The Celtic Star Bookshop


David Potter



Charlie Gallagher was at Celtic Park for over 10 years. Encompassing the 1960s, his career was an eventful one, touching the depths of despair and the ultimate triumph. Although never a permanent fixture in the Celtic first team, his memory is much revered by the Celtic support. He appeared relaxed, laid back and languid. Slightly-built, he seemed to lack the necessary robustness. But appearances can be very deceptive. Behind the easy-going exterior lurked a tremendous football brain, with the ability to spray passed which fast-running forwards would relish. Charlie Gallagher starred in one of Celtic's best performances in years as MTK Budapest were beaten 3-0 in the European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final at Celtic Park.

When Jock Stein arrived in March 1965, Gallagher was given a settled role at inside-right. His play was quiet but effective and good enough for him to retain a place for the Scottish Cup final. Eight minutes remained when Charlie trotted over to take a corner kick on the left. It was like one of those Spot the Ball competitions in the newspapers where the entrant must place the ball in the exactly the right spot. In this case, the target was the moving one of Billy McNeil's head... And Gallagher's accuracy was to signal the return of the glory days to Celtic Park.

The next two seasons were to see Charlie in the role of valuable pool member, covering for injuries or being used as a surprise weapon. In the first league game of 1965-66 season at Tannadice Park, Charlie hit the bar in the first two minutes and rumour has it that the bar is shaking yet. And, of course, it was the action replay from him and McNeill which gave Celtic their narrow victory over Vojvodina Novi Sad in the European Cup quarter-final in 1967.

One day at Muirton Park, where Celtic won 6-1, there was a brilliant Freudian slip by an old-timer standing near me in the enclosure. One particulate long pass was greeted with a clap and a cry of "Well done, Patsy", an understandable confusion with Charlie's namesake of more than 40 years earlier.



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