If You Know The History – 3rd October 1987 McAvennie Debut

Like many another young player in the 1980s, Frank McAvennie came up through the ranks. As a teenager, he had spells with St Augustine’s Milton Boys Guild, Kilsyth St Pat’s and Kirkintilloch 200 Club. His form obviously caught the eye of the junior scouts and he joined the Renfrewshire side Johnstone Burgh in January 1980.

Only ten months later, St Mirren came in for Frank and he moved to Love Street, where he had a very good five-year spell, scoring 48 goals in 135 matches. Quite a number of English sides were by that time keeping an eye on him and in the summer of 1985, West Ham made an appropriate bid, getting a reasonable return for their money over the next two years as Frank knocked in 33 goals in 85 appearances.

In May 1987, Billy McNeill had returned to Celtic Park for his second spell as manager. Although his side got off to a promising start at the beginning of the 1987/88 season, Billy obviously thought that he needed a little more firepower up front and on 2nd October 1987, having paid a fee to the Hammers of around £750,000, he brought Frank into Celtic Park, much to the delight of both the support and the Scottish sporting press, the latter well aware that his on- and off-field activities made headlines.

Only 24 hours later, on this day in 1987, Frank ran out at Easter Road for his Celtic debut, in a side comprising McKnight, Morris, Rogan, Aitken, McCarthy, Whyte, Stark, McStay, McAvennie, Walker and Grant. The game ended in a 1-1 draw but disappointingly for Frank, it was Andy Walker who got Celtic’s goal.


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