Jimmy McGrory is renowned throughout the world of football as one of the game’s greatest scorers. In one game, against Aberdeen at Celtic Park on 21st December 1935, the Garngad’s greatest son put in a record-breaking performance that prompted one Celtic supporter into poetic glee.
A combination of fog and frost put paid to a lot of Scottish games that December day but the top of the table clash at Celtic Park (Aberdeen were leading the league by four points) went ahead.
McGrory scored a sensational hat-trick as Celtic stormed to a 5-2 victory before a 40,000 crowd but it was his second goal which beat the Scottish record of 362 which was captured expertly in this photograph:
Famous Scottish football reporter Jim Rodger, then a boy, was at the game and years later recalled the McGrory’s magic moment:
Within seven minutes [McGrory] was on equal terms with Ferguson’s [record]. He charged at a Morrison free kick, keeper Smith left his goal and Jimmy crashed it in. Then came the goal I say was his greatest; the one indelibly printed on my mind. Frank Murphy sent over a cross and he was the first to admit it was not one of his best. It seemed impossible to get to for any mortal . . . except the immortal McGrory. In a throwback to a trapeze act, McGrory, a human torpedo in the air, body at full stretch and parallel with the bone-hard ground, headed the ball into the net. There was a silence as though a giant blanket had been thrown over Parkhead. Then came a roar of acclaim to greet the goal that has never been surpassed. [It was] the impossible made possible by a genius.”
In the following week’s Sunday Mail appeared a verse written by a happy fan which encapsulated the devotion that the Celtic support of the day had for the great McGrory:
‘A Celtic fan cried in a pause
While Parkhead’s fog hung hoary
We dinna need yer Santa Claus
While we ha’e Jimmy McGrory!’
He remains one of the greatest Celts ever to grace the Hoops.
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lssue 2 of The Shamrock – Celtic Retro fanzine. Buy your copy here: