In December 1911 Patsy played his first game for Celtic. Born in Ramelton, County Donegal Patrick Gallacher spent most of his life in Scotland, having moved to Glasgow when he was only three. He was the Jinky Johnstone of his time, the entertainer, the magician, the hero. He played at inside-right for Celtic until 1926. He played 11 times for Ireland including one solitary appearance for the Irish Free State.
By the end of his first season as a Celt he had already picked up his first winners medal, as Celtic triumphed in the Scottish Cup Final in which he scored against Clyde at Ibrox. By 1914 he was an irreplaceable part of Celtic’s team which won the Scottish League and Cup double.
Throughout the course of the First World War he was part of a team which won for league titles in a row and two Glasgow Cups. During the war he was forced into work in one of the protected jobs that was shipbuilding, working in John Brown’s Shipyard. He was once punished for being extremely late to his job, but as the four league titles suggest, his dedication and performances on the pitch were in no way affected.
After the war Patsy went on to win the league in 1919 and 1922, the Scottish Cup in 1923 and 1925 and the Glasgow Cup in 1920 and 1921.
Patsy truly was an entertainer who attracted larger crowds to Celtic Park, many of whom wanted to see what he could do with a ball, as well as the attractive football in general of which he was proponent.
A pair of the best remembered Gallacher goals came against Hibernian and Dundee respectively. At Easter Road in 1921 Patsy Gallacher kicked off the ball after Hibernian scored and the without any other player having touched the ball he ran half the length of the pitch to score an absolutely sublime solo goal.
In 1925 he scored the goal that by fans at the time has been passed down to us as the best Gallacher goal ever. In the Scottish Cup Final against Dundee, which Celtic went on to win, Gallacher somersaulted into the net with the ball wedged between his legs. A goal only made sound even more ridiculous when you consider the weight of the leather ball back in the 1920’s.
During his time at Celtic Park he scored a rather sizeable 208 goals for the Hoops and there was a large amount of speculation about how many more he would have scored if he had stayed beyond his rather sudden departure in 1926, which seemingly came about as a result of the Celtic board wanting to remove his sizeable wages from their bills.
Later in his life he was a publican in Clydebank, the proprietor of the International Bar in the West Dumbartonshire town. He died in June 1953 at the age of 62.
Fun Fact: His grandson Kevin went on to become a professional footballer amassing a number of Scotland caps and fame in his own right. Despite never playing at the same heights as his grandfather he did succeed in giving his grandfather’s old team a rather sizeable scare in the Scottish Cup Final of 1988 when he gave Dundee United the lead, seemingly putting the dream of the centenary double in peril. It wasn’t until the 76thminute that Celtic actually managed to equalise through Frank McAvennie who went on to grab the winner in the 90th minute.
KEVIN JOHN THOMSON
IMAGE: CELTIC WIKI