. Before the match, the first Celtic ‘Huddle’ was performed.

Centre-half Tony Mowbray is credited as the man who came up with the idea, hoping that it would bring a sense of togetherness and bonding among the players. Some of them apparently were a little shy beforehand about performing the Huddle but they were also quick to see that it had a very positive effect, not only for the players but for the fans as well.

The players who took part in that first Huddle were Pat Bonner, Lee Martin, Malky Mackay, Tony Mowbray, Tosh McKinlay, Rudi Vata, Peter Grant, John Collins, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Andy Walker and Brian Mclaughlin.

A Tribute to Celtic Legend Joe McBride – By Former Teammate Jim Craig

The passing of Joe McBride has been a very sad occassion, not only to his family and friends but also to the word-wide Celtic support, whose complimentary comments on the various blogs have been a tribute to Joe’s ability, affability and humility.

When I heard that he had suffered a stroke last week, I travelled up to Glasgow to visit him in the Royal Infirmary. By that time, he was in a coma but I got the opportunity to sit alongside his bed, hold his hand and reminisce about old times, the occasional squeeze suggesting that he might have been taking my comments on board.

Joe had left St Gerard’s Senior Secondary School in Govan just before I arrived there in the summer of 1955. Frankly, I soon got to the stage when I was sick of the sound of his name. Every time I thought I was doing well for the various school teams, one of the teachers would say “oh, you’ll need to do well to be as good as that boy Joe McBride”. So, it came as a real surprise, then, when in the summer of 1965, five months after I had joined Celtic, I met him when he came in from Motherwell and was immediately taken by his charm and friendliness.

After leaving school, Joe had gone through the youth and junior ranks (Kilmarnock Amateurs, Shettleston Town, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy) before signing for Kilmarnock in time for the 1956/57 season. Over the following nine seasons, he was fairly peripatetic, being with five different clubs but showing his goal-scoring ability in each of them;-

Kilmarnock         1956-59              57 games    24 goals

Wolves (Res)     1959-60              12 games    12 goals

Luton Town       Feb-Nov   1960  25 games      9  goals

Partick Thistle   1960-62              71 games     40 goals

Motherwell       1962 65               88 games     51 goals

That is a very impressive tally by any standard but with all due respect to those clubs, they did not have the quality of the ‘support’ player that Celtic had at that time, colleagues all over the pitch who could supply the suitable passes for a striker to do his work. It should have come as no surprise, therefore, that as soon as Joe ran out with the Celtic strip on his shoulders, the goals started to rain in, 86 in total in 94 matches over the following  years. That gave Joe an average of a goal every 1.09 matches, certainly behind Jimmy McGrory’s phenomenal record of a goal every 0.9 matches but ahead of striking luminaries like Steve Chalmers ( 1.7), Bobby Lennox (1.8) or Henrik Larsson (1.3).

Joe’s fabulous run at Celtic Park came to an end with a serious knee injury. He played his final match of the 1966/67 season on Christmas Eve, yet still finished top scorer in Division One with 33 goals. His injury was a serious one and a proper diagnosis of its extent was difficult. In fact, his operation did not go ahead until 10th March 1967, so you can just imagine Joe’s frustration as the team of which he had been an essential component picked up one trophy after another.

I was always full of admiration for the way Joe handled what must have been a bitterly disappointing period in his career. He was a popular member of the dressing-room and the boys all had a great deal of sympathy for his position. His knee operation was performed in Killearn Hospital, some 20-odd miles from Glasgow, yet each and every player made the trip out there to see him. To miss out on Lisbon must have been very wounding yet Joe never complained and in the years since I have never heard him express any bitterness about not participating in Celtic’s biggest-ever moment, especially as he knew, as we all did, that his name would have been the first one on the team sheet.

He did come back after the injury and did reasonably well but Jock Stein eventually made the decision to release him and Joe went on his travels once more and just as before, knocked in the goals for his clubs;-

Hibs                       1968-70                67 matches         58 goals

Dunfermline      1970-71               20 matches          8 goals

Clyde                   1971-72               12 matches          5 goals

The years after his retirement were not all good ones. Joe opened a pub in the East End of Glasgow and, as he frankly admitted ‘became my own best customer for a while’. Thankfully, he overcame that and became teetotal, quite a difficult circumstance among a group of colleagues who all liked a drink at social functions but he stuck to it and earned our respect even more.

Joe was supported all through these moments by his wife Margaret, daughter Julie and son Joseph. Unfortunately, he lost Margaret a number of years ago but his children and grandchildren have been there for him as he tried to cope with the bad moments. Naturally, they will miss ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandpa’ more than anyone else and I would like to extend my sincere condolences to them on their loss.

The death of Joe McBride has prompted a whole series of articles and comments about his life and career, most of them more fulsome than my own offering here. However, in spite of all Joe’s achievement s in the game, the biggest tribute I can pay him is one which nowadays might seem a little trite or old-fashioned. Joe McBride was a thoroughly nice man.

May he rest in peace.

Jim Craig

If You Know The History – 16th July Bobby Evans born Glasgow 1927

On this day in 1927, a Celtic great was born in Glasgow, when Bobby Evans came into the world. 17 years later, after only three months with St Anthony’s Juniors, Bobby signed for Celtic, making his first-team debut almost immediately and never losing his place in the side until he left.

In a 16-year career at Parkhead, Bobby made 535 appearances, firstly at inside-forward, then at wing –half and finally at centre-half. Wherever he played, though, he was noted for putting in a real shift and he was the driving force behind Celtic’s great moments of the 1950s, like the Scottish Cup win of 1951, the St Mungo Cup victory of the same year, the League/Scottish Cup double of 1953/54, when he was virtually an ever-present, the League Cup success against Partick Thistle of 1956 – where Bobby became the first Celtic skipper to lift that particular trophy – and the great day at Hampden on 19th October 1957, when Rangers were put to the sword by 7 goals to one.

And all through this period, he played for his country, captaining them in the World Cup Finals in 1958 and playing a total of 48 times in all plus 25 appearances for the Scottish league.

If You Know The History – 11th July Charlie Tully born

On this day in 1924, Charlie Tully was born in Belfast, the second of what would be twelve children.

After five years with Belfast Celtic, Tully came to Celtic in the summer of 1948 and had an immediate impact, the attendances immediately rising with each of his performances. On 25th September 1948 at Parkhead in his first season, the Legend of ‘Tully and the Three Gers’ was born, when Charlie terrorised the Rangers defence in the 3-1 league victory.

Charlie was there – or thereabouts – in all the good moments of the 1950s, like the single goal win over Motherwell in the 1951 Scottish Cup Final, thanks to his good friend John McPhail; or the victory only two months later in the St Mungo Cup final over Aberdeen, when he shied the ball against the back of Dons defender Davie Shaw and got it back again, a move which eventually led to an equaliser for Celtic.

Charlie starred in the first two rounds of the Coronation Cup in 1953 but missed the final through injury although he was a crucial man in the team which did the ‘Double’ in 1954.

Two years later came the first of the consecutive League Cup wins, firstly when Celtic defeated Partick Thistle 3-0 after a replay and then the never-to be forgotten day at Hampden in the sun, when Charlie Tully tormented Rangers left back Sammy Cox and more than played his part in Celtic’s memorable 7-1 victory over their Old Firm rivals.

After an 11-year career at Celtic Park, Charlie headed back to Ireland, where he held down a number of coaching or managerial posts. He died in 1971, at the age of 47.