The Bould Bhoys who won Celtic’s first ever league title – “Glory to their name”

Some of Celtic’s earliest heroes continue to be revered by the club. That includes many of the men who – in 1892-93 – helped the Bould Bhoys win their first league title.

James Kelly – Celtic’s first captain

By far the most famous Celt in the league-winning team was Willie Maley. During the 1892-93 season he had an important role, playing as half-back (midfielder) in half of the league games and also winning the Glasgow Charity Cup. But his big commitment to the club was obviously in management, and he spent more than four decades as the boss, finally leaving in 1940.

Another genuinely legendary figure as the Celts claimed a first title was James Kelly. Such was his importance to the club, it was often said ‘No Kelly, No Keltic’. In 1892-93, the centre half (which in those days meant central midfielder) missed only one game and also contributed three league goals too. His impact on Celtic is profound, including playing in the club’s first ever game, being the first captain and later becoming Chairman too.

One major fans’ favourite in 1892-93 would have been Sandy McMahon. Known as ‘the Duke’, he was a forward and ended the season as the club’s top scorer. He almost didn’t play at all; in August 1892 he was said to have been ‘kidnapped’ by Nottingham Forest to try and get him to sign!

Sandy McMahon

Dan Doyle was a famous and often controversial figure, both in his time at Celtic and beforehand. The back (defender) arrived from Everton but faced legal action from the English club, resulting in him paying back money. Even more sadly, when at Grimsby he was involved in an on-field accident that led to a player’s death. During 1892-93, he played in almost all of the Bhoys’ league games and newspapers regularly picked him out as Celtic’s star man.

One 1892-93 Celt who had an even bigger legacy after leaving the club was Johnny Madden.

The Dumbarton-born forward played in most League games and chipped in with six league goals too. He also missed a month of the season after being banned for fighting an opponent! After leaving Celtic he managed Sparta Prague. For this and his overall impact on football in the country, Madden is considered by many people to be ‘the father of Czech football’.

One Celt never far away from controversy was defender Jerry Reynolds. After one game he was arrested by police for punching an opposing fan (although was a victim of mistaken identity). Also, during a Celtic training event in Millport, he was attacked the street by a gang of men – but newspapers said that got in a goodly number of retaliatory knocks. He was a crucial part of Celtic’s most common defensive pairing, alongside Dan Doyle.

Johnny Campbell

Johnny Campbell was a forward and a massive part of Celtic’s 1892-93 league success. He missed only one league game throughout the season, scoring 12 goals, and was part of the Charity Cup-winning team. Campbell was also a Scotland player during the season. His overall contribution to the Bhoys was substantial; across two spells, he played more than 200 games, scoring in more than half of these games.

To read the full story of Celtic’s first ever league title, order your signed copy of my new book, Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys! ‘Glory to their name’, which is published by Celtic Star Books and available now from on our bookstore website: Celtic Star Books.

Matthew Marr – author of The Bould Bhoys! ‘Glory to their name’ which is available now on hardback and also on Amazon kindle and you can also pick up a copy of the book from all Celtic stores.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

1 Comment

  1. I enjoy reading about the exploits of my great grandfather Johnny Campbell on my mothers side. Proud of his achievements. I became a Celtic supporter because of that side of the family who sent us 2 main stand season tickets every year as a little boy I saw the Lions at the peak of the dominance of Europe. Again we have a team to be proud of under Ange and long may he continue