John McNamee could have been a great Celt. His problem was that he came at the same time as Billy McNeill, and John, though good, was not really in the same category as Billy McNeill.
He played occasionally in the 1961/62 season, but it was soon clear that he was not likely to oust McNeill. His chance came in early 1963 when Pat Crerand was transferred to Manchester United, and he was played as a double centre half along with McNeill.
The idea was not without its merits, but there was so much wrong in the rest of the team, and more particularly, in the management of the club, that disaster followed in the loss of the Scottish Cup final of 1963, and McNamee was allowed to go to Hibs to play for Jock Stein in 1964.
But Jock came back to Celtic, and the long term chance of playing alongside McNeill with Stein in charge had gone. His disciplinary record was far from good, and, infamously, John was sent off in the League Cup semi final replay against Celtic in October 1965, and then he went to Newcastle United in 1966 where he very soon became a legend, winning the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 after the Geordies had beaten Rangers in the semi-final.