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Danny McGrain: A proper Celtic legend

You know, at a club like ours there are always players and staff who get labelled with the term “legend”. At times it can come too easily. Regi Blinker wasn’t a legend. But his exploits in Glasgow’s night clubs were legendary. One guy who fits the legendary bill is Daniel Fergus McGrain.

Without doubt the finest right-back this country has ever produced, Danny was famously overlooked by Rangers as they thought he was a Catholic because of his name. He wasn’t. Not that his creed mattered to us anyway but the myopia of the bigoted is rarely funny except when it causes a cock-up like this.

Now 62, the same number as the caps he won for Scotland, McGrain has accepted Neil Lennon’s invitation to step up to first team coaching duties. How lovely a term is that? He ‘accepted the invitation’. More importantly, look at what we have at the club; we have real football men managing the football side. The addition of McGrain to the front-facing coaching team is exciting and bloody well brilliant to see.

This is a man with a connection to the club stretching back 45 years. This is a man with almost 700 appearances for Celtic. This is a man who captained Celtic. This is a man who won 9 league titles, 5 Scottish Cups & 2 league cups. This is a man who could slide tackle the length of Hampden. Dignity is an oft-used word in Glasgow’s football circles. Danny has it in spades.

This is a man who started life as a bluenose but found his real home at Celtic, has never left and will always be welcome. This is a man who is a proper Celtic legend.

Danny McGrain, we are delighted you accepted Neil’s invitation. If Adam Matthew’s becomes half the player you are then we’ll have a superstar on our hands. Make it so!

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10 years ago


Watched Danny grow from boy to great – greatest, as you said, if you talk about team positions. In his heyday, basically prior to his bad injury at Falkirk, he was regarded by many in world football as the best right back in the world at that time. He was a joy to watch, yes a real joy and you stole my thunder when you mentioned his ability to slide tackle from here to eternity, reminiscent of but better than Big Billy at it. He was fearless too and though he lacked real eye for goal he was regularly right at the heart of attacking moves. My memory is sadly totally useless (poured out my serial just 5 minutes ago thinking the dark mornings had come early) but I remember a particular game when Danny chased an opponent up, down across the whole park and then into the ground, eventually winning the ball and breaking up an opposition attack. If I remember rightly the opponent was wee Donald Park but I can not remember the club he was with then. This one move epitomised for me all that was Danny. He condensed 200 minutes into 90+. He gave his all to win in every game. He grew into a Celtic player with the club ethos ingrained in his psyche. He became, in fact, simply a Celtic man. No, a Celtic legend. No, a legendary man. If Tommy is at the head of the table, Danny is definitely sitting at his right hand. His new role can but enhance a developing management team with the potential to bring great and honourable things to our club.


10 years ago

Remeber that cup final back in 1980. We thought he had scored the winner. and so did he, if you watcth the game again, Danny is the only person who rightfully can be called a legend. He could have gone anywhere. As the diary said, Mikael Lustig wants him by his side always.

10 years ago

Yup Danny McGrain is my all time Celtic hero, King Kenny was the first but broke my heart when he went off to Liverpool, never really forgave him for that, I was just a young boy!! Danny never did and he was as hard as nails but also fair. Disgracefully treated by old board but absolutely ecstatic that he is now a first team coach at Celtic Park – true legend. If Lustig or Matthews end up even half as good as him we’ll have won a gold watch with the pair of them!!

10 years ago

Delighted for Danny.During the ‘Lennon needs a mentor’nonsense of a few seasons ago I could not understand why Danny was never mentioned.Legend does not describe Danny as in the Americanisation of ‘awesome’in recent years its an overused term, icon would be a better description.My all time favourite celt,closely followed by Paul McStay because to their own detriment stayed with us for their entire careers.Fantastic man too so self depreciating when you meet him.

10 years ago

Many years ago, my young son was diagnosed as diabetic. He tried school football but always “hung back”, thinking he was somehow “disabled” and I despaired for him. At this time, Danny was manager of Arbroath F.C. I wasnt a football supporter. On a whim , I wrote to Danny hoping he might find the time to write a wee note of encouragement to my son – after all, if Danny could be a world-class footballer, surely my son could at least have a wee game at school. Next thing, the phone rang. Guess who? It was the great man himself, personally calling to talk to my son. He spent the next while encouraging him and telling him not to “hang back” Well, ita many years later, and my son never “hangs back”, and its all down to the humanity of that great man, of whom I shall always be grateful. Hats off to a true legend. Thanks Danny.

10 years ago
Reply to  Real Gentleman

Brilliant, thanks for sharing. Just when you think opinion on Danny cant possibly get any higher, up it goes. What a great man.

tam the tim
10 years ago

Great for Danny and the club. I was at his first team debut and one of the great games he starred in was at tynecastle. 3-1 down at half-time, Danny, K.D. and Ronnie Glavin tore hearts to bits down the right wing and ended up 4-3 to the Tic. Exhilirating to watch, his pace was fantastic.

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