Peter Scarff – A talented Celtic player taken far too early

The great thing about writing for The Celtic Star is that you get to delve deep into the history of our great football club.

One of those such moments came yesterday when having read this article from David Potter about Jimmy McGrory on The Celtic Star, I decided to do some researching information on Celtic’s tour of the United States.  That’s where I came across the name of a certain Peter Scarff.

I must admit I hadn’t heard of Peter which isn’t really surprising as he was plying his trade in the late 1920s early 30s, but still I like to think I know mostly everything important about our football club.

Peter played in the same side as a man we all know without the help of any research and that is the great Jimmy McGrory. The side of that era in the late 1920s early ’30s was considered to be the best that Jimmy had played in according to the great man himself and Peter was an integral part of that side.

Peter an inside left was signed at the age of 19 in 1928 from Maryhill Hibernian. He was said to be a powerful forward who could beat a man and also knew the way to goal. His record of 55 goals in 112 games testifies to that. He was said to be a worthy successor to the great Jimmy McMenemy which was quite the accolade.

Peter helped the club to a Glasgow Cup victory over Rangers in 1930 while the following year he helped the club to Scottish Cup glory beating Motherwell after a replay. Unfortunately Peter missed out in tasting league success although he did come close in 1931 as the team lost out by just two points to eventual champions Rangers.

A humorous tale involving Peter came to light during the 1931 tour of the United States in a game against Montreal Carstellers when he has to wear a green dress shirt as there was a shortage of hoops tops. It didn’t deter him though from scoring an impressive five goals in a seven nil victory.

On the international front Peter represented Scotland on one occasion against Northern Ireland in 1931.

Sadly for Peter things took a turn for the worse when he was taken off in a game against Ayr United in late 1931 due to a shortness of breath. It was just a few weeks after the tragic death of Peter’s teammate John Thomson, a game in which Peter played.

Peter was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, but thankfully pulled through. But a few weeks later he began to cough up blood in a game against Leith Athletic. He was admitted to a lengthy spell in hospital and his desire to play for Celtic once again kept him fighting.

But despite his mental toughness and hopes of a remission he eventually unfortunately had to call time on his promising football career in July 1933 at the age of just 24. It was a shame as Peter had so much to give to football, but he was still a young man and more importantly had his full life ahead of him, but tragically he passed away on 9th December 1933 at the young age of 24.

Peter Scarff, a fine servant in the Hoops who was taken far too young. Rest in eternal peace.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

Editor’s Update

Coincidentally, after we published the Jimmy McGrory article from the Celtic Star archives yesterday, we received this message from a member of Peter Scarff’s family.

As a member of the Scarff family I’d to take the time to thank you for always keeping Peter in mind , whether it be through the stories from our late great Celtic historian David Potter ( May He Rest In Peace), or on your website in general, Peter’s photo and name always pops up.

It is important for the younger generation to know the story of Peter, though in the end the story is tinged with sadness, it’s also a story of a Linwood Bhoy who achieved his dreams of playing for his beloved Celtic.
I may be  biased here but Peter was a truly gifted right half, who if he lived I believe we would be talking about Peter in the same breath as we talk about our legendary goal machine and manager Jimmy Mc Grorry.
Two things that were gifted to me when I was born, my love of Glasgow Celtic, and to be named after Peter.
In Peters final days he wondered if the Celtic support would ever remember him, thanks to The Celtic Star Peter will never be forgotten.
Hail Hail
Peter Mcadam

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

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