Connolly Paddy Image 1 Glasgow Celtic 1922

Connolly Paddy Image 1 Glasgow Celtic 1922


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Hamilton, Lanarkshire born winger Paddy Connolly joined Celtic in December 1921 from Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and made his Scottish League debut in a 1-1 draw at Clyde the next month. He enjoyed over 11 years at Celtic Park where he was very much a fan’s favourite and reputedly a faster sprinter than Scottish great Eric Liddle. The great Jimmy McGrory rated Connolly so highly that he selected the player as right wing in his all time Celtic XI. Quite a feat when you take in that put him ahead of the much more heralded Jimmy Delaney and Jimmy Johnstone. As McGrory was to put it: “Paddy’s speed and his ability to make the cross from right or left with either foot without having to steady him self and tee up the ball were tremendous assets to us.”

In his definitive biography of Jimmy McGrory, “Heroes are Forever”, John Cairney wrote:-

McGrory remembered clearly the pre-game tactical advice given by Patsy Gallacher just as soon as Willie Maley shut the dressing-room door on his way up to take his seat in the directors’ box. Patsy often put his finger on what was needed against particular opponents, especially Rangers … or he would joke to lift morale.

“One day he took the young winger, Paddy Connolly, aside. Paddy had just succeeded Andy McAtee in the side, and because of his speed was nicknamed ‘The Greyhound’. Patsy told him loudly: ‘Now look, son, you’re in the side because you’re fast. Don’t be gettin’ any notions you’re here for any other reason. When you get to the by­line, get that ball across for Jimmy here’s head – and make sure you get the lace on your side so that it’s away from his forehead. We don’t want him cuttin’ himself now, do we? You just go and practise that an’ you’ll be fine, so you will.’

“This kind of banter with words more or less to that effect, spoken quietly with all of the Mighty Atom’s authority, was taken very seriously. Connolly did practise, and Jimmy McGrory scored a lot of goals from his pinpoint crosses.

He won The Scottish Cup with Celtic in 1923, 1925 (the famous Final against Dundee when Patsy Gallagher scored THAT goal and Celtic broke the then record by winning the Scottish Cup for the eleventh time) and 1927 and The Scottish League Championship in 1925-26, playing a total of 296 times for Celtic and scoring 46 goals, he also had loan spells with Hamilton Academical and Albion Rovers before he joined Hibernian in February 1933. Slightly surprisingly he was never selected for Scotland but he did represent The Scottish League once against The Irish League in a 5-2 victory at Tynecastle in October 1926.

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