Celtic’s greatest team: Pre-World War 2 – Our Foundation, The Celtic Way

Our Foundation – The Celtic Way, Celtic’s greatest team: Pre-World War 2 – the shortlist for our left-sided defender…

In today’s article, we will be looking at the left-sided defender who will complete the shortlist of our defensive line-up – the ‘back three’ plus goalkeeper in Willie Maley’s unique Celtic team comprising only of players who thrilled supporters in the great man’s era of 1888-1940.

Here’s a very brief reminder of the story so far, a recap of the shortlists already published exclusively in The Celtic Star.

Goalkeeper – Dan McArthur, Davie Adams, Charlie Shaw, John Thomson, Joe Kennaway – read about these wonderful Celtic players HERE.

Right-sided defender – Barney Battles, ‘Sunny Jim’ Young, Alec McNair, Willie McStay, Bobby Hogg — read about these wonderful Celtic players HERE.

Central defender – James Kelly, Willie Loney, Peter Johnstone, Jimmy McStay, Willie Lyon – read about these wonderful Celtic players HERE.

Here is the selection of iconic left-sided defenders to complete this part of the team, once again listed in chronological order.

Note that the number of appearances does exclude Charity Cup matches and friendlies and can occasionally differ by a small margin in different record sources, however, it will give you a sense of length and consistency of service etc.

Dan Doyle

Debut for Celtic: v Heart of Midlothian, August 1891
Final game: v Partick Thistle, December 1898
Total appearances: 169

Dan was a title-winner north and south of the border, having claimed the English League with Everton before Celtic’s first flag success in 1892/93. An all-time fans’ favourite.

Willie Orr

Debut for Celtic: v Hibernian, September 1897
Final game: v Aberdeen, September 1907
Total appearances: 235

Willie was another who captained Celtic to League and Scottish Cup glory in the early 1900s. Two decades later, he lifted the Scottish Cup as manager of an excellent Airdrieonians side.

Jimmy ‘Dun’ Hay

Debut for Celtic: v Partick Thistle, August 1903
Final game: v Aberdeen, April 1911
Total appearances: 287

Captain of Celtic and Scotland, ‘Dun’ was another stalwart from that wonderful Hoops side which won six successive Scottish league titles between 1904-1910, a record which stood for 60 years.

Joe Dodds

Joe Dodds (right) and Alec ‘Icicle’ McNair against Aston Villa at Celtio Park in April 1912 with the old Jungle in the background
Joe Dodds

Debut for Celtic: v Dundee, October 1908
Final game: v Morton, April 1922
Total appearances: 399

Blessed with lightning pace, Joe was a fixture at left-back for Celtic for more than a decade and was another who returned to the club in a coaching role under Willie Maley.

Willie ‘Peter’ McGonagle

Photograph taken in Detroit while on their visit to play Michigan all Stars who they beat 5-0 at the University of Detroit Stadium. While in the city they were given a tour of the famous Ford Motor Works.

Debut for Celtic: v Falkirk, August 1927
Final game: v Rangers, January 1936
Total appearances: 347

A lion-hearted defender who would have run through a brick wall for Celtic, yet a gentle and kind man off the pitch. A decade of fabulous service in the Hoops for Jimmy McGrory’s great friend.

Jock Morrison

Debut for Celtic: v Aberdeen, September 1930
Final game: v Ayr United, April 1940
Total appearances: 215

The legendary full-back was a key part of Willie Maley’s defensive triumvirate of ‘Kennaway, Hogg and Morrison’ which brought great success to Celtic in the latter half of the 1930s.

So, that’s the list of defenders complete. Who will be chosen?

Our Foundation – The Celtic Way will be THE most unique Celtic event of 2024.

It’s an excellent way to get through an international weekend with a Celtic fix, have yourself and your company a load of fun whilst raising money for the wonderful work carried out in our name by Celtic FC Foundation.

You can pick up your tickets now at the link below.

Please note that ticket sales will end on Monday, 4 March, so snap them up whilst you can!

Hail Hail,

Matt Corr

Follow Matt on X/Twitter @Boola_vogue

…and keep up to date with progress and news of this fabulous event on our social media platforms @CFCF_Supporters.

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About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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