David Potter’s Celtic Player of the Day, No.45 – Jimmy McStay

Jimmy McStay, born in 1895, was the younger brother of Willie and was a centre half. He was generally regarded as a good, rugged determined centre half of the Jock Stein type rather than a classy Billy McNeill.

Like Stein, he was a good leader of men and succeeded his brother Willie as captain in 1929 when Willie left to go to Hearts. He had already won three Scottish Cup medals, and he led Celtic to another two in 1931 and 1933, but it was his bad luck to be there in difficult times.

The death of John Thomson cannot have been easy for him, especially when Maley himself seemed unable to cope with it, and then a couple of years later came the death through tuberculosis of Peter Scarff.

He was never considered good enough to be capped for Scotland (many people disagreed with that) but after the disastrous season of 1933/34 he went to Hamilton Accies and played in another Scottish Cup final, losing to Rangers in 1935.

After a spell in Ireland, he became Manager of Alloa Athletic, and in 1940 he became the successor to Willie Maley at Celtic Park. In the difficult war time circumstances, he was not a success and was sacked in favour of Jimmy McGrory soon after the end of the war. He died on 31 December 1973.

David Potter

Jimmy McStay
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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.

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