Birthday Bhoy Willie Maley’s Extra Special Treble

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Willie Maley was born on 25 April 1868 at Newry, County Down, Ireland.

On three occasions, he celebrated his birthday with a League Championship.

25 April 1908 saw Celtic beat Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox, a week after they had won the Scottish Cup. It was a rough game at Ibrox with both Jimmy Quinn and Jimmy McMenemy injured by brutal tackles, but Alec Bennett scored the only goal of the game, and Maley thus reached his 40th birthday at the peak of his career, having managed his team to back-to-back Scottish League and Cup doubles.

25 April 1910 saw Celtic clinch their sixth League Championship in a 0-0 draw against Hibs at Celtic Park before a paltry crowd of 2,000. It was a Monday afternoon after Celtic had lost 0-2 to Falkirk at Brockville on the Saturday. This game had thus an air of anti-climax about it, but no doubt Maley celebrated his 42nd birthday in style.

25 April 1936 saw Celtic, even without the injured Jimmy McGrory, beat Partick Thistle 3-1 at Firhill to put an end to a wretched ten years of under-achievement and win the League Championship for the first time since 1926. Maley was now 68, and he showed few signs of wishing to retire!

David Potter

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