Celtic Snippets – Bobby Evans and the Right to Reply

Celtic Snippets logo


Bobby Evans, Celtic and Scotland captain and centre-half from the 1950s, was renowned for his commitment to the cause and ability on the ball.  One of the first players to play with their jersey outside the shorts, Bobby and his famous red curly hair led Celtic out of one of their darkest historical periods to glorious success with the 1954 League and Cup double, the Coronation Cup, the St. Mungo Cup and, of course, 1957’s League Cup final victory over the defunct Glasgow team ‘Rangers’ by SEVEN goals to ONE.


Bobby Evans 7 1 book cover


Bobby was respected throughout the game and could more than hold his own when challenged or subjected to what he felt was unfair comments.  Charlie Tully found this out to his cost when his ghost-written newspaper column contained some indirect criticism of Bobby’s performances for Scotland, resulting in a dressing room brawl just before the ‘Hampden In the Sun’ final.


It is sometimes said that footballers are too removed from the fans nowadays and, even in this age of social media, that modern players live in a bubble devoid of criticism and awareness of what fans are saying.  Bobby Evans was never one to place himself in a bubble or hide when criticism came his way.


During a Scottish Cup tie at Paisley as he was nearing the end of his career in 1960, Bobby was being run ragged by the St. Mirren striker Gerry Baker (brother of famous Hibs and Torino forward Joe Baker) and to avoid a cross reaching the attacker at one point he simply jumped up in the air and grabbed it with both hands.


This led to one fan, a Mr Mackenzie from Gallowhill in Paisley, writing a letter conveying his unhappiness at the Celtic player’s actions which was published in one of Glasgow’s daily newspapers of the time, the Evening Citizen, on 16th February 1960:


I left the St. Mirren-Celtic cup-tie at Love Street with a firm opinion on one aspect of our future international sides –  Bobby Evans is no longer the man to fill Scotland’s centre-half jersey.  I have long been an admirer of Bobby Evans, both as a footballer who never gave up trying and as a sportsman.  It may have been a good tactic to jump into the air and catch the ball like a goalkeeper (as he did on Saturday) but it was a surpisingly graceless act from a no.1 player.  Bobby, slow on the turn these days, has been relying on his positional sense.  Now it seems, even that is suspect.  


Ouch.  Mr Mackenzie didn’t miss the Scottish internationalist.  At the time newspapers would offer a ‘right to reply’ to anyone subject to criticism and no doubt enjoy the resulting controversy if any player did reply .  That wasn’t Bobby Evans’ style.  And neither was letting the matter go . . .


Bobby Evans with league cup


A day after the letter was published Mr Mackenzie answered a knock at his front door – and found himself facing the imposing figure of a discontented Bobby Evans.  The Celtic player had travelled back to Paisley to remonstrate with the letter writer face-to-face.  Not over the suggestion that he was “past it” but about the reference to bad sportsmanship on his part.  That was a criticism that Bobby Evans wasn’t prepared to take on the chin.


There was no shouting or physical confrontation but the rather shocked Mr Mackenzie was left in no doubt that if he was going to make any public assertions of a lack of grace by Bobby Evans, he better be prepared to do so to his face.   The Celtic player and internationalist said his piece and the pair parted on good terms.


It is not known, though,  whether Mr Mackenzie ever wrote to the evening papers again . . .


.    Bobby Evans cig card



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Read more of our series of Celtic Snippets here: https://theshamrockglasgow.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/celtic-snippets-the-celtic-view-from-yesteryear-2/


Buy The Shamrock!


Covers of Issue 1and 2 together small



Trailer for new Brother Walfrid documentary – narrated by Peter Mullen

Walfrid doc  cover


On the 127th anniversary of Celtic’s founding, news of a new documentary on the life of the man credited with establishing the club.

Narrated by Scottish actor/director Peter Mullen, with accompanying artwork from leading artist Peter Howson, this 60 minute documentary follows the life of Andrew Kerins from Sligo to Glasgow, from where he joined the Society of Marists and took the name Walfrid, to his time in London’s East End and his last years in Dumfries.

Filmed on location in Glasgow, Belfast, Dumfries & Galloway and Sligo and produced and directed by BAFTA winner Paul Hineman the documentary also boast a score by Grammy Award winning Dave Donaldson.

Watch the trailer here:

Find out more about the project here:



Remember the Name – great article on the career of Henrik, the King of Kings

Henrik Remember the Name article

This is an excellent article by Liam Bekker from the Outside of the Boot.com site reviewing the full career of the legendary Larsson.

“Celtic’s Cult Hero and Sweden’s Golden Boy” tells the story of his earliest days at Högaborgs through to his Champions League success with Barcelona and all stops in between.    Well worth reading about a player who has a place in all our hearts – and learning one or two things we probably didn’t know.

“Give me joy in my heart give me Larsson . . .”


Interview with the son of Mohammed Salim – Celtic’s first Asian Sensation!

Salim Sham logo


The Shamrock has stumbled across a video history of Indian Football online which includes a prominent feature on the first Asian to play football in Europe – Celtic’s Mohammed Salim.


Salim action 2 SS

The feature highlights the fact that Mohammed’s significance as a footballing pioneer had, until recently, not been properly recognised in his homeland.  As a leading player with the Mohammedan Sporting club he helped home-grown clubs end the dominance of colonial and British Army teams in India – even though the Indians were playing in barefoot!


Salim son  Rashid Ahmed  SS


Mohammed’s surviving son Rashid Ahmed talks with affection about his father’s footballing exploits,  short time in Glasgow and the family’s pride at him having played for one of world football’s greatest names.


Salim frame SS


Rashid can be seen leafing through albums with photographs and newspaper cuttings of his father’s illustrious career in India and Scotland and tells of how his father was credited with being the first Indian player to perfect the bicycle kick!


Salim son reading SS


It’s a fascinating 5 minute feature that reminds the world of this historic individual who left his home in Calcutta for the opportunity of a trial with Celtic – and the thousands of fans who turned out to watch him play barefoot in the Hoops – before his return home to create new records for the Mohammedan Sporting club.


Salim head SS


Watch the interview with Rashid here on YouTube.  The feature on Mohammed Salim starts at 5.00 in:



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Read The Shamrock’s account of the full story of Mohammed Salim, his triumphant career and his ground-breaking spell at Celtic here:  https://theshamrockglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/salim-celtics-first-asian-sensation/


Salim in Hoops with ball


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If you enjoyed reading this piece you’ll likely enjoy Issue 1 of The Shamrock fanzine – with features on the Celtic Brake Clubs, Paul McStay, Early Escapades of the Celts, The 5 Ages of Celtic, Cinema Paradiso and Cliftonville 1984.

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Issue 2 out: December 2012

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