Football Without Fans – Big Tree CSC, Coatbridge

Big Tree CSC, Coatbridge…

Big Tree Bar is one of the oldest bars in Coatbridge. It has always had a connection with Celtic over the years. It is one of the busiest on match days, although it is now owned by a Hibbee. They have members whose fathers and grandfathers were members. From Lisbon to Seville, there are always stories to be told and heard.

A recollection from one of their older Bhoys is when they went down to Newcastle in February 1968 for Ronnie Simpson’s St James’ homecoming after playing there for ten years. The bus left the Big Tree and went to pick up a member.

His mother came out and said he wasn’t going as he had been out the night before. On jumping out of his bedroom window, the member was soon on the bus and heading south, which took six hours after going down all the back roads to Newcastle, stopping everywhere to top up their carry-outs.

On the way home, one fella was so drunk that they put him on the overhead luggage rack. With it being so cold on the bus, someone came up with the idea of lighting a fire in the aisle to keep them warm.

The driver eventually stopped the bus when he smelled the Bhoys central heating. He ran up and stamped it out, opening the emergency door to let the smoke out. A shout of ‘somebody’s missing’ got them all out of the bus with cigarette lighters checking the road looking for the member when they heard a voice from the luggage rack, ‘Whit’s happening?’

In the early 1960s, the club was run by John F. Gallagher. From 2000–2009, it was run by Phil Duffy, Shug Gallagher, Jim Digan, Paul Toby Tobin, and Bert Robertson. They had 40 members.

After a few years of various buses leaving the pub, Derek McKay was asked to restart the club with a 16-seater during the Ronny Deila years. They now put on an 80-seater for some games. In 2022, when Celtic played Rangers under the lights, they thought they had a 79-seater, which, when it turned up, was only a 49-seater.

They had to turn away 25 people from the pub. They still had 68 going to the game. Eight years ago, two Polish fellas appeared in the pub, asking if they could get on the bus. They are still with Big Tree/Tommy Burns CSC today and affectionately known as the Holy Goalies.

From 2014 to present, they have been run by Derek McKay and Kenny Martin. They have 50 members.

David McIntyre –

An extract from Football Without Fans – The History of Celtic Supporters Clubs by David McIntyre ( Celtic Bars).

Football Without Fans – The History of Celtic Supporters Clubs is out now and available in print and kindle versions HERE. Watch the video in the Celtic World tweet below for some amazing facts on the Celtic support around the world.

Just before Christmas, David McIntyre from Celtic Bars was interviewed by Celtic TV about his Football Without Fans book. Here’s the video on Celtic TV’s You Tube channel . You can order a copy in print or kindle from Amazon regardless of where you are in the world. Order your copy HERE.


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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