lockdown offer – shamrock books

We are back in lockdown in Glasgow in January 2021. Take advantage of our special offer on the three Shamrock Books published to date to help you get through the hours when you’re not working from home, binging on boxsets or avoiding anything to do with Celtic’s car-crash of a season.

All three books – This Is How It Feels To Be Celtic, Said Lizzie to Philip and The Book of Celtic Quotes – are available for £20.00 including delivery until January 31st 2021. The offer is limited to the UK. For a quote for delivery to the Irish Republic or mainland Europe please email theshamrock@outlook.com.


Lockdown offer – 3 books from The Shamrock


Further details on each of the three books can be found here: https://the-shamrock.net/books/

Stay safe and well. See you on the other side.

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You don’t play for Celtic, you live for Celtic.  Tommy Burns

John Greig hit me once.  I got up and then a moment later I was down again.  Then seconds after that he dumped me on the track at Ibrox.  I said to him: ‘John, are you trying to intimidate me?’   Jimmy Johnstone

Celtic Football Club is a unique and world-renowned sporting institution with a support like no other and it is no surprise that since its foundation in 1887 it has been a constant source of comment, controversy and column inches. 

The Shamrock Celtic Retro Magazine has gathered together the funniest, the saddest, the most inspirational and incisive quotes about the club in one volume from players, fans, managers, directors, critics, opponents and admirers across the globe.  All the Celtic greats are here – Stein, Johnstone, Maley, McGrory, Quinn, McStay, Tully, Larsson – and Tony Cascarino even gets a passing mention. 

Track the club’s history through quotes from the very beginning with founding fathers including Brother Walfrid and John Glass to early legends such as Dan Doyle and Sandy McMahon.  Willie Maley oversaw the development of the first great Celtic team and brought legendary figures such as Patsy Gallagher and Jimmy McGrory to the club.  Through fallow years and controversies such as ‘the flag flutter’ key personalities such as Robert Kelly dominated until the Stein era heralded success the like of which had never been imagined.  The Lisbon Lions deserve – and get – a chapter of their own and we hear from and about those who have shaped Celtic and its fortunes in the decades since.   

In the Beginning

A Grand Old Team to Play For

Rivalry, Referees, Reporters and Religion

Faithful Through and Through

Custodians and Malcontents

In the Heat of Lisbon 

In the Hot Seat

A Love Supreme

The Book of Celtic Quotes

£10 fee includes delivery to addresses in the UK and Six Counties of Ireland


This is the third book produced by The Shamrock – the others can be found here: https://the-shamrock.net/books/

Book Review: celtic in the black & white era

It is rare that you feel genuine excitement at the release of a Celtic photo book nowadays given the familiarity with so many club pictures through over-exposure online.  Yet when I first heard that the man behind the excellent ‘Lifted Over The Turnstiles – Scottish Football Grounds In the Black and White Era’ had put together a similar book focused exclusively on the Celts, I knew right away it would be something special. 

Steve Finan has certainly lived up to expectations, high as they were.  ‘Celtic In the Black and White Era’ is a glorious publication of over three hundred top quality photographs through the most exciting and interesting decades in Celtic history.  Starting with Johnny Thomson in the 1920s through to Johnny Doyle in 1979, this is a catalogue of everything from beautifully crafted action photos to hum-drum publicity shots which, because of the subjects involved, prove fascinating in themselves.  Bobby Lennox in his mother’s hairdressing salon?  Jimmy Johnstone in his welding gear?  Billy McPhail in his restaurant?  Tommy Gemmell out hunting?  They’re all here and much, much more. 

The cover photo best illustrates the quality that lies behind it.  Steve Finan uncovered a range of photos from the 1957 Scottish League Cup Final which had lain untouched for years.  These convey what it felt like being in the massive bowl of Hampden whose slopes were crammed with tens of thousands of supporters as Celtic recorded their famous 7-1 victory over Rangers – still a British record for a major cup final to this day.  Celtic goalkeeper Dick Beattie adorns the cover, turning to the Celtic End behind him in celebration yet again, and this is just one of a batch that capture that gloriously historic sunny day and the national stadium in true splendour. 

The build-up to Lisbon and the massive party the day after at Celtic Park are captured as are the famous battles against Leeds, Liverpool, Racing Club and of course the regular confrontations with Rangers.  Training sessions down the years at Celtic Park, Seamill and Troon featuring the stars of the Fifties, the Lisbon Lions and the Quality Street Kids show the Celts working hard and enjoying themselves.  Gradual changes to Celtic Park and the support itself are picked out and there are vintage portraits of unsung heroes and noteworthy Bhoys such as George Connelly, Jimmy Gribben, Johnny Crum, John Higgins and Gil Heron. 

It might not come as a great surprise to find out that this very well-presented and sturdy publication has not been produced by the club but by DC Thomson who have raided their extensive picture archive and come up with some absolute gems to help trace through a golden period in Celtic’s history.  The end product reflects all the hard work and detailed research that has gone into producing one of the best collections of Celtic photos put together to date.  This book will enthral any Celtic fan with a passion for the club’s history. 

The Shamrock rating: 9/10 

BUY the book here:   https://www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/celtic-in-the-black-white-era



How did you hit on the idea of ‘Lifted Over the Turnstiles’?   

Several years ago, while looking for a completely unrelated thing, I found photos of Airdrie’s old Broomfield ground (they are on pages 26 and 27 of the book) and was reminded of being in the main stand with my father in 1970 or ’71. I didn’t do anything about the photos at the time but remembered them. In 2017, frightened for my job as a production editor in the slow decline of newspapers, I went to my bosses at DC Thomson and suggested a department making books out of archive material. The company said: “OK, give it a go” and gave me time, a budget, and all the backing I needed. The first book I did was about household tips from the 1950s! How to get furniture dents out of carpets, how to stop flies entering your house, how to make tea towels last five times as long. It did very well. Now I have my own department creating books. The next title was Lifted Over the Turnstiles, which grew from those pix of Broomfield to a 260-page book. The archive I have to work with is incredible. Hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of Scottish sport images from the past 150 years. Some are photos, most are negatives. Some have a lot of information attached, others have none. Sometimes they are painstakingly catalogued, sometimes you find Cappielow listed under “Gourock & district street scenes 1954-58”. The cover of Celtic in the Black & White Era is a photo of Hampden In The Sun, that I found in a box marked only as “1957-58: B117”. You never know what you’ll find. It’s part of what makes the job so interesting. 

Was your job/background an influence?   

I’ve been a journalist for 41 years, but although fitba daft, I was never a sports journalist. I was chief sub-editor, news editor, production editor (the real power in a newspaper is always on the news desk). I still write a weekly column for a newspaper on spelling and grammar — mostly complaining about apostrophe usage. Over the years, I made myself an expert on old newspapers, old photos, old match reports. I would go to the bound files rooms and look at ancient newspapers several times a week, for several decades. It’s a life-long hobby that has served me well now I create books. I know where to look and (though it is strange to say) how to look. If you want a description of how teams played in the 1920s, read their match reports from every week of the season. Read the feature articles, taking note of who the manager praises and why praise is being given. You have to think like they were thinking, you have to ask yourself why players are described as “clever” or “off colour”. You have to look closely at the photos and decipher what it is you’re seeing. Look at all parts of the photo, why the crowd is shouting, whether a player in a training photo looks like he is (or isn’t) trying really hard, who is the manager shouting at? All the clues add up. 

How do you go about sourcing the photos?   

The archive I work with is huge. Three aircraft hangar-sized rooms. And it has quirks. Sometimes you look through the index for a player’s name. Sometimes they will be filed using the name of the game: “East Fife v. Celtic”. Sometimes they are in packets listed only as: “Football actions 1962”. A photo of Celtic Park might be listed under “General scenes, Glasgow (not factories)”. The people doing the filing might not have cared a thing for football. They were often office girls who wouldn’t know a rugby ball from a football. So sourcing the photos is an arcane process, closer to intuition than science. And often it is just luck. But that’s what makes the job so interesting. You might find a packet full of school sports days photos that, somehow, also contains three or four shots of the 1965 Scottish Cup Final. 

What are your main criteria for selecting certain photos over others?   

Everyone could answer this question. Some photos you look at and just say “Wow”. Sometimes you find a photo of a laddie doing some welding work and it turns out to be Jimmy Johnstone. I have a dream that one day I will find a packet of photos labelled “general fishing scenes” (or some such), and it will turn out to be Jimmy in his rowing boat. Other times, you know the significance of a game, or a goal, and you know that someone, somewhere will look at it and say: “I was there, I was on the terrace behind that goal. I remember it as if it was yesterday”. My biggest ambition is for some Celtic supporter to look through the book and come across a photo that makes them think: “I was with my long-gone father/grandfather/uncle. What a day that was. What a game. What times we had.” These books are shamelessly about nostalgia for the games, the places you went to 50 years ago, which leads on to thoughts of who you were with, and whatever happened to them. Football is the background to our lives. The books recapture time. Finding a never-before-seen photo of a time, or a game, is like having something unlocked in your memory. I am continually told that the books have been bought as gifts for the sort of difficult-to-buy-for bloke who usually gets new socks at Christmas — then they spend four hours looking through the book and have to be dragged to the table to eat their turkey and trimmings. I greatly enjoy these stories, I’m one of those old football blokes who would get lost in old photos. I just like fitba, and I like people who similarly like fitba and talk the fitba language.

Why have you chosen Celtic as the subject for this book?   

It was an easy choice. There is so much fantastic material, so many great characters to find photos of. But I can explain this best by giving an example. If anyone is thinking of buying this book, go pick it up in a shop and turn to the Hampden In the Sun chapter, pages 40 to 57. Those photos . . . that’s why this book was published. I’m going to make a huge claim: I’ve spent a lifetime looking at football photos and those are the best I’ve ever seen. Hampden looks incredible. It is like an epic movie set — Ben Hur, or the like. The low-angle images of Dickie Beattie set against the sun breaking through the clouds are incredible. The photographer could have spent weeks trying for a better angle, a better composition of a photo, and not done any better. These photos belong in an exhibition that doesn’t merely deal with football but talks of the evolution of sports photography. I’ve never seen photos that take my breath away quite like them. I intend to contact the club after the book has been published and offer them the high-resolution files in the hope that they might find them useful or might even find a place for them at Celtic Park. I urge you, have a look at these photos. If you’ve seen better, then please let me know. 

Any thoughts on what our next project might be? 

I’ve already started work on Lifted Over the Turnstiles 2. This time I will show old football grounds packed full of fans (wait till you see the photos I have of The Jungle!).  As I go through more and more of the old photos, I’m thinking I can do chapters on dugouts, tunnels and floodlights. And mud bath pitches, soaked fans, miserable fans, exultant fans.  After that, I intend a book following Celtic around the country (perhaps I’ll call it Celtic Away) showing old photos of the fans and the team playing at Pittodrie, East End Park, the original Douglas Park, Shawfield, and all the other Scottish grounds.  I am toying with the idea of a book about Celtic’s exploits in the later 1970s and 80s (because this book concentrates on the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s).  I have so much material and so many ideas that it’s a matter of how fast I can get the books out.  I’m greatly enjoying my work, and when doing research I’ve met some really interesting, kind, generous and knowledgeable blokes who tell me exactly why Links Park has a Dynamo End, or how many steps were on the terrace on the Wheatfield side of Tynecastle. 

Check out our other Celtic book reviews here: https://the-shamrock.net/celticreviews/

Buy The Shamrock Celtic retro magazine here: https://the-shamrock.net/magazine/

issue 7 of THE SHAMROCK

Issue 7 of the  The Shamrock is  now on sale and for the seventh issue we had to feature the greatest No.7 of all, the one-and-only Jinky.

We explore the decades-long rumours of Irish summer cup games played by a ‘phantom’ Scottish team wearing masks, make-up and disguises to hide their true identity – and the role the Greatest Ever Celt played in these high-jinks. The true story of the Carfin Emeralds and the Kennedy Cup tournament is even better than the legend that has built up down the years. Read all about it!

In ‘Hoops of Steel’ we look at the near-mythical being that was Jimmy Quinn, a miner from Croy whose legend grows with each passing year. Celtic Chronicles takes us to season 1894-5 as the Bhoys aim for 3-in-a-row and the Celtic Cameo is the dashing Dan McArthur, handle-bar moustache and all. We also introduce a new feature of Celtic’related legal clashes called ‘On The Bench’ which kicks off with the the sorry story of former physio Brian Scott and Martin O’Neill’s exploits as a witness.

When we finally get back to games at Celtic Park, the fanzine is on sale at the programmes stall on Janefield Street behind the Lisbon Lions Stand (next to the site of the old Barr’s factory) and in front of the Celtic Way.  The fanzine can also be bought at the independent radical bookshop Calton Books in London Road, Glasgow next to the Barras.

You can order a digital download of the magazine to read online on your favourite device or have a print copy sent to your home .

Please pay via Paypal by clicking on one of these links :

The Shamrock Issue 7 – by post

Single copy including Delivery


The Shamrock Issue 7- Digital

PDF Digital copy (by email)


The Shamrock – Issues 1-7 (post)

All 7 issues of The Shamrock produced so far, sent to your front door


For orders of individual/multiple copies of various issues, please email us at theshamrock@outlook.com to tell us how many copies you would like and we will give you a quote for the P&P.

Also contact us at theshamrock@outlook.com if you want the fanzine sent to the Irish Republic, Europe or the Rest of the World and we can advise you of the postage costs.

Hugh Murphy – A Monumental Celt

Hugh Murphy Memorial Dalbeth tall


When a crowd of 15,000 assembled at Celtic Park for a league fixture against Third Lanark at on 29th August 1903 they were surprised when the players ran out to find that their favourites were not wearing the familiar green and white striped jersey.  Instead, for the first time, Celtic were wearing a jersey of alternate green and white hoops.  There had been no announcement of this pre-match and, unlike in the modern game where the unveiling of a new shirt rivals the release of a Hollywood blockbuster in PR terms, no incessant speculation among the fans as to what format a new shirt design might take.

It was reported in the Scottish Referee sports paper the following Monday that ‘for some time, the change rather tickled one.’  Over a century on and the Hoops are now such an established part of the club’s identity – and renowned throughout world football – that it is hard to believe that a Celtic team ever played regularly in anything else.

The newspaper reported that the Celtic players were wearing something else that day – black armbands.  The previous Sunday, after attending mass at St Mary’s in the Calton, Hugh Murphy was waiting for a horse-drawn brake to take him to Airdrie where he was due to address a meeting of Irish nationalists.  He collapsed while waiting and, a few days later, he died at his home at 579 Gallowgate.  He was 47 years old.


Hugh Murphy mention in Scottish Referee Third Lanark v Celtic first Hoops 29.8.03

Scottish Referee, 31st August 1903 


His sudden death plunged the Celtic club and the Irish community in Glasgow into mourning.  Hugh Murphy was one of the most prominent and celebrated political figures that the Glasgow Irish claimed as one of their own.  Having arrived in the city with his family as a 10-year-old boy from Newtonbutler, County Fermanagh in the 1860s, Murphy became active in an array of Irish organisations as a young man.  He quickly came to the attention of John Ferguson, the book publisher who was the unchallenged leader of the Glasgow Irish for the greater part of the latter 19th century.  According to Ferguson’s biographer Elaine McFarland: ‘On first acquaintance, Murphy, aged seventeen, was still pledged to physical force nationalism, but he was soon won over by constitutionalist arguments.’

As one of Ferguson’s key radical lieutenants – alongside activists such as future union leaders Richard McGhee and Edward McHugh – Murphy helped build up Glasgow’s Home Government Branch of the Irish National League (INL) into that organisation’s ‘boss branch’ in Britain.   It was through their efforts that Glasgow and Scotland became a bedrock of support for Michael Davitt throughout his years of dispute with Parnell and others.  They developed a radical edge, encouraged by Davitt, that was unusual among Irish activists in Britain and abroad who tended to focus solely on the national question.   Using the Home Government Branch as a base they built up an effective political organisation that could largely guarantee the electoral support the Glasgow Irish, no mean feat at the time.

Hugh Murphy was a firebrand but also a keen political operator.  He was in his element in large public gatherings where he could command the attention and respect of the rowdiest of audiences.  His confrontational nature brought him into public conflict even with the mighty Davitt but he always managed to secure an amicable conclusion.  Murphy was influential in guiding the Irish vote in Glasgow away from the Liberal party which consistently failed to deliver Home Rule for Ireland towards the emerging Independent Labour Party, despite incurring the wrath of Glasgow Catholic press in the process.  He narrowly lost in a Glasgow Corporation election for the Whitevale ward (close to Celtic Park) in 1896 on a Labour/Irish nationalist ticket.   At the turn of the century many assumed that it would be Hugh Murphy who would go on to assume the elderly Ferguson’s mantle as the leader of the Glasgow Irish, but his untimely death prevented that.  Ferguson and Davitt would both be dead within three years of Murphy.

It is likely that Hugh Murphy’s prominence as a high-profile politician in the Irish community in the city would have resulted in some form of tribute from Celtic FC on that August afternoon.  Yet Hugh’s links with Celtic were long-established.  In Willie Maley’s words he was one of the ‘heads’ of the new club and part of Celtic’s first General Committee ‘and good-hearted, earnest committee men they all were.’  Hugh had been present when Hibernian had won the Scottish Cup in 1887 and at the subsequent celebrations in St Mary’s Hall that night and later at the Wellington Hall in the Gorbals when the Home Government Branch presented each Hibs player with a solid gold medal in the shape of a harp.  Hugh looked on as Celtic Park was opened and Celtic won their first ever match there in 1888 and he accompanied Michael Davitt when the sod of shamrock turf was laid at the new ground in 1892.


Hugh Murphy cropped

Hugh Murphy, 1856 – 1903


The Glasgow Observer columnist and devout Celtic fan ‘Man In The Know’, who had close links with the Celtic board in the early 20th century, clarified in 1920 what role Hugh Murphy had performed in the foundation of Celtic.  He said that Brother Walfrid and John Glass had launched the ship; that Dr Conway, Joseph Shaughnessy, John H McLaughlin and Stephen Henry were on-board at the launch; but that the ‘keel-layers’ of the ship – those responsible for its initial construction – were Brother Walfrid and Hugh Murphy.

It was Hugh Murphy who recommended to the Marist that his great friend and neighbour John Glass take the key role in assisting him in establishing the football club he envisaged to fund the children’s dinner tables in the schools of the three East End parishes of St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and St. Michael’s.  When Brother Walfrid left for London in 1892 it was John Glass who primarily directed Celtic’s affairs until his death in 1906 and he oversaw the club’s crucial early successes.  Hugh Murphy, while a keen Celtic supporter from the outset, focused his energies on the political issues affecting the Glasgow Irish instead.  His brother Arthur was an active Celtic committeeman until the club went private in 1897 and he was still alive when Celtic celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1938.

In his tribute, which was published in various Irish newspapers throughout Ireland, Scotland and England, John Ferguson wrote that ‘with modest bearing, good-temper, self confidence and undaunted courage, Mr Murphy was in every movement that Ireland made.  By degrees his individuality made himself felt not only in Glasgow, but in Ireland and upon the Leaders of the Nation . . . We only have to display a little of our departed comrade’s moderation in language, wisdom in council and courage in action to still keep in line with the advancing forces which are rapidly nearing the goal of Irish self-government.’

Hugh was buried at St Peter’s Cemetery at Dalbeth on the London Road and, a year after his death, a large crowd assembled to watch John Ferguson unveil a large memorial in the form a red granite Celtic cross, decorated with shamrocks and harps, which was paid for through donations from the Irish in Glasgow, political supporters and admirers.  Celtic Football Club contributed £20 to the fund.


Hugh Murphy Memorial Dalbeth 1

The red sandstone memorial at Dalbeth 


At the unveiling John Ferguson told the assembled crowd: ‘Protestant and Catholic around his grave we honour him as a type of an unconquered race and a changeless faith.  The man who serves his country in a foreign land, reckless of danger, loss of shame, is a higher order of patriot than he who strives for his country at home.  That patriot at home has National opinion to sustain him and the hope of rising with the fortunes of his country; but men like Hugh Murphy have nothing to gain by Ireland’s success but the gratification of the Celtic sentiment of duty to the fatherland, which is indeed a reward that will give a happiness that material wealth cannot.’

The impressive memorial to Hugh Murphy is one of Dalbeth’s most striking structures and still looks resplendent today having withstood the Glasgow weather for over a century.  St Peter’s is an ideal place to visit on foot or bicycle if you’re in the East End during the current lockdown and looking for a refreshing change of scenery and some interesting Celtic-related history.  Hugh Murphy’s monument lies close to the resting place of his great friend John Glass as well as other key early Celtic figures including Dr John Conway, David Meikleham, John O’Hara and the McKillop brothers.

The inscription on the stone to this great Glasgow Irishman ends with a line from the anthem ‘God Save Ireland’ which was the most popular song sung at Celtic events in the club’s earliest years: ‘He was true to Home and Faith and Freedom.’ 


Hugh Murphy Memorial Dalbeth text




Read about the fascinating story of Bridgeton’s Catholic section and the role this community played in the foundation of Celtic FC here:

Glengarry: Glasgow’s Sacred Heart

Glengarry ADVERT.jpg


Buy The Shamrock here:  The Shamrock Issues 1-6

Sham 6 Issues 1 to 6


A Celtic Retrospective