So just who were the Celtic Class of ‘55? Next up, Jimmy Rowan

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Jimmy signed for Clyde two weeks later and was part of the side which won the Second Division and thus instant promotion, whilst reaching the semi-final of the League Cup and the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup. On Saturday, 6 October 1956 he lined up against his old colleagues again at Hampden in the last-four of the League Cup, but it was a former Clyde star who did the damage against his old pals, Billy McPhail scoring either side of the break to send Celts into their first-ever League Cup final. They would now await the winners of the Dundee v Partick Thistle replay.

Rowan made just nine League appearances and scored once in three seasons at Shawfield, on the sidelines as the Bully Wee won the Scottish Cup by beating Hibernian in April 1958. As Billy McNeill was making his Hoops debut against Clyde in a League Cup sectional tie at Celtic Park on Saturday, 23 August 1958, Jimmy was lining up in the reserve fixture at Shawfield, albeit that would be an enjoyable afternoon as the hosts beat the young Celts 4-0.

Jimmy would again have a watching brief as Clyde beat Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday, 22 October 1958 to win the Glasgow Cup, featuring just three times in the League that campaign as the Bully Wee only just avoided relegation, albeit one of those was a battling 2-2 draw with champions Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday, 14 November 1958. Rowan was freed at the end of April 1959, signing for fellow-strugglers Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday, 9 May 1959, as his Clyde teammates were going down 5-0 to Celtic at Hampden in the Charity Cup final.

Football being football, Jimmy Rowan would make his Dunfermline Athletic debut against Clyde at Shawfield, in the opening League Cup tie played on Saturday, 8 August 1959, which ended goalless. He scored his first goal for the Pars in the opening League match of the season, in a shock 6-0 rout of Motherwell at East End Park on Wednesday, 19 August 1959. Jimmy featured prominently in the team until early November, scoring four goals in eight League games, but he was replaced by Jimmy Wardhaugh in the team which travelled to face Celtic on Saturday, 14 November 1959, the former Hearts legend scoring in an otherwise unhappy debut as the Hoops won 4-2, thanks largely to a John Divers hat-trick.

Within the next month, Jimmy would have switched clubs again, returning to Stirling Albion on Friday, 11 December 1959 – this time on a permanent deal – and making his debut at Annfield in the 1-0 defeat by Dundee 24 hours later. He would just miss out on the Jock Stein revolution at East End Park, the Pars appointing their man three months later, in March 1960, avoiding relegation before achieving success throughout that decade previously unheard of. By contrast, Stirling Albion would take the drop to the Second Division at the end of 1959/60.

Jimmy was captain of Albion as they pipped local rivals Falkirk by a single point to win the title the following season, earning instant promotion back to the top-flight whilst his old club Clyde continued their yo-yo pattern of trophy success, followed by relegation then promotion. Like Clyde five years earlier, the newly promoted Albion would then go all the way to the semi-final of the League Cup that autumn, 20 minutes from a final place against Hearts at Easter Road on Wednesday, 11 October 1961 before Willie Bauld equalised for Hearts. Future Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace then won the match for Hearts in extra-time.

Jimmy had not featured that night and he would be missing again three days later as Albion were beaten 5-0 at Celtic Park, John ‘Yogi’ Hughes with a hat-trick on the afternoon when Glen Daly’s ‘Celtic Song’ was played over the stadium PA system for the first time, a lovely feature of Celtic matchdays to this day.

Jimmy Rowan would be in the Stirling Albion team which beat Celtic 1-0 in the return fixture, played at Annfield on Saturday, 10 February 1962. By this time, he had been converted to a wing-half, but that would prove to be the last win of the campaign. Albion collected just two points from their remaining 10 games to finish bottom of the table, duly relegated with St Johnstone as Clyde returned to the top-flight. Jimmy scored four goals in 65 League appearances for Albion over three seasons before joining Airdrieonians on 24 May 1962.

Continued on the next page…

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About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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