From Patsy to Jinky – Incredible family dynasty comes to an end

Charlie and the Bhoys: A step back in time with two unsung Celtic heroes

Charlie Doherty with the Scottish Cup

Part 9: From Patsy to Jinky – an incredible family dynasty finally comes to an end

The end of the 1930s brought the end of an era as Celtic Park Head Groundsman Will Quinn passed away on 24 June 1939 at the age of 64 years, having lost a six-month battle with spine cancer. Will had been involved in either a coaching or groundstaff capacity at the club since the autumn of 1911, so the best part of three decades. The family link would continue, though, as Will’s eldest daughter Margaret was married to another of the team looking after the Parkhead pitch, Charlie Doherty, himself now nearing a decade in that role.

Despite the onset of a second unthinkable global conflict, which commenced a few months after the loss of her father, the circle of life would continue on a happier note for Margaret and Charlie as their own three children walked down the aisle. Those marriages produced the next generation of Dohertys, including my ‘Celtic Pal’ Charlie, the man who inspired this series of articles about his grandfather and great-grandfather.

Charlie and Margaret Doherty

His parents were the first of the three Doherty siblings to take the plunge, Dominic Doherty – Charlie and Margaret’s eldest son – marrying Margaret Mary Farrelly at Holy Cross RC Church in Glasgow’s Gorbals on 21 December 1944. Heating engineer Dominic was 22 and normally lived with parents Charles Doherty (Football Club Groundsman) and Margaret Doherty, nee Quinn at 8 Delburn Street, Parkhead, Glasgow. However, the marriage certificate indicates at that particular time he was ‘engaged in war service’ as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery.

Jimmy McGrory takes over as Celtic manager in 1945.

His new bride Margaret Mary Farrelly was a 24-year-old Engineer’s Machinist residing at 362 Govanhill Street, Glasgow. Her deceased father Patrick Farrelly had been a Tramcar Driver, whilst her mother Bridget Farrelly’s maiden name had been Crossan. The witnesses were Patrick Tracey of 159 Mathieson Street, Glasgow and Bridget Farrelly of the above address in Govanhill Road, the latter presumably Margaret Mary’s sister rather than her mother.

Charlie Doherty (right) and his son Dominic Doherty at Celtic Park.

Dominick and Margaret Mary Doherty would be blessed with four children, Margaret Veronica Doherty (born in 1948), Patricia Doherty (1950), Kathleen Doherty (1955) and, finally, Charles Patrick Doherty (Charlie), who was born on 1 July 1958 at St Francis Nursing Home, Govan. He was named after both his Grandad Charles Doherty and a certain Charles Patrick Tully, following the 7-1 game which took place nine months earlier!

Oh Hampden in the Sun!
Bertie Peacock and Charlie Tully with the League Cup at Hampden in the Sun. 19 October 1957.

In the interim, both of Charlie and Margaret’s daughters had also tied the knot. On 18 November 1947, Clerkess Catherine Dalton Doherty married Spirit Salesman Edward Joseph Hutchinson at St Michael’s RC Church in Salamanca Street, Glasgow. Catherine was 23 and lived with her parents Charles Doherty (Football Park Groundsman) and Margaret Doherty, nee Quinn at 8 Delburn Street, Parkhead, Glasgow.

Edward was 24 and lived nearby, next to the church at 23 Salamanca Street. His parents are listed as Edward Joseph Hutchinson (Brewery Labourer) and Mary Hutchinson, nee Brennan, both deceased. The witnesses were Francis Cullen, 291 Tollcross Road, and Moira Doherty, Catherine’s 16-year-old sister, who also resided in the family home at 8 Delburn Street, Glasgow.

The old St Michael’s Church at the corner of Salamanca and Nisbet Streets. A new church would be formally opened on the Gallowgate in 1970.

Moira would take that same walk to the altar at the old St Michael’s church seven years later, when she married James Donaldson in 1954. That would be only one of several celebrations around that time for her father, as his beloved Celtic clinched a first League and Scottish Cup Double in 40 years, since the time of Willie Maley, when her grandfather Will Quinn was first-team trainer and observing at first hand the magic of Patsy Gallacher and Jimmy Quinn.

By then, Moira’s father Charlie Doherty was 65 years old and approaching a quarter of a century’s service to Celtic himself. He had arrived as a Groundsman at the start of the 1930s, as a new Celtic Park stand changed the east end skyline, and he had watched a glorious young Hoops team rise just as proudly before being cruelly cut down by fate by the end of that decade, a heartbroken Willie Maley then walking away from his own life’s work early in 1940.

The Groundstaff Bhoys

The period that followed had been tough, Jimmy McStay’s five-year managerial tenure failing to add much to the trophy collection, bringing calls for the return of another of our heroes. Jimmy McGrory’s playing career had been exceptional to say the least, but the Prince of the Garngad would experience his own lows in his new job, most notably a brief flirtation with relegation in 1948 before the introduction of a group of players who are revered to this day finally brought the glory and the trophies back to the Grand Old Team.

Jersey from the 7-1 cup final, believed to belong to Bertie Peacock, a frequent visitor to the Dohertys at their Delburn Street home.
The 7-1 jersey

The names roll off the tongue. Charles Patrick Tully, Bobby Evans, Sean Fallon, Bertie Peacock, Neil Mochan, Willie Fernie, and the man who lifted the Coronation Cup, Scottish League Championship and Scottish Cup in 12 wonderful months, Celtic’s captain Jock Stein.

Jimmy McGrory’s wonderful Celtic team of 1953/54 with the three trophies won in 12 months.

By 1957, Jock’s ankle injury had forced his retirement and a new opportunity in a coaching role, beginning a bond with the youthful Billy McNeill and Bertie Auld amongst others which would see its zenith on a beautiful spring evening in Portugal a decade later.

That would all be beyond the dreams far less expectation of anyone with Celtic in their blood at that point. Charlie Doherty would bring in his 70th birthday on 17 November 1958 still enjoying his role as Celtic’s Head Groundsman, working alongside another Docherty, albeit no relation.

Dominic Doherty (centre) and Charlie Doherty (right) on the pitch at Celtic Park. Can anyone identify the gent on the left?

Charlie’s incredible devotion to Celtic would actually last until the eve of his 75th birthday, as he finally retired in October 1963. That would end a family employment link to the club which had begun with his father-in-law Will Quinn in the autumn of 1911, some 52 years previously. In Celtic terms, from Patsy Gallacher to Jimmy Johnstone. Quite incredible.

Charlie at Celtic Park with Delburn Street in the background. Unsure who the other gent is if anyone can help?

He would not be moving far, of course, given that his Delburn Street home was literally around the corner from Celtic Park, next to the old A. G. Barr factory gates. Charlie would still be living there just over one year later when his beloved wife Margaret Doherty passed away at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on 29 January 1965, aged 70.

The A G Barr gates in Delburn Street. Photo Grant Park 

Her death certificate records that she was married to Charles Doherty, Football Groundsman (Retired) and that her normal place of residence is 8 Delburn Street, Glasgow. The causes of death are given as cerebral haemorrhage and hypertension and the death is registered by her husband. Margaret’s parents are listed as William Quinn, a joiner, and Kate Quinn, nee Dalton, both deceased.

Margaret had passed away on Friday lunchtime and 24 hours later the players who Charlie had known and worked with for so long turned in a very special performance which would no doubt have given him a much-needed lift. John ’Yogi’ Hughes was on fire, scoring five goals on the icy surface which had been Charlie’s work tapestry as the Hoops beat Aberdeen 8-0. And on the following day it was announced that Hibernian boss Jock Stein would be returning to Celtic Park as manager. Nothing would ever be quite the same again at Celtic.

Yogi terrorising the Dons in his Sannies!!

Charlie Doherty would survive his late wife by a decade, although he would move in with his daughter Catherine and her family, initially at their home in Greenfield then Sandyhills. Charlie died at Foresthall Hospital, 657 Edgefauld Road, Springburn, Glasgow on 24 February 1975, aged 86.

His occupation is listed as Groundsman (Retired) and his marital status as Widower of Margaret Quinn. His normal place of residence is 153 Killin Street, Glasgow, the home of his daughter Catherine Hutchinson. The cause of death is recorded as broncho pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and cardiac arythmia and the death is registered by his son, Dominick Doherty, of 166 Gartcraig Road, Glasgow. His parents are listed as Dominic Doherty, a coal miner, and Mary Doherty, nee Gallagher, both deceased.

The Groundstaff Bhoys

There is a quite beautiful footnote to this story, passed to me by his family, which shows the high regard in which Charlie was held by Celtic long after his retirement, and indeed reflects well on the club.

Above – Watch given to Charlie on his retiral by Celtic in 1963

Charlie’s grand-daughter Kathleen picks up the story.

“Do you know that Celtic paid Charlie his wages right up until he died in 1975? It was sent by registered post and arrived every Monday. £8.60. I only knew because he lived with us and mum would sign for it and then say, “Go and give that to Grandad. It’s his wages.”

Charlie Doherty of Celtic.

To the end.

Hail, Hail!

Matt Corr

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About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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