Tag Archives: Celtic Retro


THE CELTIC METHOD:  From Oscar Wilde and Porridge to DeNiro and the Game of Thrones

Image‘I think the more experience you have of life, the better it is for an actor. In terms of the parts I played, I think my face had more to do with it. Clearly I wasn’t ever going to play romantic leads.’ (Peter Vaughan)


My poor wife really doesn’t have the easiest of lives. One of her greatest hardships though has to be putting up with the many (many) tenuous Celtic connections that I tend to make wherever we are or whatever we’re watching.

It happened again just last week.   Watching the film of Oscar Wilde’s comic play ‘An Ideal Husband’ her eyes were popping at Rupert Everett’s various states of undress while I was more interested in the old boy playing his butler, who looked a little familiar.


“You know who that is, don’t you?” No reply was forthcoming, as per. “He played the main prison godfather in ‘Porridge’ in the 70s, Ronnie Barker always looked terrified of him. He’s a big Celtic fan.” “Pish” she uttered, in that delicate Airdrie accent of hers.

It says a lot of Peter Vaughan’s acting ability that he played Genial Harry Grout on only four occasions in Porridge, yet it’s the role most remember him for even after seven decades in the profession. As Grouty, his stare could be genuinely unnerving – even though it was a comedy role. He was a lot more sinister than Ray Winstone has ever managed (they’ve acted alongside each other on TV and big screen). Poor old Fletcher was always wary of falling foul of Grouty:


Peter’s acting career, which took off in 1959 in a remake of The 39 Steps, saw him take to screen and stage alongside some of the biggest names in acting and directing.  He played opposite Frank Sinatra as a British secret agent in The Naked Runner in 1967. In the ’70s and ’80s, when he became a familiar face on TV shows like Citizen Smith, Fox and Porridge, he also starred with Dustin Hoffman in Sam Peckinpah’s violent thriller Straw Dogs.  Alongside Robert DeNiro, Michael Palin and Bob Hoskins he appeared in the fantasy satire Brazil, directed by the Python Terry Gilliam, in 1985. A decade on, he had a memorable cameo in the Oscar-winning The Remains of the Day playing the father of Anthony Hopkins’ butler and three years on he was in The Crucible with Daniel Day Lewis.


He returned to television in the 1990s for an incredible performance as Felix in the BBC’s social-political drama ‘Our Friends In the North’. A decade later, now into his 80s, he was still making movies such as Death at a Funeral with Rupert Graves and Peter Dinklage in 2007.

But is this grand old man of stage and screen with no obvious Scottish or Irish connections really a Celtic supporter? It was rumoured he attended games occasionally in the 70s and 80s. He was sometimes seen sporting a Celtic shirt while knocking about in Langholm in the Borders, visiting his son-in-law Gregor Fisher of Rab C. Nesbitt fame (Vaughan played the Abbot of Buckfast Abbey in the uproarious episode when Rab and Jamesie Cotter visited the home of the holy tonic wine). But was that enough to appease a sceptical wife?

Not so. But then I remembered a supporter’s story from Celtic’s second European Cup final, against Feyenoord in Milan in 1970. For many who made the trip to Italy or watched it on television, the noise generated by the Dutch fans at the game took them by surprise as Celtic had the majority support in the San Siro. Former manager Davie Hay, who played for Celtic in the final that night, recently recalled: “There was a strange atmosphere in the ground. You could hardly hear our support because of the klaxons that were being used by the Dutch fans. I had never witnessed these things before and they just drowned out our fans.”


Celtic and Feyenoord fans in Milan before the Final

Ah, the klaxons.  This is what reminded me of the supporter’s story of attending the Milan final posted on the CelticMinded forum a few years ago. One man made an indelible impression on him that night – and he wasn’t on the pitch:

Milan 1970. My Da promised me after Lisbon, that if we ever got to another European Cup Final, he would take me. Think the auld chunt didn’t expect us to get there again. But, true to his word he took me. We stayed in the Grand Hotel, Lake Como, which was about an hour and a half from Milan. What amazed me at that time was, a wee bhoy from Castlemilk, actually saw real fruit growing on trees. And the BEST ice cream ever.

In the San Siro we were sitting beside three Dutch supporters, who kept letting off they horrible aerosol klaxon horns. My Da was beelin’. Then Peter Vaughan, GROUTY in Porridge, sat beside us wearing a beige mohair coat, and believe it or not a CELTIC SCARF!  The three chunts pressed the klaxons again, and he stood up, (huge man by the way) and said in his gangster type voice, “Do that again and you’ll be blowing them out your arses.”  


My Da folded, and said he couldnae have put it better.

Peter Vaughan – Celtic fan: too good to be true?  Not so.  Back in 1980, when promoting the ITV series Fox in which he played the head of a London crime family called Billy Fox (known as King Billy in the show!), he revealed to the Daily Record that he was a long-standing supporter of the Hoops:


Peter Vaughan Celitc fan Daily Record Fox TV show 1980


The great man and his illustrious career continued through to the grand age of 93 when he died in December 2016.  He had found further fame in his 90s as blind Maester Aemon in the hit drama Game of Thrones (along with fellow Celtic fan Sean Bean ).


An acting legend who is sorely missed.



Tribute song to Celtic’s Black Arrow: Gil Heron

Tribute song to Celtic's Black Arrow:  Gil Heron

Listen to Michael Marra and The Hazey Janes’ aural tribute to the pioneering Celt:

When Duke was in the Lebanon
Groovin’ for the human race
Gil flew high in the western sky
On a mission full of style and grace
From Jamaica to the Kingston Bridge
He was inclined to roam
Drawn to the flame of the beautiful game
Here was a brother who would not stay home

Higher, raise the bar higher
He made his way across the sea
So that all men could brothers be

When Miles was on the jukebox
And Monk was on the air
Gil crossed the ocean to the other side
To play for Celtic with a noble stride
The arrow flew, he’s flying yet
His aim is true so we don’t forget
What it means when his name we hear
The hopes and dreams of every pioneer

Higher, raise the bar higher
He made his way across the sea
So that all men could brothers be

Written by Michael Marra.

© Tob Records 2012.

Read the Gil Heron story: https://theshamrockglasgow.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/the-noble-stride-celtic-and-the-pioneering-herons/

Lazy Sunday reading . . .

Lazy Sunday reading . . .

Chase the close season blues with articles articles on three Celts with short interludes in the Hoops – two historic and one tragi-comic! Enjoy. Hail x 2, Shammy




THE NOBLE STRIDE – Celtic’s Black Arrow and his son, the Godfather of Rap.

THE NOBLE STRIDE - Celtic's  Black Arrow and his son, the Godfather of Rap.

Our article on the first black professional footballer in the USA and Scotland – and Michael Marra’s wonderful tribute song, ‘The Flight of the Heron’, has had over a thousand views in its first day online.

Thanks for all the great comments. Read it here:


Listen to the song by Michael and the Hazey Janes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xprRxNVs_cY&feature=youtu.be

Neil Lennon – a Celtic Legend

Neil Lennon - a Celtic Legend

Wishing our manager the very best of luck in all future pursuits. Big thanks for everything. Everything.

The five titles, four Scottish Cups and two League Cups as a player.

The three consecutive titles, two Scottish Cups and reaching last 16 of CL as a manager.

No tribute is big enough to cover the amount of hate and abuse the gaffer took while player, captain and finally manager of Celtic Football Club.

Unbowed. Unbroken. UNDEFEATED.


Walk tall, Neil.

The 4-2 game: in pictures

junglejamesie on the Huddleboard posted these great pictures from the 4-2 Championship clincher back in 1979.  We’ve thrown in a few more for good measure.  “We’ve won the league again, fly the flag, fly the flag”


Celtic go one goal down thanks to Greetin’ Face himself


The Bear (hidden behind hun defender on the right) snatches Celtic’s equaliser . . .


then celebrates in front of the Celtic End:



George McCluskey puts Celtic ahead



George then sets up Celtic’s third – gloriously despatched by Colin Jackson (not the Welsh sprinter) into his own net


with the Girvan Shitehouse unable to stop it crossing the line!


Murdo makes it 4 – and the League is won!



Andy Lynch knows it’s all over



Then fails to get off the pitch in time before the Tims invade!



Let the celebrations commence!  (including an injured Tommy Burns with fetching green and white tie on!)



Colin Jackson wasn’t celebrating, despite his great goal: