The Flat Celtic FC Owned In Dennistoun

Celtic once owned a residence at 150 Roebank Street in Dennistoun. The property was located a mile and a half from Celtic Park. Much like Kenilworth Hotel, the flat was used to accommodate new players until they settled into a place of their own. Among a large list of names, Willie Miller, Charlie Tully, Alex Rollo and Bobby Collins stayed at the flat during their Celtic careers.

Willie Miller was probably the first notable player to have stayed on Roebank Street. He was a fine goalkeeper who was a victim of the times. Miller signed for Celtic from Maryhill Harp in 1942. The second world war was a terrible time in society as a whole, but especially at Parkhead, where football was concerned. The great historian Tom Campbell, once described Miller as “Celtic’s busiest ever goalkeeper.” It is testament to his ability that he is remembered fondly despite not winning a trophy with the club in his eight-year spell. He racked up 265 appearances and earned 74 clean sheets, before going to Clyde where he was able to win the Glasgow Cup, Glasgow Charity Cup, Supplementary Cup and second division title. Due to the war, Miller was only able to obtain six Scotland caps (once the war had finished in 1946/47), but he was a fine player and a worthy resident of any Celtic home.

Willie Miller

 Charlie Tully is a Celtic legend, detailed in the Milltown Cemetery/Belfast Celtic Society section. He was a larger than life character, who was also responsible for some of the words being adopted in The Celtic Song (see Kenilworth Hotel section). Despite being a happy go lucky type of man, Tully also took no prisoners and reserved his finest performances for matches against Linfield and Rangers. One time, he was getting stick from a punter in the Jungle, who expected more from his famous corner kicks. Tully turned to the fan, handed him the ball and invited him to do a better job or else keep his mouth shut! There was no doubting his ability. Had he played a decade or so later, he could well have been a Lisbon Lion operating on the opposite flank to Jimmy Johnstone. When asked about this, Tully said: “Sure I could have been a Lisbon Lion, I could have taken the corners.” Those corner kicks were of course his famous trademark, scoring direct from the quadrant against England in 1952, then repeating the feat (twice in a row, though only one counted) against Falkirk at Brockville a year later. Yet, Tully was more than a set piece man. He had so much skill. An old favourite of the Celtic faithful was Piling on the Agony, which proclaimed “Who’s that man there on the wing, the one in the green and white? The Rangers try to stop him, they try with all their might, this dashing son of Erin’s isle with all his football guile, it’s Charles Patrick Tully putting on the style.”

Charlie Tully on the ball

Alex Rollo is renowned for being a Coronation Cup winner, particularly as he marked Hibs’ great winger Gordon Smith out of the game in the Final. Aside from his performance that day, Rollo also won the 1953/54 league title; Celtic’s first championship win for 16 long years. He was a strong full back, who left Paradise to go to Kilmarnock in 1954, having also won a Scottish Cup and St. Mungo’s Cup in 1951. Despite signing for Celtic in October 1948, winning four medals in his five and a half years at the club wasn’t too bad considering that he had to wait two and a half years to make his debut.

Alex Rollo

Bobby Collins signed for Celtic in 1948 at the age of 17. He remained in the team for ten years, winning a number of trophies, including the 1951 Scottish Cup, the league and cup double in 1953/54, and the League Cup in 1957 (7-1 demolition of Rangers) and 1958. Collins was a small man, 5ft 3in in height, but what he lacked in stature he made up for in tenacity. Not only was he strong, but he was notorious as a seriously tough player at outside right. Amid many great moments in a green and white jersey, he scored the winner in the Coronation Cup Quarter Final clash against Arsenal. The fans loved him and unfortunately, he was another victim of a difficult period for Celtic, otherwise he may have achieved greatness in the decade that followed. Ultimately, Collins went to Everton against his will in 1958. The transfer was rumoured to be forced by the board in order to finance the new floodlighting system, which was introduced during the next season. It was a huge blow for the Celtic fans to lose their hero, but he left with the best wishes of the faithful having scored 116 goals in 320 games for the Hoops. He continued to do well at Everton and then was tremendous at Leeds United, collecting two runners up medals in the English first division in 1964/65 and 1965/66; he also lost in the FA Cup Final in 1965 too. Leeds United legend Eddie Gray said of Collins: “Bobby was five foot three, he took a size four boot, but he would have fought King Kong and won. He was just a hell of a player, and a man. Bobby was probably the most influential player in the history of Leeds United.” There’s no need to just take Gray’s word for it though as Billy Bremner described him as “One man who made a team,” whilst Don Revie said that he was “the best signing” he ever made. In terms of his time at Celtic, Bertie Auld commented: “Bobby Collins could have graced a team in any era; he was one of British football’s greatest stars.”

Bobby Collins

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were/are sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are available on Amazon.

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