McColl Jimmy Image 3 Hibernian 1924


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Glasgow born centre forward Jimmy McColl was originally a product of the juvenile side Anderston Thornbank, from where he progressed to play for St Anthony’s in the Scottish Junior League. He signed for Celtic in September 1913 and made his Celtic debut in a 1-0 league win over Dundee on 18th October 1913. He first made a major impact in the Scottish Cup Final replay of 1914 against Hibernian at Ibrox. Having missed the first game McColl was called in to lead the forward line and within ten minutes he had fired home a double as Celtic went on to defeat their rivals 4-1. That Scottish Cup Final performance earned McColl a reputation as one of the deadliest forwards in the Scottish game and it was a billing he more than lived up to throughout his time in game. Unable to count on brute strength in the then very physically demanding game, McColl used great awareness and speed to often fire home a goal before the opposition even knew he was there. These deadly stealth-like qualities earned him the nickname ‘The Sniper’.

During the First World War, Celtic dominated the League title victories in part due to Jimmy McColl’s numerous strikes. Season 1915-16 was his greatest period, scoring an incredible 36 goals in just 32 League games, a tally that marks him as high as the other great Celtic strikers such as Quinn and McGrory. With McColl leading the line Celtic won five League Championships and the 1914 Scottish Cup before he joined Second Division Stoke City in May 1920. In total, he made 169 Celtic appearances and scored 123 goals.  He made his Stoke debut at Nottingham Forest in August 1920, scoring on his home debut 2 days later against Rotherham County. But goals eluded him, and his single season in The Potteries saw only 5 in 27 appearances before returning north to join Partick Thistle in the summer of 1921. The next year he joined Hibernian where, despite being a veteran of the game, he continued to terrorise Scottish defences. He was to become a legend for them. He scored 143 goals in 320 matches for Hibs, a great achievement. After leaving Hibs in 1931, he became player-manager of Leith Athletic, but the deal went sour after less than a season. The club got into financial trouble and his contract was terminated. McColl then managed Belfast Celtic for a spell before becoming first assistant trainer, then trainer, of Hibs. His second spell at Easter Road lasted around forty years and he coached the legendary ‘Famous Five‘ frontline there.

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