The East is Green – Ronnie Simpson, Charlie Gallagher and reason for emigrating

More from The East is Green…

Ronnie Simpson

Ronnie Simpson (Celtic) 1st September.1967. Photo : imago/Kicker/Metelmann

I can’t find any proof of it but I’m sure when Ronnie Simpson was with Hibs he set a record of missed penalties against him. They weren’t all saved some went past the post, he would stand three quarters way along the goal line and lean towards the big space making it obvious that’s where he was going to dive, what he was really doing here was playing mind games and this was back in the early sixties creating doubt in the penalty takers mind where to put the ball he was so clever he could send the penalty taker the wrong way not sure how many were missed I think it was about eleven.

The reason I emigrated

In Durban in South Africa yet again you meet another Bhoy on the job, Hughie Wilson from Paisley. He told me about a hotel that showed games from the UK, although not live, they advertised they were showing the 1973 Scottish Cup Final that Rangers won 3-2.

The guy showing it was South African and didn’t know the intricacies of Celtic and Rangers. The Gers fans were wearing strips and woolly hats and scarves in the summer in Durban and with tables full of drink and starting to belt out the old battle hymns and getting impatient to see the game “Mon son git the gem oan”.

Oh, one little thing we could not get the game we advertised but not to worry we have another one from 1969, those who know this was the never to be forgotten 4-0 to Celtic, Scottish Cup Final, after a few seconds silence a huge bear with a strip two sizes too small for him got up and screamed “Ya so-and-so ye ‘The four nothing game”!!! That was the reason I emigrated here!!!

Charlie Gallagher

Not a flying machine, not a tough tackling midfielder but a lovely to watch footballer.  30-yard defence splitting passes, timed perfectly for forwards to run onto and could also strike a ball with no apparent effort. He developed this throughout his younger years thumping it against a whitewashed gable end wall when visiting his grandparents’ home in Donegal on holiday every summer.

How often do you see players now taking corners and don’t clear the first defender or even when they do they over hit it? Charlie’s were a striker or Big Billy’s dream crosses. I won’t mention the famous two you all know
them, but he crossed balls like that all the time. It’s just those two produced momentous goals.

I think it even irked him a wee bit going to functions that’s all that people brought up as if he had never heard it before. On one occasion he turned to his wife and said ‘’See that hen fourteen years a professional footballer and all I’m remembered for is two corner kicks’’. But be careful what you say to Glesga wumin his wife Mary goes ‘’ Aye right enough son, an ye know whit there’s been better players than you no remembered for anything’!!

Regi Blinker Glasgow Celtic FC 27 December 1999: Photo Mary Evans Allstar Richard Sellers 

Where are all the good crossers of the ball Charlie Mulgrew could do it so could Steve Guppy, Tosh Mckinlay could hit them on the run, for all Reggie Blinker’s other failings he could flight the ball delightfully and so could Alan Thomson.

“Whit a bloody cairry oan”

The East is Green is a self published booklet written by life-long Celtic supporter Brian McAuley, who has also personally designed so many Celtic Supporters Club badges and many of them will be shown on The Celtic Star as we serialise this brilliant little book. Running to just over 100 pages it’s a great insight into supporting Celtic and attending games stretching as far back as the 1950s to the modern day.

As we have done previously with Jerry Woods’ brilliant To Lisbon and Back on a Fiver, we’re happy to put any reader in touch with Brian and he’s post and package you a copy of The East is Green for the very reasonable cost of £5 plus postage. Just drop an email to and we’ll be pleased to make the necessary introductions. More from The East is Green on The Celtic Star over the coming weeks. HH

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

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