Football Without Fans – Peter Scarff CSC, Linwood

Peter Scarff CSC…

In the summer of 1947, the small village of Linwood only had a couple of streets and one decent pub, the Black Bull. It was in this pub that some men from the McElhoney, McMillan, Barr, Campbell, McGovern, Scarff, McMahon, and McColgan families decided to form a local CSC in order to make it easier for the men from the area to watch Celtic. They named it Linwood CSC.

Peter’s Scotland shirt.

For the first 25 years of the club’s existence, the transport was provided by Gardner’s buses from Bridge Of Weir until the company went bust. Most weeks, there were so many people travelling to the games that a double-decker bus was required to get everyone there and back.

Around the early 1960s, the members started staying overnight in the Earl’s Court Hotel when Celtic were playing in Aberdeen, stopping for dinner on the way to and from the game in Forfar. By then the once-small village of Linwood was fast becoming a town, with more and more housing being built to accommodate the influx of workers for the Rootes car factory, and in turn, two more CSCs sprung up. St Brendan’s CSC and Linwood Shamrock CSC.

The club felt they were losing their identity, and at the 1970 AGM, the members voted to change the name of the club. Two committee members, Joe Lowrie and Joe McLaughlin, approached Willie Scarff, who lived at 33 Bridge Of Weir Road, Linwood, and asked for his permission to name the club after the late Peter Scarff, and he kindly gave his blessing.

Celtic star Peter Scarff

It has not always been plain sailing, but it’s been a journey many good men, women, and children from Linwood and surrounding areas have made to watch Celtic all over Europe with the Peter Scarff family. In the year they celebrate their 75th anniversary, for the very first time, they have their own premises.

They took over the now-defunct St Conval’s Social Club, which was the original chapel when Linwood was still a village and where Peter Scarff’s funeral took place. The building itself needed a major overhaul and refurbishment, and during the days of lockdown, they formed a committee to get down to turning the club around. After a lot of hard work, one year, eight months, and 15 days later, they opened their new Peter Scarff Celtic Supporters Club. Thomas Lowrie said, ‘This was our version of, from the graveyard to Paradise.’

In 1952, a Linwood man named Pasha McGovern met two Belfast men, Pat Campbell and Jimmy Morris, on the Belfast boat and invited them to Linwood for some hospitality after the game.

They came along with their supporters bus, St Peter’s No.1 CSC Belfast. This chance meeting was the start of a long friendship between the two clubs. Whenever St Peter’s CSC came over for a game, a Gardner’s bus would meet them at the Broomielaw and bring them to Linwood, where they would have something to eat and drink before going to the match, then back to Linwood afterwards.

The bus would take them back to The Broomielaw to get their boat back to Belfast. In later years, the St Peter’s CSC would stay overnight in Linwood and be put up by various members of the club. Many friendships were formed during this time, which still exist to this day. Three members of the Peter Scarff CSC, Tom McGann, Joe Donnelly, and James Lowrie, married girls from Belfast, and Felix Madden from St Peter’s CSC married a Linwood woman.

The club arranged for Dixie Deans to come to St Conval’s Club to meet the members of the Peter Scarff and St Peter’s after the 1974 Scottish Cup Final, and being a Linwood Bhoy, Dixie didn’t disappoint. Not only did Celtic beat Dundee United 3-0 in the final, but Dixie scored the third goal of the game.

The club has travelled to many games since those early days of 1947, and members have witnessed some memorable moments. They saw the Coronation Cup being won, the European Cup win in Lisbon in 1967, the European Cup runners-up in 1970, the UEFA Cup final in Seville in 2003, the Centenary double, nine in a row twice, and a quadruple treble.

It takes a lot of hard work to run a supporters bus, and for a club to be going for 75 years continuously shouldn’t be underestimated. It is a testimony to the men who had a vision and a plan in 1947 that they are still going strong today.

So much must be said of the people who gave up their time to keep the bus going through the hard times. There are too many to mention, but one man in particular, who was a committee member and a bus member for most of his life, is the late Ted McElhoney. Not forgetting their hard-working present committee, who do a sterling job, here’s to the next 75 years of the famous Peter Scarff CSC.

David McIntyre – CelticBars.com

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, who 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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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