Harry Hood, Twice as Good – Harry starts his senior footballing career in the finest of company

Harry starts his senior footballing career in the finest of company…

Harry would perhaps get to wear that red jersey for the first time at the pre-season public trial match, held at Shawfield on the evening of Tuesday, 7 August 1962. He would start the season five days later in the reserves, appearing at inside-left in the line-up for a friendly against Stirling Albion at Shawfield, which Clyde won 3-1.

A few miles across the river, that afternoon of Saturday, 11 August 1962 was momentous for another two youngsters with Celtic in their blood. Bobby Murdoch was still six days short of his 18th birthday when manager Jimmy McGrory handed him the number 10 shorts for the opening match of the campaign, a League Cup section tie against Hearts at Celtic Park, the teenager marking his Hoops debut with Celtic’s opening goal in seven minutes. Leading the Hoops out that day for the first time was Billy McNeill, having replaced Dunky MacKay as club captain during the summer.

Cesar’s direct opponent was a certain Willie Wallace, a key piece of the Lisbon jigsaw which had yet to be placed. And it was also a memorable day – for the wrong reason – for another man who was an established inside-forward for Celtic, John Divers.

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He had been one of five Celts in the Glasgow Select who had faced Manchester United at Hampden in midweek, as the authorities revamped the jaded Glasgow Charity Cup from a knockout competition to a one-off showpiece season opener. Divers had then rolled up to Celtic Park on the Saturday oblivious to the fact that his boots were still at home, rather than in the Parkhead boot room!

He was promptly dropped, with Charlie Gallagher handed his inside-right slot. Gallagher would celebrate his good fortune by scoring Celtic’s second goal of the afternoon, three minutes after the restart, with John Hughes sealing a 3-1 win just before the hour.

Back at Clyde, Harry Hood would make his competitive debut against Hibernian’s reserves at Easter Road on Wednesday, 22 August 1962. The hosts featured their own teenage prodigies, 15-year-old Jim O’Rourke and Peter Cormack, the latter a relative veteran at 16 years and one month. Both had played for Scotland’s schoolboys with Jim McCalliog in that 4-3 Victory Shield triumph over England at Ibrox a few months earlier. Harry’s Clyde would take the honours that evening, though, to open their Reserve League campaign with a fine 2-1 win.

Harry would retain his place for the 2-1 friendly victory over Queen of the South reserves in Dumfries on the last Saturday in August, before lining up against Partick Thistle’s second-string at Shawfield on Saturday, 8 September 1962, where his direct opponent was future Clyde colleague Dick Staite. Hood would continue his positive start, as the hosts won 3-1. The following week saw Harry turn out twice for the reserves within 24 hours. On Thursday, 13 September 1962, he was part of the Clyde team which defeated Stranraer 3-0 at Shawfield to progress to the next round of the Scottish Second XI Cup.

The Friday night would be a different kettle of fish entirely, future Lisbon Lions Bobby Murdoch, John Hughes and Jimmy Johnstone all on target as Celts beat Clyde 4-0 in Harry’s first senior appearance at Parkhead, Rutherglen Bhoy Murdoch enhancing his growing reputation with a double. The previous Monday, the old ground had been packed to the rafters as 72,000 spectators watched Celtic produce a valiant second-half performance before succumbing 3-1 to former European masters Real Madrid.

As in 1960 at Hampden, the young Harry Hood was once again following in the footsteps of the giants.

Matt Corr

An extract from Harry Hood – Twice as Good published by Celtic Star Books at the end of October.  Here are some stats surrounding this absolutely brilliant book written by Matt Corr…

Months of research – SIX…Months writing and interviewing Harry’s family and many of his former teammates including the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay, Tommy Callaghan and Willie Wallace – TEN…Harry Hood – Twice as Good page-count – 448…Harry Hood -Twice as Good chapters 40…Harry Hood -Twice as Good word-count – 222,542. Unique and many exclusive photograph pages of Harry’s life on and off the park – 32. Days remaining until the first print order of Harry Hood – Twice as Good arrives…14…Percentage of initial print oder already pre-ordered by Celtic and Clyde supporters…87%…

Please note that Harry Hood – Twice as Good has already been re-ordered with a second batch of books scheduled to arrive later next month. You can pre-order our copy today.

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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