Garngad, Glasgow born centre forward Jimmy McGrory is one of the greatest figures in the history of Celtic Football Club, arguably the greatest. McGrory was to go on and rewrite the football record books with his unbelievable scoring feats, he is still the all-time leading goalscorer in top-flight British football with a total of 472 goals (398 Scottish League and 74 in the Scottish Cup) in 445 appearances. In addition he also scored 53 goals in secondary cup competitions, 6 goals for Scotland and another 6 goals for The Scottish League. He holds the Celtic record for the most goals in a season, with 57 League and Scottish Cup goals from 39 games, in season 1926-27. He has also holds a British top-flight record of 55 hat-tricks, 48 coming in League games and 7 from Scottish Cup ties. It could be argued he in fact scored 56, as he hit 8 goals in a Scottish League game against Dunfermline in 1928, also a British top-flight record. On 14th March 1936, McGrory achieved the fastest hat-trick in Scottish League history, scoring three goals in less than 3 minutes, during a 5-0 win over Motherwell. One curiosity in his scoring record is that he only ever took three penalties yet missed two of them.
He began his career with Celtic in 1922 and spend the majority of the 1923-24 season on loan at fellow First Division side Clydebank, scoring 13 goals in 30 appearances for The Bankies. Famous in particular for his heading ability, his trademark was an almost horizontal, bullet header, which he performed and scored regularly from and which earned him his nicknames, of the “Human Torpedo” and the “Mermaid”.
He burst into football folklore on April 11th 1925 when in the dying minutes of the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden he launched himself at a cross and bulleted the ball into the net with his head to give Celtic a last gasp 2-1 triumph over Dundee. For twelve seasons McGrory was Celtic’s top scorer. Twice (1926-27 and 1935-36) he was the top League scorer in Europe with 49 and 50 goals respectively. During his playing career he won 3 Scottish League titles and 5 Scottish Cups.
He was awarded only 7 Scottish international caps between 1928 and 1933 due to the presence of the legendary Hughie Gallacher. However when he did play for the national team he never let them down. Indeed his late winner at Hampden on April 1st 1933 against England was greeted with such noise by the 134,170 crowd that it went down in history as the legendary tag of ‘The Hampden Roar’. He also represented The Scottish League 6 times between 1926 and 1935.
The former Hibernian and Arsenal goalkeeper Bill Paterson commented of him in 1953: “Shoulders like a young Clydesdale, neck like a prime Aberdeen Angus and a head the nightmare of every goalkeeper. He had the knack of connecting with his napper and directing the leather netwards with greater velocity and judgement than many a counterpart could accomplish with his feet.”
After a spell managing Kilmarnock from December 1937. In his first season he led Kilmarnock to the Scottish Cup Final, knocking both Celtic and Rangers out en route. The Final took place on 23rd April 1938 between Kilmarnock and East Fife, finishing in a 1-1 draw. The replay was held four days later, Kilmarnock losing 4-2. In July 1945, he became Celtic manager, where he remained for just under 20 years until March 1965 when he was succeeded by Jock Stein. While manager of Celtic he won the Scottish Cup in 1951, the one-off Coronation Cup in 1953, and the Scottish League and Cup double in 1954 in a largely barren period for the club.
NB although published in 1927, it is the same image, albeit colourised, used in 1925, see Image 5 on this site.