Jim Craig – The loss of Celtic Star, Barney Battles

On this day in 1875, Bernard Battles was born in Springburn, in the north of Glasgow. 20 years later, Bernard, by then better known as ‘Barney’, signed for Celtic after a year with Hearts and went straight into the first team.

The versatile Barney was an inspiration wherever he played. He was in the championship-winning side of 1895/96, the successful Scottish Cup teams of 1899 and 1900 and the British Exhibition Cup victory of 1902.

In 1905, at the age of 30, Barney Battles died suddenly after a bout of influenza. His coffin was carried out of Sacred Heart Church in Bridgeton by teammates Dan Doyle, Sandy MacMahon, John Campbell and Willie Orr. They were followed by a cortege of 2,000 while another 40,000 lined the route along London Road to Dalbeth Cemetery in silent tribute to a popular player.

At the time of his death, Barney’s wife was pregnant and this child, a boy, another Bernard, was born on 12 October 1905. He turned out to be a promising footballer and when his mother decided to emigrate to America, he played for a team in Boston.

Eventually, Barney junior came back to Scotland and a career with Hearts, winning two international caps, one for Scotland and one for the USA.

Jim Craig

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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