Not Playing For Celtic by Kevin Graham – Those players who should have worn the hoops

Over the years, there have been many players who seemed destined to wear the green-and-white hoops.

They may have played ‘The Celtic Way’ or were ‘Celtic Minded,’ or perhaps they were just getable at a time when the side desperately needed reinforcements…

Ultimately, these moves didn’t materialise, even though Kevin Graham wished they had:

Listen to the latest episode of the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind with ACE CITY RACERS

Kevin Gallacher
The sun was melting the terracing that I was standing on. It was too much for some. A Celtic fan in white jeans is lying prone on the steps in front. Not with sunstroke, though his head would be ‘Aberdeen 84 kit’ red by the time the game had finished, but with alcohol.

This is before a young relative of Patsy Gallacher has outran Roy Aitken, chased a Maurice Malpas header and sent a left-foot stab into the top corner. We are four minutes into the second-half and our centenary double is on the line to Patsy Gallcaher’s grandson, who, in my mind, should really be playing in the hoops and not against us with his fast and direct wing play and clean-cut image.

He went on to lose that cup final but went to Coventry in 1990 (we signed John Hewitt a few months previously), before winning a Premier League medal with Blackburn Rovers when he could have been playing for us under Liam Brady, Lou Macari, whilst singing, “Sack the board”.
Pat Nevin
I used to get on my yellow Raleigh Boxer bike, with my wee legs going like whirlwinds, taking my pocket money along to the local paper shop. The owner would always keep me a copy of Shoot! magazine and I would pick it up on a Saturday morning. This was a portal into the world of English football, where all players were magical and the Scottish ones were like lion-rampant gladiators defending our honour to the English.

A young full-haired effeminate-looking player in various shades of blue, with a lion and CFC on his chest, stood out from the pages of my favourite magazine. I read that he was a winger and once trained for Celtic. Words like “old-school” and “throwback” were used to describe him. I had heard such words used to describe Celtic wingers of varying ability that I was watching at the time.

It was part of our tradition that we had a winger like Pat Nevin in our team.
Graeme Sharp
Like Nevin, Sharp appeared in a better shade of blue from the pages of the magazine.  He was part of an Everton side that ended Liverpool’s dominance by winning the league in 1985 and he played a massive part in that success. A goal at Anfield stood out, where he took a pass with his left foot and then launched a right-foot mortar into the top corner at the Anfield Road end.

He also had a series of natural goal-scorers, or players he seemed to make natural goal-scorers, as partners including Gary Lineker, Adrian Heath, Wayne Clarke and Tony Cottee.

A right team player who created as many chances as he scored, Sharp played in arguably the best Everton side ever but I always think he missed a trick by not replacing Alan McInally at Paradise.

Kevin Graham

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