Celtic confirm emotional Frank McGarvey moment for tomorrow

Celtic this evening confirmed that club legend Frank McGarvey will come onto the pitch tomorrow afternoon during to thank the Celtic support for the the well-wishes he has received after news broke last weekend that the former Celtic striker is suffering fron cancer.

The short message from the club says:

Frank McGarvey celebrates after scoring the winner in the 1985 Scottish Cup Final, May 1985. Photo Mary Evans Allstar

Frank McGarvey will be on the Paradise pitch tomorrow to say thanks to his fellow Celtic fans for all their support over the years, & particularly over the past few weeks.

Frank played 245 times for Celtic & is one of only 29 players to have scored over 100 goals for the club.

David Potter shared his own thoughts on Frank McGarvey on The Celtic Star earlier this week.


All Celtic supporters are distressed to hear of the illness of Frank McGarvey, and we naturally wish him well. It comes as a bit of a shock to realise that it is now forty years since Frank wore the hoops – and with distinction.

There can be little doubt that his finest hour was the 1985 Scottish Cup final against Dundee United when Frank launched himself at an Aitken cross to win the Cup just a few minutes after Davie Provan had levelled the scores. If I have watched that once on You Tube, I have watched it a thousand times! In the history of a club which is festooned with fine Scottish Cup final moments from Jimmy Quinn to Patsy Gallacher to Jimmy McGrory to Billy McNeill and Dixie Deans, this one deserves a place on the podium – at least.

That goal meant so much to us. We had had so many blows in the early 1980s – Charlie Nicholas, Rapid Vienna spring immediately to mind with the main villains being, of course, the old Board whose reign of horror still had a decade to run. 1984 had brought no trophies with the sheer bad luck of the 1984 Cup final vivid in mind, and 1985 had seen inconsistency, lack of self belief, an unhappy support and the League heading north to Aberdeen.

This Cup final of 1985 therefore meant something. Davie Hay, likeable but hamstrung by the awful Board, was not coping well and how we needed a triumph! That was what Frank provided for us that dull day of 1985, and for that we are for ever grateful.

 Scotland v Argentina. Frank McGarvey and Diego Maradona at Hampden

Frank had played but not starred in the Scottish Cup final of 1980 (not long after he joined the club) and he had also won two Scottish League medals and one Scottish League Cup medal for Celtic, and seven Scottish caps. Arguably his best game had been against St Mirren in March 1981 when he scored a hat-trick (again worth a look at on You Tube) but then in the very flush of victory of 1985, the club offered him a half-hearted one year contract.

Not unnaturally, Frank turned this down and departed. That it was the wrong decision was proved two years later in 1987 when after Celtic had had a terrible trophyless season and been betrayed by “want away” players – one of them the detestable Maurice Johnston –  Frank won another Scottish Cup medal, this time with St Mirren. The memory remains of him with a huge black and white lum hat in the celebrations, when it really should have been a green and white hat, if he had received fair treatment from Celtic!

He will always be Frank McGarvey of Celtic. He wrote a book called “Totally Frank” and it is just that as it lifts the lid on the murky world of gambling. It is well worth a read as it is written with passion and honesty.

His place in Celtic history is an honourable one, and we wish him and his family well as he battles that dreadful illness called cancer.

David Potter

As we mentioned last Saturday, we used to sign with great relish in the Jungle in the early 1980s that “THERE’S ONLY ONE FRANK McGARVEY’ and that seems appropriate for tomorrow Bhoys and Ghirls.


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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