There’s a lot of talk about Danish Celtic players tonight, as Denmark face England in the Semi Final of Euro 2020. We recently wrote an article about five of the best Danish Celts, but to follow on from that piece, we now bring you the story of Willie Maley dishing out punishment in the Scandinavian country.
Celtic were undeniably international from an early age. The club had already enjoyed two successful tours encompassing Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany, by the time that the decision was made to embark on another continental expedition at the end of the 1906/1907 season. This time the Hoops would swap central Europe for Denmark – a new region with a fresh opportunity to exhibit the ‘Celtic way’ to football fans abroad.
First on the Danish menu was Boldklubben 1893, who Celtic disposed of by five goals to two. The crowd-pleasing outside left, Bobby Templeton, ran the show that day and stole all the local newspaper inches. Templeton had joined Celtic from Woolwich Arsenal for £250, just over a year previously. His wizardry on the wing justified such a price tag and made him a firm favourite with the faithful.
Next for the Hoops was a København Select side, who defied the odds and defeated Celtic 2-1. Although their team overachieved with their performance, the Danish supporters screamed for Bobby Templeton to continue his dribbling exploits throughout the match, such was the show that the Scottish international was putting on. Bobby’s compliance with the crowd infuriated Willie Maley, for if such genius artistry did not result in goals then it was futile as far as the Celtic boss was concerned. Nevertheless, Templeton continued showboating. Dribble after dribble. Dummy after stepover. This defiant behaviour comes as no surprise when one explores the character of the man. Afterall, he was the footballer who once famously took a bet at Bopstock & Wombwell menagerie in New City Road, to step into a lion’s cage and twist its tail!
An incensed Maley, whose Celtic team had travelled to Denmark without a recognised goalkeeper, punished Templeton by placing him between the sticks for the remaining two matches of the tour. Celtic oversaw the same København Select side 5-1 and 4-2 respectively in those closing games, yet by the time the squad had returned to Glasgow, Willie Maley had announced that Bobby Templeton would be transfer listed. Despite being surplus to requirements, he did play a handful of matches at the beginning of the new season. Although, he was finally sold when an offer from Kilmarnock was accepted on 18 October 1907.