Jim Craig – Goalkeeper Bonnar’s Celtic debut at Shawfield

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If you drive down London Road from Celtic Park towards the City Centre then turn left, you will eventually find yourself heading in the direction of Rutherglen. As you do so, you will pass, on your left, Shawfield Stadium, once the home of Clyde FC, now better known for greyhound racing.

However, on this day in 1948, a crowd of around 35,000 was in the stadium for the visit of near neighbours Celtic in a league match. Neither side had been setting the heather on fire that season thus far, with Celtic in 9th place at that time and Clyde trying to avoid the relegation zone, so the points were crucial.

Celtic’s usual goalkeeper was the highly talented Willie Miller but on that afternoon, as both Miller and regular right-half Bobby Evans were in the Scottish League team which beat the Irish League 1-0 in Belfast, the management decided to try out a young man who had only recently joined the club, having spent the previous two years with Arbroath.

John Bonnar was delighted to get his chance and had a fairly comfortable afternoon as Celtic dominated the play, eventually winning 4-0 through goals by Jackie Gallagher (2) and John Paton (2).

Dan Shea is a name that we do not hear much about nowadays but the inside-right – born on this day in Wapping in 1887 – was a star in his time in football, becoming the first player to cost £2000 when he moved from West Ham to Blackburn in 1912.

Dan only made one appearance for Celtic – against Clyde in a league match on 2 January 1919 – but there were roars of surprise in the crowd when they realised who the ‘new boy’ was and Celtic went on to win the game 2-0.

He was only on loan at Parkhead and at the end of the season went down south again to join several clubs as a player over the next eight years before joining Winterthur of Switzerland as a coach in 1928.

Jim Craig

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