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Celtic Diary Friday October 19

“He brings his experience and personality to the training ground. I always want legends around the club and there aren’t many bigger than Danny.” Actually, there aren’t any bigger than Danny.

Neil Lennon speaking on the appointment of Danny McGrain to first team coach, a move that will delight everyone connected with Celtic. Danny, who admits to making Kenny Dalglish the player he became, by “laying it on a plate for him” (BBC Alba documentary last week on Dalglish) is the ideal choice to replace Alan Thompson, and for those of you too young to remember him as a player, you really missed out on a guy who is, was, and will still be everything that you want in a Celt.

Danny could have played anywhere for anyone and was truly a world clas right back. Had he been at an English side, or played in Italy or Spain, he would have been in anyones all time eleven to play Mars in a friendly. As it turned out, he stayed at Celtic. Only Henrik Larsson in recent times can say the same, but with Danny it was different. his wages and the way the old board treated him, especialy when he retired, was nothing short of disgraceful, but his love for the club means he is still there. These days the word “dignity” is iften misused, and thats harsh , because Danny has it in his heart, a genuine man who thankfully never held a grudge.

And can he do the job? Well, ask Mikael Lustig. Since Danny got involved with the first team, a guy who we all thought wasn’t up to it, suddenly gets picked in the Chamions League eleven and helps his country to come back from four down in Germany. Coincidence? Well, ask Mikael Lustig.

Lennon has also looked at Scott Brown, and ย decided that “If the medical team were to feel it is a long term problem then they would shut him down automatically.” ย Brown , he feels , is in the best form of his career but admits to a “significant problem”. It seems Broony can handle the games, but as Bobby Murdoch once said, “you pay for it later”

Reading between the lines, it looks like Brown is finished with Scotland. Hopefully, the others will decide that a couple of years of meaningless games aren’t worth the hassle. Especially, if as we hear, Walter Smith gets the job.

After a couple of days silence while he chuckled away at the mess over in Govan, Lennon really felt it was good to talk yesterday. On the Gary Hooper new deal talks, and the transfer speculation, he said

“It is speculation. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are a number of clubs in for Gary because of the way he is, but I would poo-poo the Liverpool link.”

poo poo

Another link to explain the term.

Still, it shows the commitment of Lennon to his players, and the promotion of Danny McGrain shows that Celtic are actualy becoming the club that looks after its own. The one we dreamed of as kids, before it became apparent that the likes of Dalglish, Macari and Hay realised, quite rightly , that the money on offer down south meant they just had to be Celtic fans again, and not players.

All three would manage the club intheir later years, and only Hay escaped the wrath of the support. But heres a wee story about Lou..

Around ten years ago, we were struggling for a guest speaker at our Christmas do. Lennon CSC North Staffs, that is, and as the wee man used to pick up his Racing Post fromthe shop where the wife worked at the time, I got her to ask him if he would consider it…

The night of the do was unfortunately timed with a trip to the airport to pick up his parents, but he still got there, racing up the stairs putting on his tie, where he was greeted with a chorus of “Skip to my Lou”

Afterwards, he asked how much we had raised for our nominated charity, and when we told him, he got his chequebook out, and matched the amount. And told me not to tell anyone, so I won’t.

The point is, some people are just Celts. And Lou, Kenny, Davey, Henrik, Lubo and Shunsuke always will be. And of course, so is Danny.

Thats because we judge people on who they are, not what they are, ย and thats why the club still survives, on its own merits. A wee bit of that self righteousness might have saved our old sparring partners from the south of the city, but they never had that identity of their own that was worth fighting for.

So balls to them.

This Saturday sees a visit to the west side drug den of Paisley, where Celtic face local heroes St. Mirren, named after one of the more obscure saints. Three points is a neccessity because the buddies are up there flying in a way they haven’t done since the days of Tony Fitzpatrick. Or Patrick Fitztony. Or whatever he was called.

Saints were part of the new revolution when Dundee Utd and Aberdeen were our main rivals. And long may it continue.

With the new , improved, (Aye right) version of the bankrupt bigots starting al over again until BDO come back to finish them off for good-we hear its going to happen on Halloween, which is kind of poetic, then its only good for Scottish football that a visit to Paisley actually has meaning to it, in the context of ataying at the top of the league.

And th chippies are better in Paisley.

Yesterdays teaser seems to be a bit tougher than I thought it would be, so think along the lines of Maleys physical disability.

Apart from that, enjoy the game tomorrow, and don’t give a thought to the “original Glasgow Derby” taking place at Hampden. Queens Park, after all, had played seven other teams from Glasgow before tha tax dodgers came along.

Come to think of it, can you name them? Or some of them? Or should the teaser just be a simple “What colour socks are you wearing?


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Sean Cahill
11 years ago

Third Lanark must have been one of them.

Run Sammy Run
11 years ago

Top diary this morning Ralph…almost had a wee tear in my eye at times reading that.

Need to go think about the 7 clubs now

Pete Con
11 years ago

Dumbreck, Eastern, Renton, Clydesdale, Western and West End . Were due to play Rovers but won by a W/O.

andy docherty
11 years ago

govan wasn’t part of glasgow until 1912,so the original glasgow derby is just more bull from the sevconians.
great news about Danny McGrain – no idea of his competence as a coach, but his knowledge / experience is priceless.

Run Sammy Run
11 years ago

Take a wee moment today to think about Johnny Doyle, a true Celt who died 31 years ago at the age of the 30. God Bless you wee man.

Here’s a link

11 years ago

Was it really 31 years ago? Enjoyed that wee video. Johnny Doyle, another true Celt.
God bless him.

11 years ago


Once again, showing my female side and writing this while listening to the St. Mirren game on CTV – no I am not in the wife’s underwear, multi-tasking I mean!!
Seriously, you certainly have a real knack for doing tributes to players and staff at Celtic. Your words on Danny perfectly summarise the man and player I watched gloatingly from reserves to Celtic career end. I can tell you that in his heyday especially, he WAS recognised internationally as the best right back in the world even though playing in Scotland. You have to remember that, in Danny’s day, world football DID KNOW where Scotland was. We were not quite some wee province somewhere in the football wilderness then. To get back on track. I absolutely loved Danny. I drooled over players who gave 100% and Danny?, Danny gave 200% + whatever other % was needed on any given occasion. I witnessed him chase wee Donald Park (cannot remember the team he played for then) all over the Celtic half for at least two or three minutes to stop him getting a shot or cross in. Park was a decent player and could be dangerous if given the opportunity to have a go. Danny was never going to allow that. As expected, Danny eventually won the ball and cleared the danger. It must have been quite a piece of defending because I struggle remember anything about the last game never mind one that took place 30+ years ago. It brings a genuine smile to my cheeks when I remember Danny in his final years when he had lost a bit of wind. The spirit of never being beaten was still engrained and if he could not get the ball, he inevitably got the man. I never seen him deliberately hurt anyone, mind, in all his time at Parkhead in spite of sliding tackles that generally were on a par with a slalom course. You speak of players who are steeped in Celtic but, given Danny’s youthful ‘Rangers’ background, he must be regarded, along with Kenny Dalglish of course, as somewhat exceptional. Danny is utterly steeped in Celtic, its traditions and ethos. I truly believe that the Celtic experience has an effect on anyone that lives it, either short or long term. It is not possible to go untouched by the special atmosphere surrounding our club. I find it that way, so how much more must a player. So it has been with Danny and not merely in football terms. I find it so very interesting how close he was to Tommy Burns and the many expressions of his respect for Tommy and his faith is testament to the high principles held by the man. I wish Danny every success in his new role and hope this decision is an indication of a new respect being shown by the powers that be to those who have given their all for Celtic, an attitude that has been sadly lacking at the club for practically all of my lifetime.
Wee Lou spoiled his copy-book for me way back when he signed for Manchester United. Unfairly, I regarded anyone who left Celtic for another club, especially for money as Lou did, was a traitor. I have grown up since then and hopefully wisend a little. It was just so unexpected in the 60s and early 70s. Who would dare to leave the greatest club in the world? I was blind to the poor wages and conditions at Celtic and the changing environment in the Scottish football world. However, I never ever thought anything but good of the wee man as a person and, as I say above, the effect of being at Celtic means I am in no way surprised at players’ generosity and humanity.
Finally, another “wee man” with a massive heart, Johnny Doyle, died 31 years ago. Like you, Ralph, I was surprised it was such a long time until I remembered my recent short visit home when I visited my mother’s grave thinking she had died not that many years ago only to reminded she was buried 30+ years. I can remember well the seasons when wee Johnny ran our defence raged at Ayr and at Celtic Park. But the highlight for me of his Celtic career was a superb individual display at Aberdeen. Tommy Burns had been ordered off after chasing a certain G. Strachan for five minutes and then clobbering him (a wee exaggeration there. At that time it suited me fine to think he had). Down to ten men, Celtic went into defensive mode and left wee Johnny literally in a lone role up front. He was so alone he could have made a hermit appear as if in a crowd. Nevertheless, he turned the Aberdeen defence inside out and outside in. They had no answer to him and Celtic ran out winners (Do not even think of asking the score. Just be grateful I remember the planet the game was on!) against all odds (a win at Pittodrie then was rare enough with 11 men). His most famous or some might say, infamous, moment was of course his ordering off at Ayr. The referee blew for a free kick against Johnny just as he let fly with a rasping shot. In his blind raging rush to point to the offending spot, the ref ran straight into Johnny’s shot which flattened him more effectively than a 20 pounder from a Tiger tank. To the astonishment of everybody in heaven and on earth, when he ‘woke up’, he immediately sent Johnny off. I have witnessed some ‘gob-smacking’ occasions in Scottish football, but Johnny’s ordering off that day left my jaw only centimetres from the terracing (ash slope). It was still there as I wound my way back to the bus down an Ayr side street and it falls to the floor even yet when I recall it (just pushing it back into place now – ther it goes :>)). But Johnny bounced back as usual and the original and GENUINE “cheeky chappy” was soon entertaining and frustrating us at every turn, as was his wont. His death was both sudden and tragic and so extraordinary that it left the Scottish football world, especially the Celtic family, fairly stunned for quite some time. He is sadly missed and may he rest in peace.
Really enjoyable read, Ralph, only enhanced by today’s result – 5 plums!


Sean cahill
11 years ago

I had the pleasure of watching johnny may times and can vouch for the fact that he was a true celt. He played his heart out for us in every game. RIP.

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