On This Day: Celtic Goalkeeper Appears In Court After Tynecastle Assault

When thinking of assaults against Celtic staff at Tynecastle, most fans will turn their minds back to May 2011 when Neil Lennon was attacked by a Hearts fan on the touchline. The perpetrator of that violent act was subsequently found to be not proven by the Scottish Courts, despite the incident taking place live on television.


What many Celtic supporters won’t know is that Neil Lennon was not the first red-headed Irish Catholic to have been attacked by supporters at Tynecastle. Indeed, the Cork born Celtic goalkeeper, James Foley, was set upon by several Hearts fans during a reserve match on 28 November 1936!

Under intense provocation, Foley drop-kicked a ball, point-blank, towards the Hearts fans situated behind the goal. His actions prompted a pitch invasion, in which Foley was head-butted, then arrested and charged with assault.

James Foley

At the trial in Edinburgh, which took place 84 years ago to the day (on 1 February 1937), left back, Jack Doyle, and left half, Bertie Duffy, both denied that the ball had hit a spectator. Instead, Foley’s teammates testified that it had hit the wall surrounding the pitch. Nevertheless, Foley was fined £2 with the option of 20 days imprisonment should he refuse to make payment. Foley, who was by then playing for Portsmouth, had to return to Scotland for this trial and paid the fine.

MORE: The 20 Goalkeepers Who Worked Under Jock Stein: Maybe Celtic’s Conundrum Is Nothing New

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up on the English south coast with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were previously sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are now available on Amazon.

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