David Potter’s Celtic Player of the Day, No.20 – Johnny Doyle

It was possibly the way he played for Ayr United in a game against Celtic at Somerset Park in August 1974 that drew Celtic’s attention to Johnny Doyle. He signed in 1976, just too late to resurrect Celtic in the season that Jock Stein was recovering from his road accident.

His best season was probably 1976/77 when, after a rocky start, the team hit form at the turn of the year and won a League and Cup Double with Doyle unfortunate to miss out on the Scottish Cup final.

He was also very unfortunate to be sent off at a game at his old stamping ground of Somerset Park when he kicked a ball which hit the referee in the face, and the stunned referee did not realise it was accidental.

There was, however, nothing accidental about his sending off at Celtic Park on the night that ten men won the League – and Johnny was the reason why there were only ten Celts!

1980 was a good season for Johnny with a Scottish Cup medal. He scored a brilliant goal at St Mirren on the way there. In season 1980/1 Johnny was more of a substitute than anything else. He met his death in October 1981 in a hideous manner by electrocution while working in his own house.

Not one of Celtic’s greatest ever players, but one of the most whole-hearted, and one of the best loved.

David Potter

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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.


  1. Rob O’Keeffe on

    I remember watching Johnny from The Jungle,we were chanting ‘We’ve got Johnny,Johnny,Johnny Doyle on the wing,on the wing’ The wee mhan turned round,smiled and pointed to his shorts,he was wearing number 9 that day for some reason.A real Celt,through and through.

  2. Hi David was a kid of twelve at the time my older cousins who lived in Glasgow took me to see Celtic reserves play Queens park at Hampden it was the first time for me to see Celtic Jonny played that night I’m sure he scored was making a comeback after injury if my memory is correct it may have been his last game I’m sure this is something you can confirm best regards. Ian macneil

  3. I had the good fortune of watching Johnny in Ally Mcleod’s decent wee Ayr team of the early 1970s where their home form was quite decent beating the Ibrox outfit on a couple of occasions.
    I thought Johnny was more than just decent , gaining a few call ups to Scotland squads.
    Celtic legend in my eyes