We asked Harry Hood’s biographer Matt Corr to tell us ten things we might not know about the Celtic legend…
Ten things you might not know about Harry Hood…
1. Harry was born in Balornock in the north side of Glasgow in October 1944 and had a typically Glaswegian sense of humour. He called his dog Pele after his favourite footballer, saying it was the least he could do given that the great Brazilian had called his dog Harry Hood!
2. Harry could have been a Celt many years before Jock Stein finally signed him from Clyde in March 1969. He trained with the club as a schoolboy and after a highly successful spell at Shawfield he was offered signing terms by Parkhead boss Jimmy McGrory in November 1964. Despite media reports that he was certain to join the club, the money offered by Celtic would have seen Harry worse off as he would have had to give up his job with a local drinks company. A few days later, he signed for English top-flight outfit Sunderland.
3. The highlight of Harry’s two years on Wearside was undoubtedly the evening of Wednesday, 24 February 1965, when he scored the only goal of the game to beat Manchester United in front of 51,000 frenzied fans at Roker Park. The United team that night included Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best and they would go on to win the English title that year.
4. He would perhaps not have enjoyed his first match of the following season, as a Celtic team under new manager Jock Stein arrived at Roker Park and inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Sunderland, who were giving a debut to their new signing from Rangers, Jim Baxter. A John Hughes double and goals from Bobby Murdoch, Bobby Lennox and Stein’s recent signing Joe McBride made it a happy afternoon for the thousands of supporters who travelled south to witness the latest chapter of The Celtic Rising.
5. Harry made a habit of scoring in his debut in various competitions for Celtic, beginning with his first start in the Hoops, a 3-0 League victory over St Mirren. He scored against Rangers in the Glasgow Cup the next month then again in his first League Cup tie in August, a 6-1 win over Airdrieonians. And to complete a full domestic set, he grabbed a last-minute winner against Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Cup in January 1970. But perhaps his most dramatic introduction was to the European Cup, when he scored in the first minute of his first start, against Basel at Celtic Park in October 1969.
6. Harry also scored a classic header against Benfica in the next round and set up Willie Wallace’s last-gasp third goal which ultimately saw Celts progress. He featured in the quarter-final win over Fiorentina but missed out on the epic clashes with Leeds United and the final defeat to Feyenoord. Harry was so disappointed not to get off the bench in Milan that he refused to accept his medal, something he regretted in later life.
7. The following season saw Harry at the peak of his powers, his 33 goals making him the country’s top scorer and including an effective title-clincher at Pittodrie and the winner in the Scottish Cup final win over Rangers. That season also saw his first Celtic hat-trick, secured in the record 9-0 European victory over Finnish champions Kokkola. His last hat-trick was also special, achieved against Rangers in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden in December 1973. He was cruelly robbed of a perfectly legitimate fourth goal that night, which would have made him the only Celtic player ever to do so against Rangers.
8. Harry achieved international recognition at Under 21, League and Senior level for Scotland, with only his Scottish League appearance against Ireland in 1970 made as a Celt. He represented Scotland against Israel and Australia in the summer of 1967, with the games only given full International status last year. Thus, he is the last Clyde player to be capped at that level for Scotland. In 1968, he scored for Scotland’s Under 21 team against England at Hampden, thus fulfilling a boyhood dream.
9. When Harry left Celtic in April 1976, his next destination would be San Antonio in Texas, to play for the local Thunder team. He would later be joined there by his good friend Tommy Callaghan and the side was captained by former England skipper Bobby Moore. Harry was Thunder’s Most Valuable Player that season, scoring 10 goals in 20 appearances.
10. After his football career ended, Harry turned his full focus on his pub business Lisini, the name made up of two letters from the names of each of his three children. Having bought his first public house back in 1970, the business continues to thrive more than five decades later, still managed by the family. Perhaps the best-known property within the Lisini portfolio is Angels in Uddingston, which includes Harry’s Bar.
Matt Corr, Author – Twice as Good, the official Harry Hood Biography…