So just who were the Class of ‘55? Part 5 – Jimmy Rowan…
The recent article in The Celtic Star featuring photos provided by Peter Goldie, the oldest known living Celtic player, provoked a lot of interest and discussion. One photo in particular generated quite a few queries. It was a photoshoot taken at the annual pre-season trial match played at Celtic Park on Tuesday, 9 August 1955.
Some of the players, of course, are instantly recognisable as Celtic legends, whilst most of the others are familiar to those who know their history but a few of the faces presented some challenges in terms of identification. Thankfully, Twitter did its job, and within minutes of The Celtic Star publishing the article, @CelticCurio had produced a list of all the surnames in the photograph. This was a huge help as we set about linking names to faces.
Top row: Higgins, Jack, McAlinden, Duffy, Evans, MacKay, Fernie, Meechan, Tully & Auld.
Middle row: Sharkey, White [Whyte], Ryan, Craig, Beattie, Docherty, Goldie, Fallon, Boden, Bonnar, Haughney, Conroy, Stein, McCreadie & Mcllroy.
Front row: McVittie, Collins, Smith, McPhail, Rowan, Walsh, Reid & Mochan.
Not all of the players in the photo featured in the match, as some were nursing or recovering from injuries. And an obvious absentee from the photoshoot was Bertie Peacock, who was in Belfast representing a Great Britain XI against The Rest of Europe in a match to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the six-county Irish Football Association. There was a report on the match in the following day’s Evening Times which listed the teams as follows:
Green and Whites (Hoops)
McCreadie; Haughney & Fallon; Evans, Stein & McPhail;
Docherty, Collins, McAlindon, Walsh & Mochan.
White and Greens (Shamrocks)
Beattie; Ryan & Meechan; McKay, Jack & Conroy;
Craig, McVittie, White, Sharkey & Auld.
The Evening Times report also mentioned that a number of changes to the initial line-ups occurred at half-time – by which time the Hoops were leading 5-0 – as follows.
• Goalkeepers McCreadie and Beattie switched sides.
• Docherty and White switched sides.
• Goldie replaced Ryan for the Shamrocks.
• Duffy replaced Conroy for the Shamrocks.
• Rowan replaced Craig for the Shamrocks.
• Smith replaced Sharkey for the Shamrocks.
Here at The Celtic Star, we like to acknowledge every Celt who lived the dream and could proudly tell their family and friends “I played for Celtic,” so we thought we’d make sure we had a full cast list to publish. That’s when the fun and the serious research started.
In the first part of this article, we looked at a couple of less familiar names who turned out for the mainly first-team ‘Green and Whites,’ goalkeeper Benny McCreadie (middle row, second from right) and Jimmy ‘Peam’ Docherty (middle row, sixth from left). In Part 2 we mentioned two of those wearing the shamrock kits, David Duffy (back row, fourth from left) and Frank Whyte (middle row, second from left) and in Part 3 it was the turn of Jimmy McIlroy (middle row, extreme right) to go under the microscope. The fourth part covered the career of Matt McVittie (front row, extreme left) and in the fifth section of the article we will cover another Celt whose name initially had escaped me.
Continued on the next page…