David Potter’s Celtic Player of the Day, No.46 – Bertie Peacock

It was on board ship en route to the tour of the USA in 1957 that Bertie Peacock was called into a cabin to be told that he was being appointed captain of Celtic. Those who noticed or bothered about such things told us that he was the first Northern Ireland Protestant to be appointed to that post.

Bertie Peacock

Did that bother Bertie? Did that bother Celtic supporters? Well, a few months later, Bertie collected the Scottish League Cup after having led Celtic to a 7-1 beating of Rangers, so, no, I don’t really think it did bother Bertie – or the supporters!

He had joined Celtic in 1949 and soon established himself as an excellent left sided player, equally at home at inside left or left half. He played in all the great moments that Celtic had in the 1950s, an excellent passer of the ball with a great “dynamo” in him, a tough tackler in spite of his small stature, and a cheerful character to have around with a boyish grin which belied his mature judgement.

Grierson of Rangers left and Bertie Peacock of Celtic, jump to head the ball during the match at Ibrox Park, which ended in a 1-1 draw. A riot broke out at half-time and thousands of spectators invaded the pitch. Ambulance men treated casualties and the police made nine arrests. 21st September 1953 Photo TopFoto via Imago 

He was also a great encourager of the young and quite a few Lisbon Lions tell how helpful and supportive he was.

In 1961 he was no longer an automatic first team choice, but incredibly, he was allowed to go to Italy to play in an International friendly at the same time as the Scottish Cup final against Dunfermline. It is hard not to believe that that was the wrong decision of the Celtic management.

World Cup 1958 Malmö 15 06 1958 The Team from Northern Ireland with Harry Gregg Willie Cunningham Alf McMichael Thick Keith Danny Blanchflower Bertie Peacock Billy Bingham Wilbur Cush Jimmy McIlroy Peter McParland Tommy Casey

When he left Celtic, he went back to his beloved Coleraine to help them win the Irish League. He played 31 times for Northern Ireland including the 1958 World Cup. He died in 2004.

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.

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