Memories View – Tom Grant’s huge photo collection of Barrowfield and the old Celtic Park

The Celtic Star will have a great wee treat for you this autumn, especially for Celtic supporters who remember the old stadium before Fergus McCann arrived and build the modern masterpiece that we all know, love and call Paradise.

On Monday evening I met up with former Celtic Director Tom Grant who had previously supplied The Celtic Star with a huge volume of photographs on the demolition of the old ground and the rebuild from the mid 1990s. Tom was the Stadium Director so was the hands on contact for the club in building Fergus McCann’s dream of a 60,000 stadium for Celtic. These images were shown on The Celtic Star and achieved record breaking audiences for the site at that time.

Tom had got in touch last week asking if we’d like to publish additional images of the old Celtic Park, Barrowfield before any redevelopment and also more of what was happening at Paradise just before hand then after Fergus arrived at the club.

From Barrowfield there are loads of brilliant images of the Celtic players training, mostly from the 1980s, but some from the 1970s. There are also high quality large format slides of players posing for portrait shots – the standard football ones that the likes of Shoot Magazine would publish – and the first two I looked at were of a young Danny McGrain (before his bearded days began) and then Kenny Dalglish. There are loads more.

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You will see inside a very basic Barrowfield facilities as it was when the Lisbon Lions trained there right up to the 1980s.

At the old stadium there are so many fascination images. You’ll see photographs of just about every corner of the ground, the catering facilities underneath the Jungle for instance and there’s also what was the longest urinal in Europe running from one side of the Jungle to the other, and not too far from that pie stall!

One set of images fascinated me basically because I have no memory of it at all! Do you remember the two level (upstairs, downstairs) turnstiles at the old Rangers end? There are numerous photographs of this and much more too from all around the old Celtic Park.

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There’s the first ever scoreboard at Celtic Park being installed, which was not only bought but also installed by the Celtic supporting businessman who had branding at the side of the screen. There are images of a shirt collection that Celtic had pulled together for the Centenary season celebrations. The club had contacted every team Celtic had played in European football to ask for a shirt to display. These later all went missing!

All the old houses that used to come within touching distance of Celtic Park are shown and so much more.

Moving into the 1990s and there are photos of the first undersoil heating getting installed. The control tower where “The signal you are about to hear” message comes from – you’ll see it being build. The work to add the current frontage to the Main Stand.

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There’s photos of the offices inside Celtic Park at the time. We have very some photos of a large and very messy desk belonging to a young Executive who had just started at the club so this will also be a great trip down memory lane for the current Celtic Chairman Peter Lawwell.

All of the above is just scratching the surface. Yesterday I gave Tom’s entire collection to a local photography store to covert the slides and prints to digital so that we can display them on The Celtic Star. It’s going to be costly to say the least so we’ll have to look at how we’re going to display the images on the site (a job for another day).

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It’s going to take 4-6 weeks so it will probably be sometime in September before we are able to begin showing you these photographs that will form an important part in documenting the history of Celtic Park and Barrowfield in the decades before Fergus McCann. None of the new images are shown on this article, you’ll have to wait until the autumn!

Last time we were just going into lockdown we simply photographed the first much smaller batch of prints using an i-Phone then used these digital images to display on The Celtic Star. That didn’t do the pics justice so we’re also going to get these prints professionally scanned and will add them to the overall collection.

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We have included links to the articles from February and March 2020 where the first batch of Tom Grant’s photos were shown for the first time on The Celtic Star in the week or so before lockdown.

We are very much looking forward to sharing these images with the Celtic support in the autumn as another exclusive for the site and a huge thank you once again to Tom Grant, who is an avid reader of The Celtic Star, for giving us access to his photographs to share with the Celtic support.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

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