Celtic Supporters – The East is Green

The East is Green is a self published booklet written by life-long Celtic supporter Brian McAuley, who has also personally designed so many Celtic Supporters Club badges and many of them will be shown on The Celtic Star as we serialise this brilliant little book. Running to just over 100 pages it’s a great insight into supporting Celtic and attending games stretching as far back as the 1950s to the modern day.

As we have done previously with Jerry Woods’ brilliant To Lisbon and Back on a Fiver, we’re happy to put any reader in touch with Brian and he’s post and package you a copy of The East is Green for the very reasonable cost of £5 including postage. Just drop an email to editor@thecelticstar.co.uk and we’ll make the necessary introductions.

We’ll have many more extracts from The East is Green over the coming days and start this evening with this introduction….

THE EAST IS GREEN by Brian McAuley…

Being a Celtic fan from Edinburgh you will always get the old “Why don’t you support your local team”.  My reply is always why don’t you because I don’t know many Hibs and Hearts fans who are there every week certainly not the away games.

“That’s what’s wrong with Scottish football all you old firm (sic) fans from outside Glasgow”.  Yes, there is an element of truth there but they ignore the fact that many of us have made a personall, substantial financial contribution to Scottish football handing over our cash from Dumfries to Ross County and every small and large ground in between not to mention the pubs, bus companies, boozers, chip shops, off-sales etc.

I heard one guy saying “I could’nae be bothered going away through there every other week. “AWAY” I thought to myself, it’s 45 miles away. It’s not London but it shows you the difference in thinking we’ve been doing it for years, many of us since the sixties and never give it a second thought.  In fact I look forward to it, the crack with the Bhoys, the music, the bevvy, the cairry oan, the cairry oot, the families sometimes three generations, Frank Meechan’s four generations, our own club badge and flag, Och!

I could go on, in fact the years we have spent travelling together probably cements us together more than if we had been locals going to a local ground. The thing is we are there and as Tommy Burns said: “And they always will be there”.

Celtic fans in Milan 1970 for European Cup Final

Just to give you an example, there are five remaining members of the Craigmillar & Gilmerton bus who were in Milan for the 1970 European Cup Final defeat against Feyenoord. Andrew “ Todd” Sweeney, John Cummings, Larry Loy, Frank Meechan and Brian McAuley talk about longevity and loyalty 54 years ago times 5 is 270 years of following Celtic by the way that is a conservative estimate because some of us started in the 1950s.

The Hibbies like to get a wee dig in about how they started Celtic and how Celtic stole six of their players just try asking those players names very few will know them but don’t enter the debate unless you know what you’re talking about the players were Mick Coleman, Willie Groves, Mick Dunbar, Paddy Gallagher, Mick McKeown, James McLaren and it was not possible to steal these players as they were not under contract and were not employees.

Bould Bhoy Willie Groves

Players could play for multiple teams in one season if they wanted, some even played for two teams in one day! There were no official competitions, except the Scottish Cup, these players no doubt received financial inducements from Celtic such underhand payments were illegal but the practice of ‘shamateurism’ was not invented by Celtic nor was it a new thing in 1888.

In 1887 Hibs were fined for professionalism and escaped punishment on a casting vote, every club outside the very noble Queens Park were guilty of such conduct. It is often forgotten that Hibs ‘stole’ six players from Carfin Shamrock and Whifflet Shamrock committing the same ‘crime’ as Celtic having said that we probably should have steered clear of singing Hibernian regulars out of respect for them.

Brian McAuley – The East is Green

As mentioned above, if you would like to order a copy of The East is Green for a fiver including postage simply email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk and we’ll put you in touch with Brian. More from The East is Green tomorrow on The Celtic Star, the Celtic supporters website…


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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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