Sandy MacMahon was born in Selkirk about the year 1871 but as a young man found he needed to leave the Borders and move up to the capital to get the exposure to football he craved. After playing with local sides like Harp Juveniles, Queen’s Park Juniors, Woodburn FC and Leith Harp, Sandy joined Hibs in September 1888, where he soon made his name as a goal-scoring inside-left.
Sandy moved to Celtic two years later, signing on this day in 1890, although the deal took a while to go through, as Nottingham Forest were very keen to get him and actually had him down in England when Celtic’s committeemen arrived to make their own bid.
At a time when the average Scotsman was 5 feet 6 inches in height, Sandy MacMahon was 6 feet 1 inch, which made him a handful for most defenders, especially in the air. Viewed from a distance, he looked awkward and ungainly at rest but once he got going, he showed pace, power and a dribbling technique that took him past many a defence, as his Celtic career stats of 171 goals in 217 appearances might testify.
NB Sandy’s nickname was ‘Duke’ and it was suggested that he was named after the Duc de Mac-Mahon, President of France from 1873 to 1879.
NB2 That goal-scoring tally of Sandy MacMahon is very good and stands comparison with many another striker in the Celtic list, apart from Jimmy McGrory, of course. Here are a few others to compare, the first figure being the number of appearances, the second the number of goals. Jimmy Quinn ( 331/217), Jimmy McColl (169/123), Jimmy McGrory (445/468), Steve Chalmers (405/231), Bobby Lennox (589/273), Joe McBride (93/86), Willie Wallace (232/134), Dixie Deans ( 183/123), Brian McClair (142/121), John Hartson (201/110), Chris Sutton (198/85) and Henrik Larsson (315/242).