So just who were the Class of ‘55? Epilogue – Celtic’s David Duffy

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So just who were the Class of ‘55? Epilogue – Celtic’s David Duffy

It’s always nice to solve a mystery and even more so when it’s a Celtic mystery and we can give due credit to someone who wore the famous Hoops. We have finally managed to secure some additional information on – and current photographs of – a Celt from the 1950s who is still going strong at the ripe young age of 90! Here is the context.

July’s article in The Celtic Star featuring photos provided by Peter Goldie, Celtic’s oldest-living first-team 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 public trial match played at Celtic Park on Tuesday, 9 August 1955, replicated below…

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. 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 started, and I guess ended over the weekend with the additional information on the final Celt.

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.

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. 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.

Within minutes of The Celtic Star publishing the article, @CelticCurio 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, Ryan, Craig, Beattie, Docherty, Goldie, Fallon, Boden, Bonnar, Haughney, Conroy, Stein, McCreadie & Mcllroy.

Front row: McVittie, Collins, Smith, McPhail, Rowan, Walsh, Reid & Mochan.

Starting with the back row, I was comfortable with John Jack (originally Jonas Kaduskeviechi) on the left, and Dunky MacKay, Frank Meechan and a young Bertie Auld from middle to right. The Celt fourth from left though was a new one on me. Curio gave his name as Duffy, a fact confirmed separately by Peter Goldie. Until the weekend, he remained the most difficult player in the group to secure information (and another verifying photo) on. Jamie Forrest did some digging and established that he is David Duffy, who played at Celtic Park between 1950 and 1956 without making a first-team appearance.

Peter Goldie on David Duffy

David Duffy

“The only one whose first name I can’t recall is Duffy in the back row beside Bobby Evans. He was a really nice person and came from the Dundee area. If you get his first name, I would like to know it, Matt.”

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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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