David Potter’s Celtic Player of the Day, No.2 – Johnny Campbell, one of the truly great early Celts

Johnny Campbell was one of the truly great early Celts. He had the ability to play all over the forward line and he was a great friend of Sandy McMahon, with whom he often shared the left wing to great advantage.

There were those who thought that he would be a better centre forward than anything else, but he was very adaptable. Twice Celtic let him go prematurely.  Once was to Aston Villa in 1895 (because of “the very silly action of a Committee man”, according to Willie Maley) when he then went on to win the English Cup with them, and the other was when Maley himself let Campbell go in 1903, thinking that his career was over.

He then went to Third Lanark and won the Scottish League with them!

It was with Celtic that he played his best football, winning the Scottish Cup in 1892, 1899 and 1900 and the Scottish League in 1893, 1894 and 1898. He was capped for Scotland 12 times, and he has the distinction of having scored the first ever goal at St James’ Park, Newcastle and the first ever goal at Villa Park, Birmingham.

He remained a great fan of the club until his death in 1947.

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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