Bobby Murdoch’s Celtic Shorts – Floodlights, Referees, Forgotten Boots and Lost Bhoys

Last week on The Celtic Star Matt Corr interviewed Brendan O’Hara, the great-great grandson on Celtic’s first secretary and Founding Father John O’Hara. It’s a exclusive interview that you’ll not want to miss and you can catch it up below…

Read Here…Brendan O’Hara MP, the great-great grandson of Celtic’s first secretary and Founding Father John O’Hara

Joe McBride & Bertie Auld pay their respects at John O’Hara’s grave in 2011.

However after we published Matt’s article  he was somewhat frantic as he’d forgotten to send over what he regarded as the main photograph that he wanted to use, which was of a Bobby Murdoch Celtic shirt and shorts. You need to read the interview to find out the significance and as I said it is well worth it!

Talking of Celtic shorts, here’s a selection from club Historian David Potter who alongside both Matt Corr and Liam Kelly combined to produce the brilliant new book, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys. Here’s David Potter’s Celtic shorts as a tribute to the one and only Bobby Murdoch…


Celtic were on the slow side about installing floodlights, failing to see the benefits that could accrue from midweek European football. But the lights were generally believed to be of a high standard and the pylons became a landmark over the east end of Glasgow for many years.

U2 playing under the Celtic Park floodlights in 1993.

They were officially opened on Monday 12 October 1959 in a game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, champions of England for the last two years. Wolves won 2-0. It was unfortunate that Willie Fernie, Bobby Collins and Bobby Evans all left the club at about the same time. Supporters found it hard to resist the conclusion that the sale of these excellent players paid for the floodlights.


It was said that Celtic had three Polish players in the Scottish League Cup semi-final match of 20 September 1989. It was a dreadful game in which Celtic lost 0-1 to Aberdeen to a goal from Ian Cameron.

Manager Billy McNeill took off Steve Fulton and put on Joe Miller, but Joe failed to do what McNeill told him to do and had to be himself substituted by Andy Walker for refusing, presumably, to follow McNeill’s instructions. This was greeted with anger from the Celtic support, laughter from the Aberdeen support (not least because Miller was an ex-Aberdeen player) and incredulity from the radio commentators and journalists.

Thing got a lot worse for Celtic when Roy Aitken was sent off for two yellow cards, and even star man Dariusz Dziekanowski (commonly known as Jackie) could do little about it. Hence the three Poles – Dziekanowski, Aitkenoffski and Milleronandoffski.


The literati call it “peripeteia” or reversal of fortunes. Seldom can there have been such a total change in two successive Scottish Cup finals as there was for Roy Aitken between 1984 and 1985. In 1984 Celtic were a goal down to Aberdeen (a goal which should have been disallowed) when Roy tackled (future Celt) Mark McGhee. McGhee went down and (future Celtic manager) Gordon Strachan was seen to influence referee Bob Valentine and to persuade him to send (future Aberdeen manager) Roy Atiken off.

Ten men Celtic then fought like tigers, earned a late equalizer, but went down in extra time to a goal scored by Mark McGhee, apparently having recovered from Aitken’s challenge. Hell could not be so terrible as 19 May 1984 was for Roy Aitken.

But then fast forward to 18 May 1985 with the stuffy, defence-minded Dundee United 1-0 up and time running out for Celtic. Then manager Davie Hay brings off Paul McStay, puts on defender Pierce O’Leary for one of his rare outings and puts Roy Aitken into midfield. The effect is instantaneous. Roy takes hold of the game “by the scruff of the neck” and Celtic win 2-1. Roy is the hero of the hour!


Jimmy Delaney is unique in world football history in that he has won Cup winners’ medals in three different countries – Celtic in 1937, Manchester United in 1948 and Derry City in 1954. It was a pity that the second world war got in the way, otherwise there might have been a lot more!

But if that were not enough to be going on with, he also managed to score two goals against Germany at Ibrox in 1936, thereby thoroughly upsetting the gentleman with the moustache and the funny salute in Berlin who was already struggling to cope with the marvellous Jesse Owens spoiling his Berlin Olympics!

Then at the end of the war, it was “Jaydee” as he was called who scored the goal in the Victory International of 1946 at Hampden which beat England, and sent football-starved Scotland into untold ecstacies.


Johnny Doyle was famously sent off in the game in 1979 when “ten men won the League”. He possibly deserved that one, but on an earlier occasion he was definitely the victim of an injustice and one that had more than a little touch of farce about it.

It happened on 20 August 1977 at Somerset Park, funnily enough the home of Doyle’s previous club, Ayr United. Johnny hit the ball at full power and it hit the unfortunate referee Bob Cuthill full in the face. The game was immediately stopped and the referee was given attention from Ayr’s trainer.

Once he recovered (or seemed to), he summoned Doyle and, to the astonishment and horror of all concerned, ordered Doyle off the field! The referee was obviously stunned and could not really be blamed but it was a mystery why one or other of the linesmen did not intervene. Doyle ran off the field in tears to be comforted by Jock Stein.

The ordering off was later rescinded and no suspension given, but nothing could be done about the result which remained Ayr United 2 Celtic 1. Coming as this did only ten days after the Dalglish transfer, it was another massive blow to the beleaguered Celtic support.


This unfortunate happening occurred to John Divers at the start of the 1962/63 season. It was the first day of the season, a bright lovely August day and a big crowd was expected at Celtic Park to see Celtic play Hearts.

John set out in his car to drive to the ground, then realised that his boots would not be at Celtic Park because he had been playing in a Charity friendly at Hampden on the previous Wednesday night and had taken his boots home. So he turned back to get them but was then caught up in traffic and turned up late for the game.

His place was given to Charlie Gallagher, and Celtic, with Bobby Murdoch playing his debut, beat Hearts 3-1. The team had played so well that the formation was retained and Divers remained out of the team for all the League Cup sectional matches.

John Divers

It was tight section involving Hearts and the two Dundee teams. Celtic failed to qualify in heart-breaking circumstances by the narrowest of margins and it is a moot point and much argued by historians whether the presence of the experienced Divers might have made a difference. Life might have been different if John had remembered his boots or even continued driving to Celtic Park and borrowed someone else’s.


Few Celtic players have caused more distress than Pat Crerand. A brilliant right-half who lit up the early 1960s and was the one of the few players of undeniably world class at Celtic Park at the time.

Pat Crerand

But Pat became disillusioned with the lack of success at Parkhead, had an argument with a member of the coaching staff at half-time at Ibrox on New Year’s Day 1963 after which the team went on to lose heavily, then in the middle of the big freeze of February 1963 was transferred to Manchester United where he became part of Matt Busby’s great side.

For Celtic supporters, the pain was intense.

David Potter

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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