‘Tic Toons: Neil Lennon

'Tic Toons:  Neil Lennon

The Lurgan Bhoy in his playing days pomp.

Lucky not to be arrested on a number of occasions for being Irish and ginger-heided in a built-up area.

The Celtic End


The Jungle got all the acclaim but at the old Celtic Park the Celtic End of the ground was a magical place to watch football from. 

And it witnessed some amazing times.  Some supporters on the Huddleboard have been reminiscing about this famous old terracing and it’s got The Shamrock bhoys a bit misty-eyed as well . . . 

ImageAn overhead view from 1981 with the city in the background. 


ImageA jam-packed Celtic End viewed from the Jungle early 1990s


ImageThe Celtic End explodes in celebration


ImageView from the Celtic End in 1900


Image1894 – one of the earliest pics of the second Celtic Park.  The Celtic End is to the left of the famous Pavilion. 


Image1957 – when the roof first went on the Celtic End


ImageOne for the Celtic End afficionados – the old toilets underneath!


ImageThe back end of the Celtic End – turnstiles at Janefield Street


ImageThe Celtic End and a view from Janefield Street


ImageThe corner and entrance nearest the Main Stand


ImageLooking into the Jungle from the old Celtic End


ImageThe view of the Celtic End from Kerrydale Street in 1968


ImageView of the Celtic End in a game against Dundee Utd in the 1980s


ImageEarly doors in the Celtic End . . .


ImageView from the Jungle, deserted. . .



Bursting at the seams for Centenary title game v Dundee


ImageTri-coloured dreams!

ImageScarves aloft


ImageYou’ll  Never Walk Alone



And the Celtic End today . . .

Image. . . home to the Jock Stein Stand


Art of the Celts 1 – “Danny, Danny, Danny McGrain”


It is great to see Danny McGrain’s face as a familiar sight around Celtic Park once again as the former Quality Street Kid, as part of Neil Lennon’s coaching team, puts the players through their paces before the games and at half-time. 

One perhaps surprising place where the McGrain fizzog also features prominently is Scotland’s National Portrait Gallery in Queen Street, Edinburgh.  In 1989 the Gallery commissioned the accomplished painter Humphrey Ocean to persuade Danny to strike a pose on the basis that he “was one of the great figures in the history of Scottish football.”  The painting notes confirm that it was not only his achievements in the game but the incredible way in which he overcame serious injury as well as diabetes that merited the commission.

It remains one of the most striking works in the Gallery today, the painting of a kilted McGrain standing at the rear of his home guarded above and below by football boot studs forming ‘Celtic’ and ‘Scotland’, the two great sides of an unforgettable playing career. 


Ocean had previously been acclaimed for paintings of Paul McCartney and poet Philip Larkin and captured the legendary Celtic captain just about his prime, before his famed beard turned snow-white.  The painter with the unusual name had almost found fame earlier when he played bass in Ian Dury’s first band, Kilburn and the High Roads, who supported The Who but whose limited success led the front man to leave to create The Blockheads.  Humphrey returned to his first love – art – while ’Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ and ’Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll’ hit the charts.  It is not known whether, when artist and subject met, Danny Mac was able to regale Humphrey with details of his own assault on the pop charts.  In 1996 a Glasgow band called Big Wednesday released a single called ’Sliding In Like McGrain’ although it didn’t do well enough to fulfil Danny’s promise to music journo Billy Sloan that  he’d join the band for a single apperances if they ever made it on to Top of the Pops


Not content with one work on its hallowed walls, Danny also features in a series of 12 paintings of Scottish footballers created by Mark I’anson in 2003 for the National Gallery, a rare double indeed.  By this time the beard was two-tone in colour and the legs (thankfully) not on show but those distinctive McGrain features were as recognisable as ever.  Combined, the two art works represent a unique and lasting tribute to one of Celtic’s greatest players and ambassadors in the corridors of one of Scotland’s leading art institutions. 



Now we’re just waiting on the Neil Lennon portrait being commissioned by the national gallery.  Don’t hold your breath . . .






Celtic’s Iron Man – injuries couldn’t stop him!

Celtic's Iron Man - injuries couldn't stop him!

A fascinating photo from the Sean Fallon biography ‘Celtic’s Iron Man’ by Stephen Sullivan.

Despite all these injuries his dedication to the cause shone through. He once played more than half a match with a double fracture in his arm.

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